‘Have more than you show, speak less than you know’, said The Fool when he forewarned Lear of the dangers of his impulsive, reckless behaviour. This keeps coming to mind in a season full of rash restructuring and a few-too-many shows with bowerbird styling, at least in Milan. In the meantime, Lucio Vanotti exists in a parallel universe of purist aesthetics; a continuing lesson in the beauty of simplicity. Each outfit involved only two or three pieces, where comfort wool coats and floating cotton in soft sage sat beautifully with rust-toned trousers and simple tops. In just a few seasons, Vanotti’s focus on the essential qualities of garments – cut, fabric, colour – has become his strength and identity.
An ethereal quality continued into the set design by Massimo Faion, a regular collaborator of Vanotti. There were two-tone dolls’ heads facing each other here, and a single lit candle obliquely placed on the runway there. The soundscape was similarly delicate. But it wasn’t overly austere, as moments with rich ruby velvet reminded us of the appeal of instant pleasure, yet the kind that doesn’t wear or expire. Indeed all the fabrics were soft and timelessly loose on the body. I found the Nordic patterns less convincing, though I see the aesthetic connection to this part of the world; the sense of purity and functionality of high-quality, warm fabrics, worn with ease. Softly tailored jackets and the occasional tapered trouser nodded to mid-90s Armani, and nightwear-inspired silks directed my brain to a certain TLC ‘Creep’ video from ’94. That said, more than anything, the greyed-off palette with eerily slow-walking models and totemic set felt nostalgic for a time that never existed; and so, a New Order. Vanotti’s vision of fashion that evolves discretely and logically is only noticed by a few. But of course understatement wasn’t something Lear payed attention to either, and we all know how that story ended.