It is not rare for the venue where a fashion collection is presented to assume an important meaning and reveal something about a designer or a collection. At times the venue can indeed be directly put in connection with the designs or create contrasts with them. In the case of Gabriele Colangelo, there was a strong bond.
The Italian designer showcased his creations for the A/W 17 season last Saturday at the Milanese Philological Circle: the institution promotes culture and the study of foreign languages and civilisations, and Colangelo is very much into intellectual minimalist fashion infused with a Japanese sensibility.
For his A/W 17 collection Colangelo moved from squares and rectangles, and used as decorations threads and basting stitches.
The latter formed decorative patterns that imitated the stitches in men's tailoring (if somebody at Margiela had done it this would be called genius...).
The stitches at times came undone and cascaded from the hem of a skirt or a top, forming a sort of fringe motif.
The shapes were largely based on geometric elaborations, applied to fabrics and textiles borrowed from the male wardrobe (see the checked wool).
Architecture was maybe not one of the main inspirations, but Superstudio's grids were employed to create two looks, even though deconstructed fluid tailored moods prevailed as proved also by the straps left hanging from coats with ample sailor-like collars.
Asymmetries and folding were just two of the techniques the designer employed: needle-punched, laser-cut, and pleated fabric was also used to create interesting shapes on skirts, like a pleated diamond motif, that allowed Colangelo to add a more delicate and feminine element to his rigor.
Shearling coats (Colangelo comes from a family of furriers and has been experimenting for years trying to come up with ultra-light fur pieces) added a softer touch.
The effect wasn't always effortless, but Colangelo is a conceptual designer with a Zen-like sensibility and a penchant for telling tales about quiet sobriety. He is probably too clever for the times we are living in: his complex work and his knowledge of fabrics are indeed not for the times we are living in, that favour everything visually striking, loud and immediately Instagrammable.
While Colangelo may have to ease a bit his more austere inspirations, his rigorous style and aesthetic may prove palatable with consumers who are not into maximalist trends. Colangelo is also the current creative director at Giada where he has imported his signature minimalism and passion for fluid geometry but also his intellectualism: the orchid-shaped pins and earrings that accessorised his Giada A/W 17 collection looked indeed like Möbius strips.