If you want to get Gabriele Colangelo excited, start talking to him about fabrics. This talented Italian designer, and a finalist of the first LVMH Prize, has spent his career exploring the most innovative embellishment techniques, cutting edge textile blends, and fabric treatments. Nothing, for him, is more thrilling than the discovery of a new way to manipulate his raw materials.
For his Spring/Summer 2016 collection, Colangelo had two star treatments to show his audience. The first was a devoré effect he used on the hemlines of a number of his looks that bonded organza to velvet and then laser cut the material so it read like brush strokes against the body. The second was an impressive patchwork inspired by traditional African kente fabric that the designer created by the time consuming method of layering sheared threads of fabric in a basket weave technique that gave the raw edges a shaggy fur-like effect.
The overall look of the show referenced the minimalism of the 90s, Colangelo’s formative years – a choice that is very much in keeping with current trends. But he tended to lean a bit too heavily on plissé organza dresses that skirted too closely to another label that got its start in the early 90s, Pleats Please by Issey Miyake.
But this is a minor quibble in the face of a collection, and a designer, bursting with creativity and beauty.