Milan Fashion Week is typically known for its emphasis on established houses, but this year it was all about fringe labels stepping into the limelight. With the Italian fashion capital’s proceedings newly wrapped, here’s a look at the under the radar and rising talents who emerged as the week’s autumn/winter ‘11 breakout successes. Whether you were on set in Milan or following the event through cyberspace, we’ve zeroed in on the unique upstarts who made an indelible impression.
After losing rights to using his own name, Alessandro Dell’Acqua entered the a/w ’10 season with what some would call his second act, No 21. Named after his lucky number and birthday (December 21), Dell’Acqua’s a/w ’11 collection continues his ascendance with flirty yet sophisticated pieces that were fresh thanks to no-fuss silhouettes. The looks combined the superb talent of his characteristically seamless eveningwear with a rock-out ready-to-wear chic attitude. Dell’Acqua told WWD: “I looked back at what I did in the past and decided to put the focus on wearable, everyday clothes more than on eveningwear.” Although the budding line is that it has not hit the US yet, trendsetter Diane Kruger brought it to our attention in an adorable dress at an event in New York just two weeks ago.
Italian artists Alessandro Biasi, Simona Costa and Andrea Orazi make up the math and science of the A-Lab equation. Each of the line’s collections is inspired by a mood, something the designers have actually felt and lived, a story they can share through the cut of their clothes. With A-Lab’s unique styles, the designers emotionally channel their design aspirations to the consumer through color and artwork.
Having perfected denim fashion since the ‘80s, Closed has continued to survive the times under the care and extraordinary talent of a family-oriented enterprise. As a denim line, the designer’s mission behind every new style is: “form follows function.” The label’s motto holds true to every style—hence the X-pockets for which they are most well-known today. Taking inspiration from various walks of life, Closed has studied modes of function through postal uniforms and military uniforms. The designers continually research aesthetics to ensure their jeans are made with tender loving care and everyday wearability.
Showing fine cuts and expert attention to detail, Andrea Pompilio debuted his first collection with a menswear line for a/w ‘11. After honing his talent with designers Yves Saint Laurent, Prada and Calvin Klein, Pompilio’s much discussed menswear collection was inspired by the tastes and talents of his grandparents. Featuring shearling jackets reminiscent of one his grandmother made for him as a child and a military-inspired leather moto he recalls his grandfather donning, this line is an extraordinary deviation of signature style and edginess. Pompilio has a true knack for reshaping the classic in a befittingly upsetting yet pleasant way.
Sansovino 6 embarks on its fourth chapter with an androgynous, dual sex a/w ’11 collection. Upon seeing a major boom after the spring collection and the introduction of knit jeans, Sansovino 6 gives back this fall by donating 100% proceeds to charity. Working alongside an artist (be it designer, architect, retailer, etc.), Sansovino 6 plans to create another lust-worthy hit knit piece like their jeans.