Francesco Scognamiglio S/S16
Francesco Scognamiglio S/S16

Weather has been less than cooperative in Milan this afternoon, and that, in turn, has caused shows to run later than usual and that, as one might expect, has caused people to be a bit grumpy. As we’ve gone from show to show this afternoon, we’ve seen a lot of great designs from labels that are largely limited to Italy/Southern Europe, each with its fans and admirers, struggle to get their shows started. Power has been spotty at times. Traffic has been miserable. And if you’ve ever met an angry Italian, try to imagine the noise of a room full of them. It has been quite an interesting afternoon.

Amidst all the chaos, and his own show running almost an hour late, Francesco Scognamiglio delivered a show that could easily be summed up in one word: Sheer. Stating that “wearing night clothes during the day is daring,” Scognamiglio sent down an array of lace, satin, and chiffon that is aesthetically gorgeous but calling the line “daring” might be the understatement of the season. There was more than once when I was wondering, as the piece entered the runway, whether the model was wearing any kind of a top at all. They were, we discovered as they came closer, wearing extremely  thin pieces of tulle, but he has found a way to create seams and trim so small as to be practically invisible.

Not quite everything in the collection is all that dangerous. There are some floral prints, loaded with ruffles, in the middle of the collection that are perfectly acceptable out in public no matter where one might be short of a cow pasture. In fact, Scognamiglio uses a lot of ruffles which is a trend heavily continued in almost every line we’ve seen here. The two final gowns use ruffles with special brilliance so as to get the attention of even the most jaded ruffle-hater (and there are certainly plenty of those).

Most of the collection is in black and white, and seriously those are the pieces that look more like something for the boudoir. Don’t get me wrong: they’re beautifully created, impeccably designed pieces with an amazing attention to detail. Get a close look at the detail and you will be absolutely amazed. But at the end of the day I’m not sure even a slip or a camisole makes some of these pieces suitable for public attire.

This season’s collection is critical because Scognamiglio just secured additional funding as YCapital Funding took a minority stake in the young label. Allegedly, the purpose in the acquisition is to give the label the cash necessary to extend its line well outside Italy. This is a good thing. The reason I stayed awake long enough to review Francesco’s collection is because he shows the talent to really become a breakout designer as Italy’s more established names get older and begin to “retire.” He has a lot of talent.

Unfortunately, he needs to either choose more opaque material or global decency laws need to become a lot more liberal for him to secure the geographic coverage he wants. We’ll wait to see what happens next season.

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