From linear shapes to fresh takes on traditional motifs, the N°21 and Fendi catwalks rocked Milan Fashion Week. But what exactly inspired these breathtaking designs? That’s where Antonio Patruno, the Fashion Design Program Leader at Istituto Marangoni, comes in. During the school’s recent Front Row ’23 event, he provided an illuminating commentary on the cultural references behind each collection, giving students and fashion enthusiasts a glimpse into the creative minds of these celebrated designers.
Fashion Design Programme Leader Antonio Patruno's review of the N°21 and Fendi FW23 shows at Istituto Marangoni Milano's Front Row '23
At Fendi, Kim Jones developed a new vision of femininity that draws inspiration from masculinity and the Roman house’s history
Finale at the FW23 Fendi by Kim Jones runway show
At Fendi, Artistic Director of women’s collections Kim Jones has once again been captivated by the beauty of the Roman house and started to develop a new vision of femininity that draws inspiration from masculinity and the brand’s history.
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This message conveys a sense of cleanliness, linearity, and masculinity that harks back to the ‘90s but also includes an element of deconstruction to highlight Mr Jones’ innovative approach to femininity.
For FW23, Kim Jones found inspiration in how fourth-generation Fendi and jewelry designer Delfina Delettrez styles her outfits
In creating this collection, everything symbolising the linearity of the classic men’s suit becomes an essential reference, drawing from Jil Sander’s clean, rigorous aesthetic and Miuccia Prada’s minimalist approach.
The collection also features an unexpected connection to Calvin Klein from 1996, combined with Kim Jones’ passion for punk, from which he only took the structure, leaving the decorative imprint behind.
"It is pure, simple, but complex," said Silvia Venturini Fendi of Kim Jones' latest Fendi women's collection
The analysis concludes with a note on the make-up and hair styling, featuring wet-effect hairstyles from the ‘90s and almost no make-up, representing women who know they do not need it and keeping with the collection’s overarching theme of linearity in every detail.
N°21’s Alessandro Dell’Acqua drew inspiration from Michelangelo Antonioni’s cult movies The Night from ‘61 and Red Desert from ‘64, and their muse, the Italian actress Monica Vitti
Looks from the N°21 FW23 collection by Alessandro Dell'Acqua
It is no coincidence that N°21 founder and designer Alessandro Dell’Acqua’s birthday falls on 21 December. This is a significant number in Kabbalah and Neapolitan culture, where it denotes 'A femmena annura – naked woman.
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Antonio Patruno referred to N°21’s aesthetic as contemporary and mature modernity, reflected in the latest Fall-Winter 2023/24 collection. Dell’Acqua draws inspiration from two of Michelangelo Antonioni’s films, The Night from ‘61 and Red Desert from ‘64, where Monica Vitti is the muse in both films.
The 1960s inspire the collection’s minimalism, abandoning the maximalism of the ‘50s. Dell’Acqua embraces the linearity of the following decade, exemplified by the suits worn inside-out, standing for mobility and rediscovered familiarity with the body.
For his N°21 FW23 collection, Alessandro Dell'Acqua was inspired by Michelangelo Antonioni's films and bourgeois clichés
The pearl necklaces and flared necklines, typical of Monica Vitti’s style, serve as clichés of the bourgeoisie of those years. The nudity in Antonioni’s films inspires his designs, with the coats worn inside-out representing the director’s emotional charge, where speed hides the feeling.
And there you have it – a glimpse into the fantastical minds of the fashion world’s most celebrated designers. From the linearity of the ‘90s to the rediscovered emotionalism of Michelangelo Antonioni’s films, these collections showcased a playful mix of inspirations that left audiences in awe. Who knows what these creative minds will come up with next? One thing’s for sure: Mr Antonio Patruno will tell us.