Since he launched his brand, designer Gabriele Colangelo has always turned to a different modern artist to inspire both his collections and the direction of his impressive textile research.
But this season, he finally decided to take a risk and step out on his own, choosing to let his artistic imagination lead the way.
Perhaps this fundamental shift in strategy has to do with the designer's experience of making it into the final round of the LVMH Prize this year. Or maybe it was just a sign of a designer maturing to have a stronger sense of self worth. Whatever the case may be, it is commendable to see Colangelo willing to step out of his comfort zone.
"My aim was to represent the idea of dynamism both in terms of form and fabric," said the designer in a preview before the show.
Let's start with those forms.
There were two very striking propositions made by Colangelo. The first was the angular asymmetrical layering of fabrics. It was almost as if the designer had played with blank pieces of white paper to create the garments. He placed them at different lengths to build a paneled coat, cut and folded them to construct 3D pockets on tops or to craft, say, a randomly pleated skirt that brought to mind a stack of paper splayed out.
Then there were the fabrics.
The stand out technique was a honeycomb effect the designer created by hand printing and then laser cutting fabrics like raffia, so that the angular motif would grow and shrink as the models walked down the catwalk. In that way he transformed the fabric of a dress, the bottom of pants or the sides of a maxi skirt into something more organic in nature.
A more subtle exploration was with a silk and copper blend. Colangelo created this by placing the copper between two layers of chiffon. Then he used a dévoré treatment on the top layer so that the underlying luminosity penetrated through. It was these garments, in particular one black dress with a dégradé burnt orange neckline, that were the strongest in the show.