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Suzy Menkes

Vogue International Editor Suzy Menkes is the best-known fashion journalist in the world. After 25 years commenting on fashion for the International Herald Tribune (rebranded recently as The International New York Times), Suzy Menkes now writes exclusively for Vogue online, covering fashion worldwide.

Milan’s Fresh Blood

Viennese Arthur Arbesser, Japanese Ujoh and Italian Marco de Vincenzo are challenging Milan’s fashion establishment

11 Марта 2016

Arthur Arbesser, fall 2016 ready-to-wear
Arthur Arbesser, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

The palpable youth quake in Milan fashion runs parallel to Italy’s political evolution, from a gerontocracy to a more dynamic, younger government. The presence of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi at an event gathering together Milan’s fashion leaders was not the reason that new shoots are breaking through. For five years, Vogue Italia’s editor Franca Sozzani has been seeding and gathering new talent. And for a decade a new generation has been challenging Milan’s mighty brands. Here are three designers who are making a difference.

Arthur Arbesser: Viennese Waltz 

With Vienna’s famous music music pom-poming through the limited space of a private garage, Arthur Arbesser transported the audience to his native Austria. Strict tailoring opened the show with tunics, trousers and belted jackets offering a Germanic uniform for daywear. Except that his recent years in Italy seem to have literally coloured the designer’s thinking. He introduced pink tweed for a curvy fitted suit and what we might call Danube blue for a bold corduroy velvet coat. “Vienna is such an important part of my life – but it’s the first time I have used it directly in my work,” said Arbesser, who described his personal vision, wrapped up with the work of Belgian artist Michaël Borremans, as ‘between nostalgia and irony’.

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Arthur Arbesser, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Arthur Arbesser, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Arthur Arbesser, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Arthur Arbesser, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Arthur Arbesser, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Arthur Arbesser, fall 2016 ready-to-wear


That was just the way to define the collection, where traditional loden tailoring was mixed with gilded metallic fabrics that took a quirky shot at the opulent Austro-Hungarian Empire. When a daffodil-yellow checked cardigan was paired with a gilded hip panel, the irony was both evident and smart. Unlike the show the designer did in Milan for Iceberg, which was focused on pop knitwear, his own line was more deeply thought out. I doubt that Arbesser, who was a finalist in last year's LVMH award, could have pulled this cultural depth from his childhood into a 21st-century collection without his training at Central Saint Martins in London. That was fused with his knowledge of Italian fabrics and his own artistry, which came out in a spidery pattern on the invitation and as a print in the collection. If Italy can ratchet up the quality of its fashion schools to the level of its artisans’ work, it might produce more cross-culture designers with the excellence of Arbesser.

Arthur Arbesser, fall 2016 ready-to-wear
Arthur Arbesser, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Marco de Vincenzo: Proud of the Artifice

Italy is so – rightly – proud of its artisanal skills that the irreverence of Marco de Vincenzo came as a shock. Faced with a shocking pink light bathing the show space, which segued into purple and blue, this show seemed “Enough already!” about colour. But the lighting was only the beginning. De Vincenzo called his collection “Proud, man-made artificiality”. This is a storyteller who puts a focus on fashion’s third dimension: the surface. Perhaps it was the background of 13 years in the studios of Fendi that made the designer so aware of the importance of working fabrics to the max, from a weave for a rust coat to a garish green skirt in a bubbly fabric that shrieked “fake”.

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Marco de Vincenzo, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Marco de Vincenzo, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Marco de Vincenzo, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Marco de Vincenzo, fall 2016 ready-to-wear


I liked this idea of challenging the taste level and the preciousness of fine clothes – as in a fur coat that mixed blood red, a foxy ginger and a neon green. Marco de Vincenzo has already established himself as an interesting design spirit in Milan. But there is a feeling that he has still more to give.

Ujoh: Hybrid and Modern

Each season, Giorgio Armani invites a designer to use his fashion theatre to show a collection – a gesture that others in Milan’s fashion establishment might copy. After being shortlisted as a finalist for Vogue Italia’s “Who is on Next”, the designer who defines himself only as Ujoh was offered this season’s key position. He sent out a collection that was deceptively simple – easy, sporty clothes, respectful to women and in shades of blue, as the main colour or as decorations tufting sleeves.

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Marco de Vincenzo, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Marco de Vincenzo, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Marco de Vincenzo, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Marco de Vincenzo, fall 2016 ready-to-wear


This was a show that needed to be seen from both front and back. For like his fellow Japanese designer under the name Sacai, there were often re-arrangements of shape or fabric from behind. I like the idea of a designer offering quiet quality and clothes for life. And Ujoh was respectful to Armani, publicly sending his “grazie” to the maestro as a backdrop in lights.

Marco de Vincenzo, fall 2016 ready-to-wear
Marco de Vincenzo, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

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