Wednesday saw the start of Milan Fashion Week AW21, with a non-stop showcase of talent and artistic flair from the fashion community. Spirits remain high and the creative output continues to impress in its diversity and forward-thinking.
Major brands such as Fendi, Simona Marziali MRZ, and No.21 opened the start of the week, hitting the digital runway with exciting collections that drew in audiences from all over the world via their computer screen.
Online fashion shows continue to provide a masterclass in the perseverance of a global creative industry. We’ll be recapping below some of our favourite shows from the first day of Milan Fashion Week AW21.
Italian brand AC9 were one of the first to kick off Milan Fashion Week. Presenting ‘CENSORED’, the brand’s AW21 Collection plays on the themes of sensitivity and censorship with a refusal to be contained by contemporary standards. The collection centres on a colour palette of red, white, black, and pink, and seeks to promote the rebel aesthetic with a video that locates its models amongst suburban streets and motorbikes. Playing on censor bars, the collection uses thin strips of black or pink fabric to create a bar across the chest; this creates a new top that is as striking as it is suggestive. Sheer floor-length dresses layered over sheer underwear are also introduced, again building on the narrative of uninhibited sexuality. Print is minimal, but the show of skin injects the collection with its own brand of excitement. Feathered skirts, fringe coats, and corseted dresses are also highlighted, imbuing the collection with undertones of glamour as well as a rough edginess.
The party doesn’t stop with Alessandro Enriquez’s AW21 Collection, which brings social events to the forefront of the designer’s vision. With a “new festa” video reminiscent of a 1980’s house party, the collection draws on the fun we wish we had in 2020 while envisioning the party we’ll have when the pandemic is over. The colour palette of the collection is unrestricted in its approach to vibrant colours, which comes across in the mixing of multiple prints and patterns; layered, clashing, and decorating. Suits in fun patterns are highlighted by a ‘less is more’ styling, forgoing a shirt and highlighting the impact of the print and tailoring. Metallic accents, in the form of silky fabrics and gold threads, also emphasised the partywear vibe. Loose balloon sleeves, shoulder pads, fluffy coats, and full-length skirts round out the collection by highlighting retro aesthetics.
Simona Marziali MRZ
The AW21 Collection from Simona Marziali MRZ highlights comfort through loose silhouettes and knitwear. Mixing a muted colour palette of white, grey, and black with bolder notes of lime and purple, the collection emphasises the versatility of knitted textures. Oversized clothing features prominently, with an emphasis of wide leg trousers and long sleeves as well as sweater vests and cardigans. Flitting between elements of comfort and structure, the collection upholds the WFH aesthetic. Trousers in the collection are loose and often feature stripes zipping down the sides of the leg; a split hem with excess fabric trailing on the floor builds on this more relaxed look. Pattern is also brought into the collection through knitted blocks, creating a chunky check that ensures the inclusion of multiple vibrant colours.
Fendi’s AW21 Collection is an exemplary lesson in sophisticated silhouette-building and opulence; from fabric to fit, each look screams a narrative of powerful femininity. Silky fabrics are highlighted to give outfits a greater luminosity, with the metallic sheen also drawing attention to the lightness of the material. Bulky, floor-length coats are the not-so-subtle star of the collection, introducing dramaticism through a variation of prints, padded shoulders, faux fur, fringing, and puffed sleeves. Fendi also offers a new take on the asymmetrical neckline, which translates into an off-the-shoulder, half-wrap top that softens the uneven line. Additionally, shirt cuffs are highlighted in a ribbon-like material that contrasts with the sleeve, either sitting as a band at the wrist or tapering out into a slight bell shape to cover the hands and elongate the line of the arm.
Sara Wong presents ‘Tartary: Shades of Mongolian’ for their AW21 offering. Exploring traditional Mongolian culture, the collection seeks to incorporate historical staples while mapping out those that are still worn today. Using colours reflecting the preferred shades of Mongolian women, the collection incorporates brown, burgundy, blue, yellow, pink, and lilac. Silhouettes also draw on traditional Mongolian fashion, with an emphasis of dramatic shaping around the shoulders, puffed sleeves, and a cropped cage crinoline to accentuate the waist. Variations in texture are created through the use of multiple fabrics in one outfit, including velvet, lace, knit, and feathers. The addition of heavy beading, headdresses, and body jewellery build on this visual depth, emphasising the collection’s play on light and shape.
The relatively new label No.21 stays true to Italian designer Alessandro Dell-Acqua’s signature combination of feminine dresses and masculine tailoring, which are infused with a more experimental approach in his AW21 Collection. A key means of injecting excitement into the collection is the alteration of necklines and hemlines to showcase underwear. Whether lace knickers peeking through layered fringe skirts, a flash of a bralette under a cropped jumper, or the full set visible under a sheer dress, the collection invites a more liberal attitude to the boundary between underwear and outerwear. Cut outs are also highlighted, utilising a deconstructed method of panels held in place over the chest by a thin band and emphasising the skin on show. No.21’s collection will be noted for making anyone’s head turn this autumn.
Photo credits: Courtesy of AC9, Alessandro Enriquez, Simona Marziali, Fendi, Sara Wong and No.21
Words by Charlie Colville