Ciao Bella is what I should be saying seeing as I'm introducing a project about Italian Style and have also just arrived in Milan for fashion week (I want to exclaim and shout about how brilliant Prada was on every level… but I'll keep schtum until I've done the resee of the collection). Perhaps I'm supposed to be draped in a skintight dress made out of the Italian national flag and have a Monica Belluci-esque sensual swagger. Except my idea of Italian style is a bit broader than that. As is Maarten van der Horst's who I'm working with as part of the Peroni Collaborazioni project which will hopefully make total sense as further stages of the collaboration develops. Just to recap, Maarten van der Horst will be creating a piece that interprets our idea of Italian style and I'll be documenting it along the way with Peroni at our side poking cameras about. The results are in the first vid above but I thought I'd recap with some picture support.
First up, I went to see Maarten in midst of preparing for his Fashion East debut where surprisingly, in total un-London-fashion, a lot of the pieces in the collection were pretty much on its way to completion.
Maarten's use of nylon petticoats infiltrated his studio's decor with mint green taking over the bookshelves and ornaments… I wanted to name the leprechaun stool Arthur. Don't ask me why.
Then we went on to the moodboard which Maarten had already started putting together for the Peroni Collaborazioni piece that will be standalone from what he doing in his main collection. He's been drawn to a very rich fabric surface texture such as pleating and metallic textures which he drew from Lladro porcelain figures as well as a whole plethora of images. The final amalgamation is still a mystery though. We're thinking it's going to be a streamlined jacket with all of that detailing going on but that could all change. For now, the fabric itself needs to be developed which is a task in itself, something that I didn't think Maarten would be doing considering he had a show to put on…
Still, anything involving metallics, pleating and ridden with ornate texture is music to my ears… I'm just the goof that will be watching Maarten develop and make all this wizardry happen.
Part two of the video episodes is supposed to be about the show but it would be odd, chronology wise NOT to say something about Maarten's debut at the Fashion East show on the Sunday gone by. His Hawaiian prints remain but he has pared back on his nylon petticoat frou frou and instead chosen to use it in strategic areas and in more refined techniques. Where there is a pink and peach nylon ruched bikini shape on a Hawaiian print, you grin from ear to ear. But when you see the frothy stuff concentrated into piping in the seams of a jacket, a shirt and down pedal pushers, it's Maarten's tailoring skills and technical know-how that is purposely spotlighted. It tones down the flamboyance of the cascading waves of petticoat ruffles and grounds the clothes ever so slightly to the point where Maarten really does see his clothes on the streets (something that isn't a consideration when you present your MA/BA collections). Cotton satin solid pastel block suits with ruffle fronted shirts have the look of velour and remind me a little of 70s prom tuxedos that dudes could just about get away with and again show off cut and fit as opposed to mere pattern and frilly jazz. Suffice to say, I feel quite blessed that Maarten agreed to work with me on this project and to let me into his colourful world for a while. Here's to part 2 getting underway whilst fashion month rolls on.