By Giulia Piceni. Photographs courtesy Milano Moda Graduate, 2022.
Following the rhythm of Flashing Lights by Kanye West, the MFW started with a renovated vow: to enhance young talent. And what better occasion to spot new creatives than an entire event exclusively for those coming from fashion schools all over Italy?
That’s how Milano Moda Graduate originated, an event that saw the exclusive partnership between CNMI (Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana) and YKK Italia this year.1
Starting in April, an international jury had to choose only the best octet from a multitude of candidates. After this first selection, the finalists had the opportunity to showcase their collections on September 20 on one of Milan’s most prestigious catwalks at ADI Museum.
During the event dedicated to the Women’s Collections for Spring/Summer 2023, the keen eye of watchful Vogue Italia editors observed the result of their hard work. It became the subject of debate for merciless journalistic pens but also an object of admiration in the Instagram stories of numerous rappers and influencers who sat in the diverse crowd.
Among the young designers at the show, one, in particular, caught the audience’s attention. With the great pleasure of Istituto Marangoni Firenze, Nicola De Piano, a brilliant Fashion Design Alumnus, participated in the event with his Echoes collection.
Intending to give life to a countercurrent style through garments that would s the wearer apart, the young designer created his graduation collection – already shown during the End of the Year Fashion Show at Museo Marino Marini – by following his instinct. The process was inspired by a desire to reshape already established silhouettes, giving new life and meaning to familiar shapes.
This intention was in line with his experiences, feelings and emotions, as stated by Nicola. He said that Echoes was titled following the idea that many styles surround us, but they make less noise than we do: the real noise is the echo of the things inside us.
On the catwalk, it was possible to admire a tribute of materials that together looked like a paradox: a detachable black lamb leather corset accompanied by wide-leg satin trousers, a white pleated shirt paired with a black crossbody backpack reminiscent of workwear. Nicola De Piano’s Echoes references his sources of inspiration, such as the violent but super cool teddy boys, the myth of Echo and Narcissus and the androgynous allure of the male subjects of Caravaggio’s paintings.
Furthermore, De Piano’s avant-garde aesthetic fused with romanticism and the structuring typical of tailoring wants to reflect the ideal that uniqueness can also be achieved with minimal pieces, as long as there is a story behind them.
The Milano Moda Graduate event is an excellent springboard for the young designer, but it should also tell anyone wishing to enter the industry that, sometimes, doing what you love most and genuinely believing in it can make your dreams come true.
Nicola De Piano is an Istituto Marangoni Firenze Alumnus. He graduated in Fashion Design & Accessories in 2022.
Giulia Piceni is an undergraduate student in Arts Curating at Istituto Marangoni Firenze.
1. Japanese brand YKK is a global leader in fastening accessories and zippers.