During the latest fashion weeks we have seen designers protesting against US President Donald Trump in different ways: Raf Simons invited people to resist on his men's runway in New York via messages scattered on T-shirts and belts made with tape; Chalayan in London reacted with a moment of silent yet joyful aggression, while Miuccia Prada in Milan introduced her conceptual and political feminism. Angela Missoni chose to express her views through hats during today's show at Milan Fashion Week.
The designer left on the guests' seats the feminist pussyhats seen at the women's march on Washington, D.C. last month.
The show was dubbed "Pink is the new black" and the set featured an image of a pink coloured Monte Rosa ("rosa" in Italian means "pink"), the second highest mountain in the Alps. Yet pink was actually just one of the many shades of the collection that mainly consisted of multi-coloured designs inspired by the house archives.
The trademark Missoni zigzag arty patterns were replicated on sweaters, leggings and cardigans; colourful geometries were combined on a fur vest layered over sweaters and pants. Chunky multi-coloured plaid jackets and coats were juxtaposed to light-hearted form-fitting dresses and pantsuits.
The combination of textures on layered styles pointed more at a studied but functionally practical sporty chic (check out the double-breasted silver jacket matched with glittery green pants) rather than a casual mix-and-match.
There was no no overt political message during the show, even though there were some clear metaphors: knits inspire protection and warmth, but they also guarantee the wearers enough freedom of movement. Politics was in the soundtrack that featured Gil Scott-Heron's "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" and Patti Smith's "People Got the Power", but then reappeared on the runway in the form of three sweaters donned as mini-dresses.
One of them featured the Pink Triangle, a symbol adopted by many Gay rights groups in the 1970s to draw attention to oppression and persecution (the Pink Triangle was originally used by the Nazis to signify homosexuals). The ACT-UP (Aids Coalition To Unleash Power) started using in the '80s a Pink Triangle that pointed up, to signify an active fight back.
Another jumper featured the Venus symbol representing the female gender; a third design included two red hearts strategically placed on the model's breasts, an ironic reference to the no-female-nipple policy on social media.
The models then came out for the finale: all of them were wearing the anti-Trump protest-style pussy-eared beanie hats, some in Missoni’s very own variation with bold stripes or trademark jacquard.
If you thought this was all an empty feel-good temporary moment, think twice: Angela Missoni and her family including her 85 year-old mother and house founder Rosita came out on the runway and read the following statement: "In a time of uncertainty, there is a bond between us that can keep us strong and safe: the bond that unites those that respect the human rights of all. Let's show the world that the fashion community is united and fearless."
The uplifting show wasn't just a call for unity in the fashion industry, and a celebration of female power and the creative energy of women in the form of a pro-women knitwear happening: some of proceeds from the collection will indeed be going to the American Civil Liberties Union and the UN Refugee Agency. It looks like the revolution will not be televised, but it may be taken on (and off) the runway.