Matty Bovan brings Milan to life

MILAN — Backstage at the Matty Bovan show at the end of Milan Fashion Week, Stefano Gabbana of Dolce & Gabbana hugged Mr. Bovan, the young British designer, and beaming with excitement. “This brings new energy to Milan!” Mr. Gabbana said happily.

He was wearing a black sweatshirt and black sweatpants and stood next to Domenico Dolce, who was in his own black hoodie and black pants and looked just as excited. And he was right.

It had been Mr. Dolce and Gabbana’s idea to bring Mr. Bovan to Milan – they contacted him after Mr. Gabbana began following Mr. Bovan on Instagram and offered their support – but it wasn’t clear if anyone had realized what a blow to life Mr. Bovan’s rebellious juxtapositions of materials and meaning would provide.

Or how much they’ve been needed to cut through the dense smog of ubiquitous leather trench coats and Agnelli worship that seems to clog the fashionable air of this city. Regardless of the number of young (or young) designers arriving in old houses, it often seems to cloud the eyes.

There is simply too much reverence surrounding the myth of Made in Italy; too much dutiful brand loyalty.

Even at Ferrari, which doesn’t have much of a track record with clothing (aside from a bunch of licensed bouncy sweatshirts), designer Rocco Iannone seems caught up in the chassis. Despite breaking away from some of the more literal race car elements referenced in his last two collections (a good thing), this season’s focus is on streetwear silhouettes, Ferrari colors in an electric yellow and indigo ozone denim wash and ombre sequins that hinted at race cars. into the horizon as the horizon stretches towards infinity was uneven. Like the Ferrari hardware (screws and bolts straight off the assembly line) that had been embedded with shiny stones for sparkle and married with – yes, beige – driving glove leather.

The problem is that Ferrari still makes merch: merch to wear to cocktails at Cipriani, to be sure, but merch nonetheless. Imagine if it actually created fashion, focused on the abstract notion of speed and driving forward. Ferrari sets trends in car design rather than following them. So why, when it comes to clothing, does the brand do the opposite?

It’s one thing if you’re Giorgio Armani, and you’ve established the tone in the first place, to talk about (as his broadcast notes went) “coherence” and how a “fine thread connects one collection to the next.” It’s one thing to faithfully repeat the soft tailoring and sparkle that this season seemed to reflect the entire Milky Way, as well as the Armani ouevre, in skylight washes of hazy blue and indigo and a host of sparkling fairy-light gowns. And to be fair, some nods to the latest comfort attire in the form of organza, silk, and see-through elastic-waist sweatpants under pretty much everything (plus, in an expected twist, a skirt that fastens on either side of each leg with what looked like a … ankle cuff?).

But every time a new designer pledges his faith on the altar of the well-behaved leather coat, it seems like a missed opportunity.

Therefore, the fact that there was no such leather in sight at Mr. Bovan’s show was so invigorating.

Instead, there were collaged juxtapositions of fabric and form: giant apples on checkerboard prints, bulging bags covered in sequins and various graphic prints over ripped and reconstituted denim, ruffled skirts and giant, regal brocades. Detachable hi-def mutton sleeves tied on over corsets that looked like they were made from old kitchen towels. Even giant Plexiglas pyramids completely hide the heads of the last three models. It was completely weird and crazy and very wonderful.

And despite how crazy the collection looked, totally considered. Sir. Bovan calls his approach “harnessed chaos,” which is a pretty good description. The denim was old Dolce & Gabbana leftovers; the corsets, styles that came from their archives that had been reissued for Mr. Bovan and hand painted by the designer; most of the fabric was patched together dead fabric; and the majority of the collection was Made in York (England), radiating the fabled “touch of the hand.”

It offered both a rethinking of what exactly these values ​​mean and how they might extend to the current world—not to mention broader social themes of punk, royalty, and inclusivity—and a possible answer. It may not look like what anyone is used to. But shouldn’t that be the point?

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