Francesco Scognamiglio was looking to Britain for Autumn/Winter 2013. More specifically he was preoccupied with the strange phenomenon of the English socialite – that mysterious, oft troubled woman who drifts from party to party and man to man. As was to be expected, tailoring was at the core of the showing, from the high-waisted trousers worn with pussy-bow blouses to neat coats with fur collars. There was little variation to the items on show. Many looks appeared in multiple colours, unchanged except for minor details like embroidery and embellishment.
Socialites may have been the given inspiration, but really this was more Daily Mail than Debrett’s, despite the retro forties hints. The signature Scognamiglio sheer panelling and grey leopard print – one of the only injections of colour in an otherwise monochrome showing – could have slipped straight off the runway onto the backs of Petra, Tamara, Maria, Lydia and the like. Those girls for whom a second-skin gown or slinky animal print pencil skirt are wardrobe musts.
But while it’s easy to imagine these clothing on real women – or in this case the kind of enhanced, modern debutants who teeter about our capital stopping off at Boujis and Nobu - one couldn’t help but wonder if their future would be somewhat stunted. As one of Milan’s few rising talents, it’s interesting that Scognamiglio chose to look to London as his inspiration, a city where new stars and acclaimed graduates are two a penny and there are fabulous funding opportunities to ensure that they are all supported and pushed. Having just witnessed the fashion on show in our native city – all punch, print and pizazz - Scognamiglio’s strangely tragic and cinematic view of femininity felt somewhat off kilter (and one could even say backwards). It’s apt that his collection explored Veronica Lake’s icy turn as Joyce in The Blue Dahlia. The soundtrack opened with her in a moment of indecision, ‘I flip a coin. Heads I go to Malibu..tails to Laguna.’ Sadly, this young Italian talent felt equally as confused. He’s teetering on the brink of success, but lacks the guidance and direction that comes so readily in London. It's a missed opportunity for Milan.