Milan Fashion Week spring 2016 is already under way to arrest all your attention and you are again yielding to temptation to leave all your important affairs aside and lay eyes on the screens as not to miss even a single artwork on the runway. When you are with Italian young fashion brand Stella Jean nothing should distract your attention from the runway, otherwise you will miss an African woman holding a basket full of fruits on her head, a Hispaniolan trogon, the national bird of Haiti or Peruvian orchids. Throwing a glance at Stella Jean collections, including the insanely bright and cheerful Stella Jean spring/summer 2016 ready-to-wear lineup, you understand that the Haitian-Italian designer is a true blue proponent of blurring all borders between different countries and a stable appraiser of multiculturalism. At times it may seem to you that Stella Jean is repeating herself show after show, but it is because you just haven’t managed yet to explore each country’s flora and fauna or each nation’s culture and lifestyle. The talented and sunny designer may wander through African jungles one month and actively communicate with Peruvian people another month, then come back to Italy already determined what patterns, prints, animals and plants she will depict on her geometrical canvas.
The Stella Jean spring 2016 collection keeps up effusing the most vibrant and saturated colors on the catwalk, delving into different cultures, dragging some edgy and appetizing elements from them, making the most spicy cocktails and immortalizing them on rich and intricate textiles, afterwards heartily treating the attendees with those delicacies. This time around Stella’s exploration has historical character; she has referred Italian diaspora, which was formed by millions of Italians having migrated to North America, South America, Africa and Europe. Titling the lineup “En Route”, Stella stole some colorful parrots, cacti and flowers from Brazil, Libya or Canada, such decorative elements as tassels, pompoms, gracefully uniting them and creating a history on a series of mini, midi and maxi skirts and frocks some of them having multiple ruffles or tassel structure, others imitating voluminous ball gowns.
A myriad of trenches with ample sleeves and raffia embellishments paired with lace culottes or checkered slim pants with the most fantastic prints and images on them are to take you to various locations at the same time. One of the T-shirts worn beneath a green-white jacket carrying birds on both shoulders and paired with a multicolored tassel skirt comes to be the poster of the film “Once Upon a Time in America” by the Italian director Sergio Leone, which is an insinuation to Italian migration to America. The designer has also drawn a couple of cacti from Mexican earth and portrayed them on a white trench and on a multicolored striped one. Some of the pieces like the high waist maxi skirts or a jacket with bell sleeves are so rich with birds that the attendees were seemingly enjoying soft tweeting of exotic birds.
The lineup is full of accessories as well. Noteworthy are ear-cuffs generally fixed on one ear of models only, imitating a bird sitting on a tree, as well as semi-caps that seem to be real roofs in shapes of watermelon or cabbage. The collection also brings a lot of multicolored sandals and African-style slippers all covered with tassels.
The finale of the runway show was an abrupt shift to a beach with a range of ‘50s-inspired swimwear as a very effective replenishment to different lifestyles featured in the collection.
Photos courtesy of Vogue