Partywear Turns Black or White at Milan Fashion Week

MILAN — Black or white, and no color in between.

Partywear showed range during Milan Fashion Week, with designers’ inspiration running the gamut from cinema to music, passing through ancient Greece and Robert Mapplethorpe’s photography. But the color scheme stayed consistent.

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Here’s a roundup from the fall 2024 presentations in town.

Luca Lin of Act. N.1 was in a romantic mood, using cinema and the early days of silent film as his inspiration. “Cinemas in Italy are closing or disappearing, which is sad,” said the designer. “For me, the cinema is a place to find peace and to dream.”

He wrapped much of this collection in tulle, from rough-edged denim to jackets with draping or corset details. The tulle gave a grand look to the clothes and blurred their rough-hewn, or tailored edges, and conjured images of the black-and-white screen. A creamy white jacket with a tulle skirt was one of the standout pieces of this collection.

He was also inspired by the ladies of silent film and worked their corsets into denim tops and tailored jackets. He also made sheer and blush-colored corsets to layer with tailored clothing. Those corset styles added a dash of sex and drama to the collection.

Act N. 1 Fall 2024 Ready-to-Wear Collection at Milan Fashion Week
Act N. 1 Fall 2024

Don’t ask Des Phemmes’ Salvo Rizza to relinquish his love of sparkle, embroideries, and a little pop-tinged sass. For fall, his candy-colored take on partywear veered toward the ladylike, courtesy of midcentury inspiration centered on the captivating interior design clash at Casa Mollino, the Turin house and museum by famed architect Carlo Mollino.

For daring girls, a low-waisted midi skirt with floral appliqué was paired with a lace bra and undies peeking out, while an optical swishy striped halterneck dress with maxi sequins looked frisky and easier to pull off, ditto for the cow print midi skirt and Lurex rib-knit turtleneck, save for the impossibly high side slit. Those flashy and distinctive pieces mingled with expanded daywear, a business boon as the designer expands the brand’s reach.

Now backed by Italian manufacturing company Olmar and Mirta SpA which acquired an undisclosed minority stake last year, Rizza has managed to build a sizable business Stateside, now accounting for 70 percent of sales, and looking to strengthen his footprint in Europe.

Des Phemmes Fall 2024 Ready-to-Wear Collection at Milan Fashion Week
Des Phemmes Fall 2024

CHB’s Christian Boaro, distributed through the same MDC showroom as Des Phemmes, continued to chart his subverted bourgeois look, sticking to the sensual ideas that first thrust him into the spotlight with his first solo fashion project.

A couple of dramatic gowns, including one see-through lace number with a trail featuring four different patterns and a fitted bustier dress with a balloon midi skirt done in duchesse, were flanked by equally mischievous frocks (easier to imagine on 30-somethings hitting the nightclub).

Drawing inspiration from Robert Mapplethorpe photography and evocative imagery of Grace Jones in the ‘80s, Boaro worked black vinyl into draped strapless minidresses and skirts, as well as bustier frocks with zippers or buttons running vertically at the front. A range of faux furs done in collaboration with supplier Tissavel oozed an old-school hedonistic flair, as in the faux astrakhan belted trenchcoat and the fuzzy Mongolian short jackets in fiery red and black.

CHB Fall 2024 Ready-to-Wear Collection at Milan Fashion Week
CHB Fall 2024

Sharing with Boaro a similar color palette of black, white but also red, Alessandro Vigilante, who will soon unveil his inaugural collection as Rochas’ creative director, sought to go back to when he first introduced the namesake brand with latex, form-fitting frocks and a sharp edge.

The graphic undercurrent echoed in constructions and color combinations, as in the show-stopping white turtleneck wrap dress featuring a black trompe l’oeil print of a life-size naked female body on the back, nodding to the artworks of painter Kazimir Malevic. It was flanked by a tank dress in open weave, mesh-like knit dotted in tiny sequins, while a solid latex spaghetti frock and ‘80s-nodding elongated blazer worn as minidresses with a corsetry belt to cinch the waist were easier pieces befitting cocktail receptions and after parties.

Alessandro Vigilante Fall 2024 Ready-to-Wear Collection at Milan Fashion Week
Alessandro Vigilante Fall 2024

Francesco Murano is another natural talent that could easily land a top spot. He was about to graduate from Milan’s Istituto Europeo di Design when Beyoncé requested some of his creations for her music video “Spirit,” later wearing a different one of his pieces to the official pre-Grammy 2020 party. His refined aesthetic and expert hand in all things drapey — a reflection of his love for couture and Greek culture — were further enhanced in his new collection, which also saw the introduction of leather.

Murano worked both jersey — his go-to fabric — and leather in a way to obtain their most lightweight versions, which resulted in a seamless combination of the two as well as in new transparencies. An even more seductive undercurrent was imbued in his sensual creations via asymmetries, crater and plunging necklines rendered in his traditional dusty palette of grays, whites and blush pink tones.

Francesco Murano Fall 2024 Ready-to-Wear Collection at Milan Fashion Week
Francesco Murano Fall 2024

Redemption plots a comeback on the runway come September, but while sticking to the presentation format it relied on its eveningwear bread and butter, conjuring a nighttime lineup befitting red carpet after parties.

Minidresses decked in sequins with ‘80s-nodding strong shoulders and bustier tops and frocks, all done in a nocturnal palette, mingled with velvet blazers embellished with Lurex threads, tossed over devoré chevron- and checkerboard-patterned blouses catering to more conservative partygoers.

Redemption Fall 2024 Ready-to-Wear Collection at Milan Fashion Week
Redemption Fall 2024

Gianluca Capannolo put a fresh spin on his ladylike, tailored pieces, offering up gold-flecked black tweed belted coats and capes, and a treasure trove of chunky gold chain jewelry. He even made a minidress from those gold chains, which should send an electric shock through any room.

The designer also had a rich faux fur offering that included a Mongolian coat in a rich shade of claret, a silvery gray fox fur and dresses with a feathery ostrich trim. Some of these glamorous looks were often convertible, as in a pair of trousers that morphed into a maxiskirt thanks to strategically placed zips.

Gianluca Capannolo Fall 2024 Ready-to-Wear Collection at Milan Fashion Week
Gianluca Capannolo Fall 2024

ATXV founder Antonio Tarantini continued his study of the human body, this time landing on the “alive, strong, sexy and free,” feeling that crinkled sketched paper gave him. Having built his blueprint on the use of twisted, torched and draped jersey, Tarantini plied the fabric into a sensual, genderless collection, with ‘90s whiffs and subtle eroticism.

Microdresses constructed on simple silhouettes, such as the body-con, long-sleeve or spaghetti frock, were draped as to reveal a shoulder here and a belly there. Crinkled viscose was worked into similarly off-beat, revealing constructions, including a short nightgown knotted on one hip to provide a high slit and at the chest, exposing a tulle nude-looking underpinning.

ATXV Fall 2024 Ready-to-Wear Collection at Milan Fashion Week
ATXV Fall 2024

Federica Tosi had a lot to celebrate herself, as the designer recently entered into a strategic partnership with Italian manufacturing company Industria 62 to boost her namesake brand’s Made in Italy production and propel its international expansion.

Fashion-wise, for fall, the designer continued to rely on quality fabrications, crating her everyday pieces from wool, cashmere, silk and soft leather. Her signature penchant for clean lines and overall commitment to wearability translated to her eveningwear proposition, too, via essential long dresses covered in sequins for a simple yet impactful effect. Tosi introduced a dash of fun and movement in a frayed sequined suit with hot pants that may as well come with an invitation to the dance floor.

Federica Tosi fall 2024
Federica Tosi fall 2024

John Richmond is clearly a music nerd having devoted his fall collection to the genres that, he said, “saved his life,” from disco to rock ‘n’ roll to hip-hop. The lineup didn’t come across as too literal in translating that iconography — the wardrobe proposal was heavy on tailoring and eveningwear.

On the latter front, a pearl-trimmed, one-shouldered minidress had revealing cutouts at the hip and torso, while a nude-looking column dress was printed with tattoo-like drawings and finished off with a crystal choker. In addition to neatly cut suits for men and women, the tailoring trickled into partywear options, as in the brocade-printed golden suit with flared pants or short shorts for her and the glitter lapeled shantung ivory suit worn with a bowed shirt for him.

John Richmond Fall 2024 Ready-to-Wear Collection at Milan Fashion Week
John Richmond Fall 2024

Curiel’s in-house team of designers mined the brand’s rich archive and displayed a collection full of old-world glamour. There were ’50s dresses with velvet and satin that recalled a young Princess Margaret and sparkling confections for evening.

This season, the brand also tapped the multidisciplinary artist Matteo Thiela to collaborate with the brand. Thiela had guests mesmerized as he created a skinny black evening gown with miles of textured thread and a spinning mannequin.

The thread wraps around the mannequin, and Thiela is able to create various styles without the use of a needle and thread. He works with lamé, viscose, and cotton yarns, adds velvet ribbons, feathery bits and seals the seams with resin.

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