Last season, Blumarine‘s creative director Nicola Brognano created a collection that was an “ode to mermaids”. Inspired by his love of the Disney film The Little Mermaid, models swaggered down the runway wearing shell-shaped bralettes and strapless denim dresses with fishtail hems. Fall/Winter 2023—which debuted in Milan overnight—was something of a companion piece to that show. Gone were the references to water, replaced with a fiery, barren landscape. Guests walked into a venue that blazed with the light of a giant, commanding ‘B’, which lit up the runway cinematically as models walked.
Brognano was referencing another film that influenced him in his youth, this time Luc Besson’s ’90s cult classic The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc. The film sees Milla Jovovich—a long time Blumarine girl, dating back to the early ’90s—play the French war heroine alongside a formidable cast that includes Faye Dunaway, John Malkovich, and Dustin Hoffman. Joan’s famous uniform, her suit of armour, was referenced by Brognano from the very first look—a skin-hugging lycra dress in shimmery metallic silver.
Elsewhere, chain mail appeared on halter tops styled with little shearling miniskirts or as surprisingly lightweight full-length gowns. Shearling was a recurring theme throughout—oversized shearling coats, corsets with shearling trim, and statement-making fluffy shearling gilets. Medieval details like pantaloon-style trousers were modernised in distressed denim and dripping with buckles, which appeared in abundance throughout the collection.
Brognano’s vision for Blumarine has made the brand a leading figure in the so-called Y2K renaissance. For F/W ’23 he continued to reference the silhouettes that typified that era: low-slung trousers, skirts-over-pants, shrunken ribbed cardigans. This time they felt less overt than in the past: no rhinestoned butterflies or “tattoo”-style shirts. The end result was a collection that was rooted in wearability. Some of the best looks were the draped jersey dresses, artfully deconstructed in an unexpected colour palette of light greys, scarlets, and tangerines. Brognano is tuned in to what young women want to wear now. Expect to see this season’s studded belts and slouchy point-toed boots soon on a TikTok feed near you.