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Building a map of contemporary Italian Fashion, Triennale di Milano, is endeavoring an exhibition untitled “ The New Vocabulary of Italian Fashion”. The show’s time frame starts with 1998, the year of the beginning of the Digital Era (with the birth of Google and the launch of the first Apple’s iMac). Yet the display is not arranged in a chronological order: it includes womenswear, menswear, accessories, jewelry and experimental projects from the last 17 years. When isaloni 2016 and Milan Design Week 2016 come together, you’ll have the perfect Triennale di Milano…
The idea is to encompass a great number of innovative fashion brands – more than 100 companies and creative minds. They offer very different visions of aesthetics, background, productive processes and markets. Designers with sculptural creations and embroidery – such as Fausto Puglisi, Tommaso Aquilano + Roberto Rimondi, and the young Giuseppe Di Morabito (born in 1992) – appear alongside informal sportswear brands like Peuterey, Marcelo Burlon’s trendy streetwear and Italia Independent’s eyewear.
There is a strong “Milanocentric” perspective, with both local and adoptive designers: Colomba Leddi’s trademark prints, Gentucca Bini’s all-purpose jumpsuits, Arthur Arbesser’s architectural neatness, and Lucio Vanotti’s clean lines. The wide range of materials runs from pheasant feathers to digitally printed silk, from neo-duchesse coupled with neoprene to polyester embroidery. It is clear how technology is revolutionizing fashion, from design to production.
The show’s narrative side is perhaps the most interesting aspect, as shown by knowledgeable essays in the catalog by curators Paola Bertola and Vittorio Linfante and writers. Two long corridors house long tables with the history of every brand featured in the show. There are browsable copies of fashion publications (Pizza, Nero, Muse), and illustrations by Anna Parini, Sarah Mazzetti, Karin Kellner, and Lucio Palmieri.
The small section devoted to fashion blogs and webzines is less successful, as is the narrow room devoted to fashion films. (Milan will host the third edition of FFF, Fashion Film Festival, in 2016). The cold, department store-like display of rigid mannequins and neon lights also does little to convey the richness of materials, the complexity of the garments’ structures, and the great visual and conceptual appeal of contemporary Italian fashion.