Menswear reigns at Istituto Marangoni
Istituto Marangoni opened the 2014 London Graduate Fashion Week with an assortment of well-styled collections. It was a rare yet welcome occurrence to have a series of menswear collections shown one after the other, stealing all the attention. Post-modernism fused with a dystopian vibe made for a unifying theme in Istituto Marangoni’s BA Fashion Design graduates’ work. Stand-out colour palettes stepped away from the usual wine, trialing electric hues and pale, other-worldly shades.
The Italian fashion industry plays a big part in Istituto Marangoni’s history, seen today with the polished styling. The fashion school’s Milan campus opened in 1935 with London, Paris and Shanghai following in recent years. Students come from across the world, currently spanning 92 countries. Its global reach gives Istituto Marangoni a unique perspective on fashion, taking approaches from a wide range of cultures.
A violin solo played out to start the show with Goni Grupper’s 1980’s post-modernism influenced collection following. Neon yellow paired with grey and black incorporated into bralets and trapeze pants denoted the influential nature of humankind on a sea of neutrality. Each side of the garment meant to represent one side of the brain: the left being rational and structured, the right unrestricted and free.
Lisa Kidd’s fairytale world saw the stories of princesses and puppets come to life. Pastel shades exaggerated the collection’s sweet tone, establishing lines between traditional Scottish fabrics. Kidd’s woman is strong; able to power through the woodland birds that try to hold her back, suspending hemlines in the air. Her nonchalant print stemmed all the way down to the shoes, signifying a designer who pays great care to the overall look.
Menswear was exceptionally strong this year. Marika Grasso’s play on pinstripes resulted in primal prints, running vertically and knotting in tree bark like forms. South Africa’s Xhoso tribe blankets were revamped into oversized cardigans and scarves; the faded lines a reminder of native culture. Time inspired Alexandra Henkes’ designs merging natural fibres to evoke a futuristic look. Silk and wool combined with burnt orange velvet gave the illusion of welders’ flames melting the past with the future, accentuated by the round goggles decorating models’ faces.
Istituto Marangoni’s show returned to womenswear with Alina Makarenko’s collection. Her final gown proved to be the most striking, integrating plastic ruffles with pale peach pleats. Giving the impression of octopus tentacles, the dress moved as if deep underwater.
Karle Erratzi de Miguel took a different direction in creating wearable art, seen with the seemingly soft, crumpled texture. Shaped like flowers, every walking step proved the structures to be rigid, counterbalancing the feminine netting flowing around them.
Each collection was aptly rewarded with a round of applause; an indication of the graduates’ hard work involving a multitude of prints, embroidery and shapes. While womenswear designs showed innovation and curious detailing, it was Menswear that took pole position. Committed to trying something new, Menswear graduate designs felt fresh with advanced fabric manipulation usually saved for the opposite sex. The reign of male garments has begun.
Photographs by Rebecca Cofie