The Russian suprematist artist Kazimir Malevich and a Moroccan coat the designer picked up at a Paris flea market were the starting points for the strong collection Gabriele Colangelo showed tonight. Colangelo regularly looks to the work of artists for fabric and silhouette inspiration—Malevich provided the geometric shapes, the pure primary colors (white, navy, and tomato red), and the dégradé effects here. But the Moroccan coat was something new; Colangelo hasn't explored ethnic motifs before.
In addition to re-creating the vintage topper in a spare, modern silhouette with Malevich's rounded shoulders, Colangelo used the woven panel as a decorative detail on a strapless dress, and turned another panel into the front of a narrow midi skirt worn with a bandeau top. All three looks put him in the minority in a Milan season that has so far been about sixties rigor, but they worked persuasively, warming up his clean, minimal aesthetic. And the designer turned up the heat in other ways too, cutting his dresses with deep front slits and making use of sheer fabrics for blouses or the overlay on a pair of pants. Here and there it conjured images of Céline. There's one thing Colangelo can definitely stake a claim to as his own, though—as the son of a furrier, he cuts a wicked sheared-mink strapless dress.