Since launching Magliano in 2016, Bologna-born Luca Magliano has striven to keep things authentic - something that's hard to do in fashion. With season-upon-season of critical industry acclaim and a fast-growing stockist and customer base which includes Asia and America, Magliano partnered with the brand accelerator Underscore District at the end of last year. Creative director and designer Magliano, however, maintains a majority stake, and the label's A/W 23 collection was a bonafide sign that maintaining their roots in Italian culture goes hand-in-hand with growing the business.
'A very important part of our job is to represent a dark side of humanity. We insist on saying that people who wear our clothes, are people who feel', Magliano tells me over a video call after the show, which was held in a dark and cavernous space as models took on the role of actors, drawing in part from the designer's own love of Italian cinema. They frequently made intentionally uncomfortable eye-contact with the fashion press, under the direction of actor and choreographer Michele Rizzo, demanding we see them as human beings, rather than invisible models.
Also in the show space, was a barricade of chairs against the back wall. 'It was meant to give a sense of protection, a space in the space', the designer explains. The chair, he goes on, also represents people, absent or seated. 'The common, archetypal and ancient object...talks about people.' Convened together in this space, we witnessed a collection of the archetypes Magliano has developed thus far; the silk pyjama shirts, languid tailoring, earth tones. Like the wall of chairs, these clothes soothe and protect. Magliano goes as far as to call these garments 'magic objects'.
The archetype of the Italian worker has always been a central thrust for the brand, with the designer wanting to speak to his own background and upbringing. 'Fashion is a thing, but style is not something that belongs to people who have money. At least that's what we think. It's a matter of class, for me, that's my class.' Casting, therefore, is of huge importance. Working with their casting director Julia Asaro, models range in age and ethnicity. 'We want to represent this Italy that is often untold, but exists', the designer affirms. This Magliano community is also captured in a new campaign captured by Leonardo Scotti. Put simply, for Luca Magliano, 'this is a romantic celebration of life'.