Gilberto Calzolari Fall Winter 2022-2023 collection lookbook (16 outfits).
My new collection is called 'Ecomachìa'. The term (which we could translate as environmental battle, from the Greek οἶκος 'house / environment' and μάχη "battle") was coined by two American scholars, Robert Markley and Molly Rothenberg, to represent, and overcome, the classic contrast between culture and nature, society and environment: a binary concept born in the eighteenth century and in their opinion unsuited for the complexity of the ecosystem in which we live. The idealistic description of Nature as inherently harmonious no longer makes sense: human beings - like all organisms - are involved in the construction of nature as much as in its contamination and destruction.
It is no longer time for easy idealisms. It is time to be aware that everything we do generates consequences and waste. We have to nd solutions starting from this awareness.
We've been through a kind of war for the past two years, and we haven't gotten out of it yet. In this scenario that has changed all our habits and the dynamics of social life, I believe that a designer should question himself about the meaning of what he does. This collection represents my answer.
I believe we must never give up on seeking beauty, but the way to achieve it is now more complicated. It would be naive to deny what is around us, starting from an unprecedented climate crisis that must force everyone to take on serious responsibility. Today, more than ever, the pursuit of beauty must go through sustainability, but this - far from being a limit - is really an opportunity to be extremely creative. The answer to the global waste that surrounds us is not to stop creating, but to create using what we have available, even materials born for other purposes: through their transformation, by radically changing their function and meaning, we can nd beauty even in what was built for completely di erent ends.
Part of the collection, for example, is inspired by military uniforms. The pandemic, after all, has forced all of us, entrenched in our homes by repeated lockdowns, to rethink our lives. The super uous has given way to rigor and functionality. In my opinion, however, fashion shouldn’t just mirror reality but reinterpret it, even in a surprising way, and show us something unexpected. Thus, if on the one hand the garments of this collection take on the rigor and colours of military uniforms, on the other hand they completely overturn their purpose, in an act of rebellion that wants to rediscover the feminine and the individuality in what, historically, has always been the most masculine and depersonalizing.
Hence, authentic WWII garments recovered from the dismantling of military bases, rethought and reassembled, have become surprisingly feminine and romantic, in an example of creative upcycling that, from collection to collection, has become my trademark: like the nylon quilt used to cover motorcycles that transforms into a windproof poncho-cape, or the military green paratrooper backpack that unexpectedly transforms into a tted knee-length skirt and is combined with a romantic white BIO satin blouse with scarf collar; while the cutout of an overturned war bag gives shape to a miniskirt with a patch pocket combined with a turquoise cotton shirt enriched by a uorescent yellow nylon ru e.And again, an original military trench coat is recovered and cut to become a tailored suit made up of a cropped mini-trench coat (enriched by a multicolour faux fur collar) and a trapeze-line wallet skirt: the result is an elegant game of contrasts and unusual combinations that enhance each other, creating unique and original pieces.
References to uniforms, reworked in a feminine key, combined with the use of new generation sustainable materials, are also found in men's technical outerwear where, surprisingly, coloured drawstrings soften the silhouette by marking the waistline, as in the parka-trench coat in BiBye® regenerated carded wool (an innovative double fabric by Manteco) mixed with a high-performance cotton (In Pluvia Temporis, also by Manteco) that re-elaborates the origins of trench fabrics - initially designed for soldiers in the English trenches - in a hi-tech and sustainable key. The parka is also present in the short version in beige Prince of Wales recycled wool, always with coloured drawstring at the waist, combined with a pencil skirt in the same fabric with double-slider zip slit. A further example of “green” fashion is then o ered by the double-breasted suit in MWool® men's check fabric in burnt hues, a latest generation recycled wool that uses a new dyeing method without chemicals simply by mixing di erent bers and shades thanks to the exclusive Recype® process.
The austerity of military garments is balanced by more extravagant and feminine pieces with an abstract camou age design: such as the asymmetrical olive dress, the coral chemisier and the coppery total look of shirt and wallet skirt - all in GOTS certi ed BIO silk with OEKO TEX nishing by Clerici Tessuto. But the contrast between lightness and rigor explodes in all its strength and iconicity in the so-called "Yeti" out t: a romantic dress with ounces and ru es in turquoise BIO georgette (embellished with lead-free Swarovski crystals), encased in a decorative "harness" made with paratrooper suspenders and worn with eece-padded Arctic gloves and a faux fur-trimmed military hood.
Compared to the bright and vibrant colours of the previous collections, Ecomachìa’s palette is much more essential, and as it progresses, the military shades of green and brown, and the touches of light blue and coral, give way to black, which takes hold in the nal looks, often associated with uorescent yellow, as if to signal danger: for example in the midi dress in SFC certi ed responsible viscose with sleeves in 100% recycled Newlife™ polyester satin by Italian Converter (enriched with re ective tapes) and in the suit made of shirt and skirt worn under a black lurex duster coat; to culminate in the total black of the upcycled vinyl suit, consisting of a blouse with crater neck and wide sleeves (with buckles on the cu s) and a pencil skirt with side slit. Ecomachìa is a strong and combative collection, born as a reaction to the period we are living in, in search of a surprising and unpredictable beauty. This is why I wanted to shoot the images of such an intimately contemporary collection in a place of art and history - the splendid Atelier Pellini in Milan - and I am pleased to present the collection during Milan Fashion Week at the ADI Design Museum, a historical place of the ‘30s used in the past as a depot for horse trams and as an electricity plant, and now recovered and transformed into a place of art.
Nothing is forever. Everything is transformed. It is up to us to mold reality into something better.
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