Milan is notoriously tough on young designers trying to break out, but there are signs that things are looking up. Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have just opened Spiga2, a two-floor boutique on the Via della Spiga that stocks their handpicked selection of up-and-comers, and Vogue Italia editor in chief Franca Sozzani is taking her Who's on Next program to the public on Monday, staging a show at the Piazza del Duomo for an international crew of on-the-rise talents.
Friday night's epic rainstorm probably kept some people from his show, but Gabriele Colangelo, who won the Vogue Italia and Alta Roma award two years ago, is worthy of a second look. Inspired by a recent exhibition of Wolfgang Tillmans' work in London, his new collection is in step with some of the season's key trends; he showed good timing in opting for whites and pale colors and for a fresh, minimal sensibility.
The key piece was an asymmetric shift with a rounded volume. There were hints of Marni and Maria Cornejo here, but Colangelo made the look his own with boundary-pushing fabrics, including one that shaded from opaque cotton to sheer silk, and another with an ombré that faded from midnight blue to dove gray. A few dresses came with horizontally arrayed copper wires to create malleable shape, while pants were cut from an innovative material made from thread encased between two layers of organza.
Plenty of designers talk about lightness, but not all of them can pin down the concept. Even when Colangelo was experimenting with embellishment, as he did with a lovely sequined nylon lace belted dress, he nailed it.