¿Será la velocidad con la cual se mueve el mundo actual?, ¿el abominable culto al selfie? ¿o el nuevo individualismo que, por encima, pareciera no seguir los fenómenos de las masas? Tan diversos fueron los mensajes entregados durante la semana de la moda de París, que atrás quedó aquello clasificar a una firma dentro de la estética del lujo austero de Céline o dentro de la abundancia decorativa y nostálgica que caracteriza a Prada.
Ahora bien, si hubo un mensaje que se sobrepuso a todo el ruido fue el de Demna Gvasalia, el creador de Vêtements y el nuevo diseñador de Balenciaga: “streetwear es el nuevo couture”, o algo por esas líneas. Sin embargo, aun al evocar los volúmenes del maestro Cristóbal, resulta difícil digerir la colección como Balenciaga. Desde luego, queda claro el alto potencial comercial de la muestra y que se beneficiará del bombo actual que goza el reciclaje “margielista” de su nuevo director.
Lógicamente, Gvasalia proviene de la famosa escuela de Antwerp y de las filas de Martin Margiela y Louis Vuitton. No en vano su retoño, Vêtements, no es más que una recreación de la estética deconstructiva y urbana de Margiela en sus inicios. Evidentemente, la hazaña de Gvasaglia no radica en reinterpretar al diseñador belga, sino en haber logrado conectar con el público joven como nadie lo ha hecho recientemente.
Como consecuencia, el efecto Vêtements no solo ha llegado a Balenciaga, sino que se ha colado tanto en marcas debutantes (Off White) como veteranas (Kenzo y Miu Miu). Centrarse en el producto y divorciase de cualquier concepto pretencioso ha sido la bandera y éxito de Vêtements, pero ello no implica que funcione para todos. Sin embargo, deja en el aire la pregunta de si es momento de simplificar el mensaje a la hora de vender.
La realidad es que Balenciaga o ‘Balements’, según sea su preferencia, hará sonar las cajas registradoras y pondrá una sonrisa en la cara de François Henri-Pinault, actual presidente del conglomerado Kering, anteriormente llamado PPR (Pinault-Printemps-Redoute). Mientras tanto, Martin Margiela observa como hacen fortunas con su legado y como John Galliano utiliza su nombre para dar rienda suelta a su circo de fantasías frustradas.
MILAN, Italy — "I focus on the fabrics first — and then on the colours. In my collections colour is very important," said 31 year-old Italian, menswear designer Luca Larenza. Now in its eighth season, Larenza’s namesake brand blends traditional Italian craftsmanship with eye-catching chromatic juxtapositions and innovative modern detailing.
For Autumn/Winter 2015, Larenza took cues from New York's late 1970s/early 1980s street art scene. He was previously himself a graffiti artist — for a period of about 13 years — which led directly to his interest in fashion. "During that time, I started to develop some ideas, playing with shapes. I began to concentrate on a small menswear capsule collection, centered on knitwear."
Today, that collection includes an oversized, deconstructed, pimp-style camel coat, influenced by the aesthetics of early hip-hop, and sophisticated jumpers with 3-D stitches, rubber effects and bold lines, evocative of subway graffiti and the brush-strokes of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Re-worked menswear staples such asherringbone, checks and tartans complete what Larenza calls a wardrobe for the "modern dandy."
Larenza did not formally train in design. In fact, following high school, he chose to study law with the intention of entering the field. "But when I finished studying law, I understood that what I really liked for my life was to work with art and fashion.”
Knowing he wanted to start his own business, Larenza completed a master's degree in fashion management at ISEM (International School of Economics and Management) in Madrid. Next was a stint as a fashion buyer for Amazon BuyVip in Italy, during which time he began working as as a consultant for Italian menswear designer Angelo Fusco. The experience gave Larenza the confidence he needed to venture out on his own and, in 2008, he founded his label in Milan.
"In the beginning, I was only able to do small collections, because of the costs, so I preferred to focus on small, detailed collections," said Larenza. Starting small allowed the designer to experiment with little risk and focus closely on the craftsmanship and detailing that has become a signature of his brand.
In 2011, Larenza was a finalist in “Who is on Next? Uomo,” the emerging menswear talent competition hosted by Pitti Immagine Uomo, Alta Roma and Uomo Vogue. "This helped a lot for the positioning of my brand, also for the press attention. After years, I got into important department stores like BeamsInternational Gallery in Tokyo and Andreas Murkudis in Berlin."
Larenza has since expanded his distribution across Italy, where his products are sold via The Store, Paleari, Mario & Sons, Gigi Tropea, Chirico Uomo and others. The label currently has a total of ten global stockists and Larenza is keen to grow a serious presence in Asia and expand his European distribution network, with a focus on department stores.
In September 2014, Larenza signed a five-year licensing deal with Milanese luxury knitwear specialist AM [Andrea Monteverdi] Srl and the designer is currently working on the second season of the partnership (Spring/Summer 2016). Larenza hopes this deal will provide the kind of economic stability that will allow him to continue to grow his business, whilst maintaining the “Made-in-Italy” craftsmanship that has characterised his work from the start.
For this month’s Spotlight, Luca Larenza has designed a custom BoF logo that evokes his street artist origins. "This pattern I have done has also been used for the paintings and the set design at my Autumn/Winter 2015 presentation during the men’s shows in Milan," he explained.
Although Larenza’s primary focus is menswear, he has also started to develop accessories, incorporating a small number of these products into his Autumn/Winter 2015 collection. A capsule collection for women may also be in the cards.