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Why will we all want to wear a slip dress soon?

The most basic of items can become a powerful source of creativity if you just look at them with fresh new eyes, fill them with unique perspectives and pour a massive dose of inspiration into them. That’s what happened with the mentorship programme for Istituto Marangoni Fashion Styling Masters students, led by Sissy Vian, a world-renowned stylist and the Creative Fashion Director of Harper’s Bazaar Italia.

The top 4 students, who created their slipdress in the mentorship project “The Milk of Dreams”, had the opportunity to shoot their editorial with Sissy Vian. Here is a backstage moment from the shoot by Benedetta de Martino, a Istituto Marangoni Fashion Styling Master's student

The top 4 students, who created their slipdress in the mentorship project “The Milk of Dreams”, had the opportunity to shoot their editorial with Sissy Vian. Here is a backstage moment from the shoot by Benedetta de Martino, a Istituto Marangoni Fashion Styling Master's student

Inspired by the 2022 Venice Biennale theme “The Milk of Dreams”, the challenge was to rethink the slip dress, a staple piece in every fashionista’s closet. Initially intended for one winner and two finalists, Sissy Vian chose four participants to join her due to the students’ impressive creativity and hard work.

 

“It has been an incredible journey with these young people; it has been very intense and very emotional for me as well” – Sissy Vian, Creative Fashion Director of Harper’s Bazaar Italia, Stylist, and I’M Mentor

 

Sissy Vian, I'M Mentor and Creative Fashion Director of Harper’s Bazaar Italia, with the slipdress by Istituto Marangoni Fashion Styling Masters student Natalia Campos Valencia

Sissy Vian, I'M Mentor and Creative Fashion Director of Harper’s Bazaar Italia, with the slipdress by Istituto Marangoni Fashion Styling Masters student Natalia Campos Valencia

Natalia Campos Valencia, the winner who got the most praise from Sissy Vian for her journey and progress throughout the programme, took first place for her elevation of a simple black slip dress into a garment highlighting areas of the body with gold plating, interacting with the wearer’s movements. 

A backstage moment from the shoot by Istituto Marangoni Fashion Styling Masters student Natalia Campos Valencia

A backstage moment from the shoot by Istituto Marangoni Fashion Styling Masters student Natalia Campos Valencia

Along with the three runners-up, Carlotta Popolizio, Maria Storino and Benedetta de Martino, the four students were given the opportunity to shoot their editorial alongside Sissy Vian and an outstanding team.

Sissy Vian with the best 4 IM students, who created their slipdress as part of the mentorship project “The Milk of Dreams”

Sissy Vian with the best 4 IM students, who created their slipdress as part of the mentorship project “The Milk of Dreams”

 

Channelling inspiration in the right direction

Istituto Marangoni students had to figure out unique ways to rethink the garment through individual styling languages. They were encouraged to reinvent the wardrobe staple, drawing inspiration from their cultural backgrounds and personal aesthetics, translating their taste and creativity into a professional styling project.

A backstage moment from the shoot by Istituto Marangoni Fashion Styling Masters student Maria Storino

A backstage moment from the shoot by Istituto Marangoni Fashion Styling Masters student Maria Storino

All the participants had to follow every step of the styling process that is required of expert image-makers and received feedback from Sissy Vian throughout the project, steering them in the right direction. 

A backstage moment from the shoot by Istituto Marangoni Fashion Styling Masters student Carlotta Popolizio

A backstage moment from the shoot by Istituto Marangoni Fashion Styling Masters student Carlotta Popolizio

As the Fashion Styling Masters’ students showcased their projects, we saw an incredibly diverse display of creativity and innovation. There were themes of surrealism and contrasts, paired with an emphasis on the silhouette and the body’s natural movements.

 

The secret ingredient? Storytelling  

Each student’s project was a clear attempt at finding the story behind their garment and expressing it through their imaginative and unique visual language. Every Istituto Marangoni student took a seemingly deep and incredibly personal approach to “rewrite the slip dress” were, in line with their own backgrounds and personalities.

A backstage moment from the shoot by Istituto Marangoni Fashion Styling Masters student Benedetta de Martino

A backstage moment from the shoot by Istituto Marangoni Fashion Styling Masters student Benedetta de Martino

The project challenged the students to develop their “fashion language”, creating something new and innovative from something we already know.

When the four up-and-coming stylists from Istituto Marangoni were given the opportunity to shoot their editorial alongside Sissy Vian

When the four up-and-coming stylists from Istituto Marangoni were given the opportunity to shoot their editorial alongside Sissy Vian 

When announcing the finalists, Sissy Vian emphasised the importance of listening to and interpreting advice given by others and learning from criticism to evolve and develop their storytelling. The job of a stylist is not just about making objects desirable, but most importantly, it is about making sense of your dreams through your pictures and visual identity.

A backstage moment from the shoot by Istituto Marangoni Fashion Styling Masters student Carlotta Popolizio

A backstage moment from the shoot by Istituto Marangoni Fashion Styling Masters student Carlotta Popolizio

 

Some impressions from insiders 

Speaking with the Master’s programme leaders, we better understood the entire mentorship process and the invaluable experience gained through the programme. 

A backstage moment from the shoot by Istituto Marangoni Fashion Styling Masters student Natalia Campos Valencia

A backstage moment from the shoot by Istituto Marangoni Fashion Styling Masters student Natalia Campos Valencia

It was “an incredibly precious experience for all of us, especially culminating the mentorship project ‘The Milk of Dreams’ with this professional photo shoot,” stated Diana Murek, Director of Education at the Istituto Marangoni Milano Fashion School. “The set’s inspiring mood has left all students in awe while receiving guidance and mentoring each step of the way: from hair and make-up prep to light and backdrop setting to adjusting the model’s pose. Working with Sissy has been wonderful and produced incredible outcomes in terms of final pictures.”

Simona Murialdo Sànchez, MA Programme Leader in Styling Creative Direction and Digital Content at Istituto Marangoni Milano reflected on the experience as rewarding and fulfilling for the students and everyone involved. “The team Sissy managed to put together was a group of top professionals that welcomed the four students in the creative process behind the shoot,” she explained. Murialdo Sànchez also added that there was no distinction between Master’s students and experts; it was “a lesson of talent and inclusivity for us all”.

A backstage moment from the shoot by Istituto Marangoni Fashion Styling Masters student Carlotta Popolizio

A backstage moment from the shoot by Istituto Marangoni Fashion Styling Masters student Carlotta Popolizio

 

 

Nina Clements 
Fashion Styling & Creative Direction students, 3rd year, Milan
Course
Programme
postgraduate-Master's Degrees · Master's Courses · Master of Arts