What makes a fashion city well, a fashion city? It seems like New York, London, Milan, and Paris have been the conquering capitals of the industry. Yet luxury houses are taking a trek to a different location, one that has people questioning where fashion’s roots are heading. Because, luxury houses have docked in Venice.
The capital of Northern Italy has been a pinpoint on the map for fashion’s latest showings. Earlier this summer Rick Owens showed his Spring/Summer 2022 collection on the sunny Venice Lido Beach, a place not so foreign to the creative director who also resides on the Venetian island and has used the beach destination as the backdrop for his previous pandemic bred showings. And just this week, Anthony Vaccarello chose the watery landscape to showcase the Saint Laurent Menswear 2022 collection while Pierpaolo Piccioli staged the Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2021 collection at Gaggiandre, one of the largest productions sites in the city. Both houses also planted Venetian seeds into their collections, Saint Laurent fusing elements of Italian masquerade into ’70s rock n’ roll signatures and Valentino paying homage the city’s thriving art scene. It seems like the French-born and the French expat have had a change of heart.
The talk around Venice doesn’t come as a surprise. Well-known for its dreamy aura and rich history the city has been a hotspot for tourism. Yet fashion’s sudden gravitation towards the city wasn’t foreshadowed either. What made houses switch from the traditional concrete capitals to the slow-paced scenery?
One place to look would be Venice’s art core, a facet that inspired and embedded itself in both the Saint Laurent and Valentino collections. The Venice Biennale, an institution that encompasses established cultural events, nestled its way into Vaccarello’s vision; Doug Aitken, the Internal Prize winner at the 1999 Venice Biennale, was in charge of the show’s reflective set. Meanwhile Piccioli tapped 16 artists for his collection, transforming their work into walking exhibits as a tell tale sign that art and fashion are intertwined. Now, the latter is trailing art’s flourishing footsteps.
The Floating City is also symbolic perhaps for its serenity, romanticism, and escapism (because what better form does it come in if not situated on a city surrounded by calm canals). For obvious reasons, pandemic fueled messages have been hard to avoid in collections, showing themselves in pieces that reflect burdening loneliness, the harrowing times, and the progressions towards an optimistic future – Venice has been able to translate these emotions.
Yet fashion’s arrival in Venice can also cause a looming problem as designers are fleeing to the city for the return of in-person showings. It comes at a time where the city is fearful of excessive tourism as borders begin to re-open and enforcing moves, including the ban on cruise ships, to address environmental blockages (which didn’t go unnoticed by Vaccarello who celebrated nature on the runway). But more shows bring in more people, even if that does include celebrities, designers, and fashion’s elite. It could be the thing the city is trying to inch away from. Oh, the paradox of fashion.
Is all of this the sign of a new fashion hub peaking on the horizon? Only time and a little bit of Venetian magic will tell.
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createdAt:Mon, 19 Jul 2021 19:28:51 +0000
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