Arthur Arbesser S/S 2020 Milan Fashion Week Women’s
Mood board: Grandmothers are proving a point of inspiration on the S/S 2020 catwalks. Richard Malone dedicated his spring offering to his hospital seamstress grandmother Nellie, who inspired in him an unerring and class resistant approach to creativity. Vienna-born Arbesser’s collection began when he found a box of fabric swatches that belonged to his grandmother Matilda, who was born in Siebenbuergen, today’s modern Romania. ‘It was an archive of prints and patterns from the Twenties to the Eighties when she stopped buying clothes,’ he said backstage. ‘She had a very sacred attachment to the past.’ These swatches informed the swirling Transylvanian ceramics-inspired prints and graphic, post-war architectural patterns in the collection, which featured – in Arbesser’s colourful and eccentric style – hem curling knitwear, paneled silk skirts, cinching sailor collar jackets and gauzy diamond lace dresses.
Finishing touches: ‘The collection had a serious silhouette with a childish twist,’ Arbesser explained of incorporating the kidswear swatches he’d found in Matilda’s fabric box. Playful pizzazz came courtesy of cloud-like oversized berets trailing with fronts of ostrich feathers, and Calderian mobile earrings dangling with mirrored letter ‘A’s.
Best in show: Arbesser used his heirloom discovery to consider the patchwork of his own work life. This culminated in a series of paneled shirts, trousers and long vests formed from swatches of fabrics from his past collections, dyed in the washing machine to a uniform grey. ‘It’s my own little story in fabric,’ he said. ‘The only way you can design fashion is to tell a story that is really your own.’ §