Enter Luca Magliano, who I think has figured out an ingenious way to set his own trajectory. His collection, shown at a sports stadium on the edge of town, did not shy away from the classic DNA the Italian menswear world is built on. In fact, a couple Giorgio Armani looks were on his moodboard (him and Todd Snyder both!). But Luca liberated Armani’s codes of relaxed elegance in his own singular vision. The clothes, he explained backstage, were “a gentle sabotage of the classic shapes.” (This interview took place after a manhunt of sorts for the guy, who usually hides from press and admires alike after shows. He is extremely excitable, talks at a flat out sprint, and rolls his R’s for a mile. A small group of us finally successfully waylaid him on his way out for a smoke.)
This sabotage was felt clearly in soft flaxen blazers that twisted above sweatpants and fluid trousers, often with shirts and cardigans and vests poking out from beneath the hem. A sweatshirt with an ersatz crop was affixed with a formal brooch, approximating the attitude of a stately jacket, but again drawing attention to the midsection. This was by design, Luca explained as he gesticulated with a Marlboro like a professor at a chalkboard. “The clothes, what is happening? It’s happening that they are fluid. It’s happening that they are deconstructed. That they behave with the body in a flirty and weird way. The jackets—there are no jackets anymore, they become something else, they become something fluid and puffy that stays in a certain way around your waist. Why? Because it’s our way to evoke eros. Some kind of erotic feeling. Because clothes have to do with bodies. And we do love the idea of bodies.” Armani might be romantic, but Magliano takes attraction much further.
Luca’s other bright idea was to, in fact, reach out to the old guard and use their resources to up his game. Two of the suits, one beautiful and crisp and white, and another in black, were made in collaboration with the craftspeople at Kiton. “Kiton,” Luca said, “is like the best at making sartorial stuff in Italy.” So the designer reached out. “It was of course weird to start a conversation, because I would call our words allergic somehow,” he said. “Yet they wanted to do it. And of course when you do such a thing it’s not just about producing an object, it’s about starting a cultural conversation.” The suits represent the first completely handmade Magliano pieces, and the process left a lasting impression on Luca and his team. Before heading out for his smoke, he explained that the “workshop” with Kiton fed into “something we are imagining for our future.” Something that might just take Magliano to the next level. “It’s a mission. We are kind of intrigued by the idea of selling less but better stuff, higher stuff. We are in Italy and I mean, we can do that, you know.”
Magliano points toward a tantalizing prospect for the Italian fashion industry: that a new generation can make their mark on global menswear by harnessing their country’s elite resources and rich history. A few minutes before the show started, the Milan-based photographer Bogi—who had a front row seat to the city’s last streetwear boom—weighed in. “That wave,” he said, “is now out. But new energy is gonna come. There will be kids who see what Magliano is gonna do maybe in a year or two or three…” He trailed off and the show began.
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