“I

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - The Style -

t’s rock ’n’ roll re­nais­sance, 1980s re­nais­sance, street-style re­nais­sance, bour­geois re­nais­sance, chi­nois­erie re­nais­sance,” Gucci’s Alessan­dro Michele said of his Au­tumn/ Win­ter ’16 col­lec­tion to The New York Times back­stage at the brand’s show in Mi­lan. He might very well have added Ital­ian re­nais­sance.

Only a few years ago, Parisian style was held up as the ul­ti­mate fash­ion look. Books were writ­ten on the min­i­mal way French­women groom their hair, how they keep the same high-qual­ity blazer for decades and would rather die than fall vic­tim to trends. It was a min­i­mal­ist doc­trine that fit with the fi­nan­cially un­cer­tain times, as well as the stripped-back fash­ion aes­thetic pop­u­larised by Phoebe Philo at Cé­line. Still, it was only a mat­ter of time be­fore de­sign­ers grew tired of re­strained, tonal el­e­gance.

En­ter the Ital­ians and their pitch-per­fect brand of max­i­mal­ism. A lit­tle over a year ago, JJ Martin, an Amer­i­can liv­ing in Mi­lan who is an unashamed cheer­leader for her adopted city via her web­site La Dou­bleJ, told me, “Ital­ians don’t know how to mar­ket them­selves.” Well, it would ap­pear they’ve fixed that prob­lem. Thanks to Maria Grazia Chi­uri (now at Dior) and Pier­paolo Pic­ci­oli at Valentino, and Alessan­dro Michele’s new vi­sion for Gucci, an op­ti­mistic, in­di­vid­u­al­is­tic and, yes, dec­o­ra­tive cel­e­bra­tion of fem­i­nin­ity has cast its spell over the rest of the fash­ion world, in­clud­ing Chanel, which showed its Metiers d’Art col­lec­tion in Rome, as well as the pro­duc­ers of Zoolan­der 2, who chose to film there. And as ev­i­denced by Gucci’s 2015 fi­nal quar­ter sales bump of 5 per­cent, con­sumers are as en­thu­si­as­tic for dra­matic cape dresses, pink ruf­fled tops, slightly bonkers tur­bans, bro­cade loafers, and bold stripes as they are for Elena Fer­rante’s Neapoli­tan novel se­ries.

If this sounds like the type of fash­ion­vic­timy look Parisians de­spise (ac­cord­ing to all those style books, any­way), it truly isn’t. One only need turn to a new crop of Ital­ian street-style stars who are cham­pi­oning Italy’s next gen­er­a­tion of es­tab­lish­ment de­sign­ers in­clud­ing Marco de Vin­cenzo, hand­bag maker Paula Cade­mar­tori, Aquazurra’s Edgardo Osorio, Mas­simo Gior­getti for MSGM and Emilio Pucci, and Stella Jean, as well as the coun­try’s ven­er­ated brands such as Fendi and Prada. Think stylist and At­tico co-de­signer Gilda Am­bro­sio’s neo-pre-Raphaelite look, made up of lush vel­vets, graphic fringe coats (Marco de Vin­cenzo) and tie-front robes (Sport­max), or model Can­dela Novem­bre’s sub­ver­sive take on the Mi­lanese sciura look via tex­tured furs, pen­cil skirts, and cropped sweaters, as well as richly coloured pussy­bow blouses and em­bel­lished top-han­dled bags. And their posse of friends is no less stylish, from LuisaViaRoma’s Diletta Bon­aiuti, who likes to fuse sportswear and el­e­gant tailor­ing with dis­tressed denim and so-bad-it’s-good fire-en­gine-red leather, to the Tor­dini sis­ters, deft hands at el­e­vat­ing un­der­stated out­fits with un­ex­pected prints and tex­tures.

It’s less about mix­ing state­ment pieces with ba­sics and more about a bal­ance of colour and tex­ture that tells the eye ex­actly where and when to rest. Now, that’s some­thing to aspire to.

Eleonora Carisi worked denim-on-denim lay­er­ing at Mi­lan Fash­ion Week

Fendi Au­tumn/ Win­ter ’16

Prada Au­tumn/ Win­ter ’16

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