Debuts of Milan Men’s Fashion Week: Four Projects to Watch

ByMarcella L. Bouffard

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MILAN —  The men’s fashion week calendar is welcoming a handful of newbies banking on the global visibility offered by the showcase to present their spring collections and projects. From the eco-minded approach of Lessico Familiare and Simon Cracker, to Sease’s charitable bent and Joeone’s celebration of China’s heritage, these are the four debuts to keep an eye on this week.

Simon Cracker

From left Filippo Biraghi and Simone Botte, brand coordinator and creative director of Simon Cracker. - Credit: Courtesy of Simon Cracker

From left Filippo Biraghi and Simone Botte, brand coordinator and creative director of Simon Cracker. – Credit: Courtesy of Simon Cracker

Courtesy of Simon Cracker

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Simon Cracker, the brand founded and helmed by Simone Botte, is no novice.

Botte established it in 2010 with a radical approach that has been both pleasure and pain as he tapped into upcycling when that word had yet to be invented and felt somewhat sidelined by the industry, despite amassing loyal customers for his one-of-a-kind creations.

Further progressing his sustainable commitment, he pledges to use only recycled materials, down to stitching yarns, but grew mindful of the importance of scale and made the right steps to build a structure for the brand.

“I used to have loyal customers but now the audience is growing.…I’m relying on a very sharp and precise vocabulary, which can guide all of our decisions especially now that we’re making some steps forward,” said Botte.

After bringing onboard Filippo Biraghi as brand coordinator, the designer is ready to embrace industrial-scale manufacturing, provided companies can align with his eco-minded requests, and take the brand “mainstream” without giving up on his dreams and the brand’s founding values.

“Nobody is really happy with how things are managed [in fashion], but whenever someone tries to offer a different perspective, the industry fears change,” Biraghi added.

Signaling their interest in making steps toward brand growth and commercial expansion, Simon Cracker is holding its first runway show on Sunday.

The brand’s overarching theme, Botte and Biraghi explained, is “punk kindness,” which for the spring genderless collection is telegraphed by the two-pronged inspiration — part “Little House on the Prairie” and part “Reality Bites,” the 1994 movie by Ben Stiller starring Wynona Rider.

Eschewing gender stereotypes, the collection will be paraded by men and women alike, all cast among friends of the brands wearing billowing petticoats and slipdresses, evoking the “comforting scent of clean laundry drying,” as Botte put it; tailored suits remastered from garments abandoned at laundry shops; knitwear made of deadstock yarns, and outerwear crafted from parachute fabrics.

“Our participation at fashion week proves our ambition to keep doing what we do but on an industrial scale, finding manufacturers that help us grow our scope,” Botte said. — MARTINO CARRERA


Designer Louis-Gabriel Nouchi with a model wearing his creations for Joeone. - Credit: Courtesy of Joeone

Designer Louis-Gabriel Nouchi with a model wearing his creations for Joeone. – Credit: Courtesy of Joeone

Courtesy of Joeone

When Paris-based emerging designer Louis-Gabriel Nouchi was appointed creative director of Joeone, he immediately knew that the hardest task would be keeping up with the Chinese firm’s prowess in trouser-making, all the while expanding its offering and turning it into a full-fledged fashion brand.

A company that built a sizable business in its domestic market, priding itself on selling a pair of trousers every seven seconds, Joeone made its runway debut outside China in 2021 during Paris Fashion Week. But it is decamping to Milan and will hold a runway presentation on Monday in the courtyard of the Castello Sforzesco.

“Milano is such a strong city for fashion, especially for menswear, with historical know-how and typical way of doing tailoring,” said Nouchi. “It also perfectly fitted the atmosphere that we wanted to evoke for this collection’s show. It’s a city which has also strong link with China, and I like to leverage this connection,” he offered.

Nouchi’s exacting approach to tailoring gained him the job. Mindful of Chinese and Western tailoring’s differences, Nouchi has been trying to strike a balance.

“I always loved to make a junction between those two approaches.…I love to bring the sensuality of oversized shapes into a more casual and wearable wardrobe,” he explained.

The spring collection nods to China’s Song Dynasty era and takes cue from Wang Ximeng’s painting “A Thousand Miles of Rivers and Mountains,” commissioned by Emperor Song Huizong, who was known for his flamboyant taste. “I wanted to bring this signature part of Chinese history into the now,” Nouchi explained.

A look from Joeone men’s spring 2023. - Credit: Courtesy of Joeone

A look from Joeone men’s spring 2023. – Credit: Courtesy of Joeone

Courtesy of Joeone

The designer reinterpreted the artwork’s rolling hills and vast lakes and rivers accented by bright blue brushstrokes for slightly flared printed silk trousers with a liquid look, paired with see-through pristine white shirts. There’s an activewear bent to some of the styles, which Nouchi counterbalanced with he sharp tailored constructions, core to Joeone’s offering, achieving a fluid look.

“It’s a reflection about what men like to wear today, in terms of functionality, comfort and elegance,” he said, noting how trousers, their fit, waist and details were always the look’s starting point.

The morning show, scheduled for 9.30 a.m. CET, will be livestreamed on Weibo and WeChat to reach the domestic audience, still prevented from traveling due to the pandemic. For IRL and virtual showgoers, Nouchi orchestrated a showcase that aims to telegraph “desirability and fantasy.” — M.C.


Franco Loro Piana - Credit: Courtesy of Sease

Franco Loro Piana – Credit: Courtesy of Sease

Courtesy of Sease

An activist push will define Sease’s first showcase as part of Milan Fashion Week. The performance lifestyle brand founded by brothers Franco and Giacomo Loro Piana won’t only spotlight its new offering, but seize the event’s visibility to raise awareness around the work of Sea Shepherd, a nonprofit organization protecting oceans from illegal exploitation and environmental destruction.

Sharing a common eco-minded approach, the brand has partnered with the organization, supplying new uniforms to its fleet and then designing a dedicated capsule collection. Launching on Monday, the project intends to encourage people to join the cause as proceeds of the sales will be fully donated to Sea Shepherd. Priced between 180 euros and 890 euros, the range will retail at Sease’s stores and e-commerce, as well as being exclusively available at Modes, LuisaViaRoma and The Webster.

Designed with 3D technology to reduce fabric waste and optimize product development, the garments were made from recycled plastic waste from the ocean thanks to a collaboration with the Seaqual program, which turns marine litter in new raw material, and Maiocchi, which used the Seaqual yarn to produce the fabric.

Style-wise, the collection will feature T-shirts, vests, bomber jackets, hoodies and a duffel bag, all bearing both parties’ logos as well as key values or inspirational quotes from the organization. While a map marking all the marine missions was printed on the lining of outerwear, a QR code on each garment will enable consumers to get informed, donate or join the community.

Sease x Sea Shepherd - Credit: Courtesy of Sease

Sease x Sea Shepherd – Credit: Courtesy of Sease

Courtesy of Sease

“It’s a more contemporary capsule compared to the signature Sease product, and has a different fit, too,” said Franco Loro Piana, also highlighting that the project will enable the brand to connect with a new audience.

Meanwhile, it helped Loro Piana to explore new categories, such as T-shirts, that will be introduced into Sease’s main line this season. Other highlights will include a linen field jacket — one of the brand’s fortes — with a waterproof treatment, teased the entrepreneur.

Both the Sea Shepherd capsule collection and Sease’s main range will be showcased at the brand’s new store in Via Montenapoleone, where the brand has recently relocated from its previous unit in the arty Brera district.

Launched to offer versatile, functional kits geared to the mountains or the sea, Sease was founded in 2018, when “after selling the family business I wanted to [get out there] with a brand that could narrate our heritage and Italian know-how within a more contemporary context,” recalled Loro Piana, who hails from the namesake textile family. — SANDRA SALIBIAN

Lessico Familiare

From left to right: Riccardo Scaburri, Alice Curti and Alberto Petillo. - Credit: Courtesy of Lessico Familiare

From left to right: Riccardo Scaburri, Alice Curti and Alberto Petillo. – Credit: Courtesy of Lessico Familiare

Courtesy of Lessico Familiare

“We are mainly oversized, sometimes a bit costume-y and completely far from sexy,” said Riccardo Scaburri, one-third of the creative force behind Lessico Familiare, summing up the aesthetic of the indie brand.

One of the few labels to bet on the coed format this season, Lessico Familiare is to mark its debut on the official schedule of Milan Fashion Week with quite an unusual lineup, hinged on a bridal theme.

Yet the approach is completely in sync with the quirky nature of the brand, which follows no season but embraces experimental projects instead.

Founded during the pandemic and deeply rooted in sustainability, Lessico Familiare is the brainchild of Scaburri, Alberto Petillo and Alice Curti, who met each other while attending the NABA fashion, art and design school.

After taking different paths — Scaburri counts former experiences as designer at Max Mara and GCDS; Petillo is both a tailor and tattoo artist, while Curti worked at Miaoran before returning to NABA as a teacher — in 2020 they decided to launch Lessico Familiare, looking at what their domestic environment could offer. Hence, curtains, mats, discarded clothes were upcycled to turn a “familiar lexicon” (as the brand’s name translates to in English) into new pieces.

“The aesthetic is both nostalgic and deliberately froufrou. Nostalgic but in a healthy way: our familiar and home inspirations are clear, but we are not stuck in the past. Froufrou but not empty… our main inspiration is not even visual but comes from Natalia Ginzburg’s [1963 book] ‘Lessico Famigliare’,” said Scaburri. The brand’s goal “is to keep familiar memories alive with clothes” just like the Italian author did with words, he added.

Developed in collaboration with artist GianMarco Porru, the upcoming collection will see a bridal trousseau turned into newlyweds’ garments. All the fabrics employed came from Porru’s own family wedding trousseau, including tablecloths, curtains and bed covers, which were repurposed and enriched with “bows and bows and bows” or rendered in “two-dimensional shapes where the key element is the texture of the fabric,” teased Scaburri.

The collection will be presented in-person on June 20 with “no real models, no runway, no rows. Just brides walking outside a bar and going to get married,” he added.

A look from Lessico Familiare’s upcoming collection. - Credit: Courtesy of Lessico Familiare

A look from Lessico Familiare’s upcoming collection. – Credit: Courtesy of Lessico Familiare

Courtesy of Lessico Familiare

For the founders, showing during Milan Fashion Week represents both a chance to share a stage with established players and to show the versatility of their label. “We are a project, not a brand. The first time we showed our pieces was in the Spazio Martín gallery during an art performance. Now it’s during fashion week, then who knows?” said Scaburri.

With prices ranging from 70 euros to 180 euros, Lessico Familiare is mainly available on its e-commerce, also due to its artisanal, homemade production. — S.S.

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