It’s not every day one catches Massimo Giorgetti in a total black look — let alone witnessing nine total black outfits in a row in one of his MSGM shows.
Such a sequence made for a cool anomaly in the brand’s fall 2023 collection, which also marked the first time the designer had “no moodboard, nor a story to tell,” Giorgetti admitted backstage.
Pure instinct and his eye for shapes and textures guided the creative process, which was a natural reaction to his desire for neatness and detox from the overflow of images, references and inputs around him.
The plain off-white location evoking this clean slate further amplified the surprising effect of the black designs as they came out on the expansive runway. Building on the more mature direction Giorgetti has been increasingly pointing to, this part of the lineup included tailored mohair jackets; plush faux furs; body-hugging dresses, and mini skirts covered in bows; little black dresses with corsetry details, and even an incursion into eveningwear with a one-shoulder silk slip dress featuring a plunging side slit and furry trims.
Yet, in Marie Kondo-ing his fashion this season, Giorgetti aptly found himself to also keep what sparks joy in him, retracing many of said elements in his own archives. That’s when colors eventually kicked in and plush textures multiplied in the lineup, with a triumph of faux furs, fluffy hats and shoes all rendered in vibrant hues and bouncing as the models strutted at the fast-paced beat of The Chemical Brothers’ hits.
Adding to the tactile quality of the collection, furry knits were offered in maxi volumes; leopard patterns were introduced as basics in coats and blazer jackets; abstract prints and striped shirts were styled with flocked denim separates, whose appearance was mimicked in a sequin-covered blue shirt and matching baggy pants.
A brocade fabric reprised from an MSGM collection of a decade ago still made for one of the highlights when cut in a mini skirt or short frock. “It’s a way to go back to those years, when we were freer. There was less merchandise and rules and our heads were less polluted, too,” said Giorgetti.
Although expressed boldly, here was a compelling exercise of simplification, both in terms of the number of pieces per look and their immediate readability. The collection also restated that as much as Giorgetti pivots toward a more refined aesthetic or strips down brainy references, there’s one core asset he luckily can’t silence: that youthful energy that’s the very essence of MSGM and that always cuts through the noise.
“We’ve got quite obsessed with delivery, which for me is a very human thing,” said Ib Kamara introducing his first pre-collection as art and image director of Off-White.
Sprouted from a social observation on how much people depend on this service — from food deliveries to Amazon — and yet how it still offers a moment of human interaction despite distances, the concept was taken a step further to mark the “Lunar Shipping” theme of the collection.
Think of an on-the-go wardrobe — conceived with ease and practicality in mind — but designed on a more elevated trajectory, since the sleek lineup pointed to an evolution of the brand toward a more refined aesthetic and spoke of Kamara’s mission to aim higher to honor the brainchild of the late Virgil Abloh.
“It’s a little bit of both. We’re not going to lose [the fact that] we are Off-White, cool and young-thinking,” he ensured before revealing a particular penchant for tailoring.
Baggy and oversize proportions were switched into closer-to-body silhouettes and new, graphic shapes. Rounded shoulders in suits contrasted with the sharp pleats of asymmetric skirts or removable back panels in pants, which introducing a sense of movement in the looks.
Meanwhile, the utilitarian inspiration was emphasized by buckles and removable harnesses giving edge to tailoring, as well as zippers trimming trenchcoats and vests as embellishment.
A recurrent circular motif further heightened the collection’s graphics. It winked both to the meteor holes that have become an Off-White signature and, more symbolically, Kamara’s own vow to keep alive the sense of community that Abloh embedded in his brand.
Hence, rounded pockets popped up on bomber jackets, circular quilting marked functional outerwear, while prints of a full moon appeared in different sizes on jerseys or made for subtle tweaks to the Off-White lettering. Even the Arrow logo that has become a byword for insider cool underwent a softening in its sharpest angles.
Still, the fierce spirit of the Off-White woman was intact. It was expressed in sartorial looks as much as in body-con knit frocks; fitted denim options; leather separates with a lived-in effect, and a seductive velvet gown rendered in the vibrant blue shade that Kamara aims to make synonymous with Off-White.
As for customers wondering what to have shipped first, they can rarely go wrong with the brand’s varsity jackets — now turned into minidresses, too.
MILAN — OVS and Massimo Piombo’s liaison is going stronger than ever.As revealed to WWD earlier this year, the Italian retailer strengthened the partnership with the designer by tasking him with the launch of women’s wear, which now flanks the existing men’s offer introduced in 2018 under the Piombo brand.
Debuting on Monday, the women’s range follows the distribution of the men’s counterpart, which is carried at 500 corners installed in the chain’s units in Italy.
During a walk-through at OVS’ extensive showroom in central Milan, Piombo underscored the importance of answering women’s different demands by developing a range of smart separates, as well as making sophistication accessible.
“I think this collection gives the opportunity to every woman to dress in a simple or more eccentric way, depending on her needs,” said Piombo, who is also creative director of OVS overseeing all the retailer’s lines as well as the stores’ interior concepts.
As a result, the versatile collection has a chic, preppy aesthetic with touches of bold color combinations, all enhanced in an advertising campaign shot in Paris. Piombo said the city fascinates him for its natural light and served best the purpose of conveying the sense of allure he wanted to instill in the accessible collection.
Product-wise, the range includes tailored staples as double-breasted coats and checkered blazer jackets as well as a vast assortment of soft sweaters and knits, categories for which the designer wants “to build a library” by rendering them in 60 to 80 color hues and patterns.
Wide-legged denim pants and flared corduroy options are part of the collection with more feminine dresses and skirts, to be styled with accessories encompassing slippers, scarves, bags and jewelry.
Prices for the collection range from around 15 euros for T-shirts and accessories to 80 euros for sartorial pieces and outerwear.
The Piombo fall 2021 collection.
Paolo Santambrogio/Courtesy of OVS
“We’re launching this project only now because it’s not easy to do everything at the same time. It was right to be cautious,” said OVS chief executive officer Stefano Beraldo. “The men’s wear collection worked so well that this launch was quite natural. This project is incredible, even more so at these kind of prices.”
“This is quite a unique approach in our category, because it’s not a one-off collaboration as other players did. It’s a company that has been set up and a brand that remains part of OVS,” echoed Piombo. Incidentally, OVS and Piombo hold a 70 percent and 30 percent stake in the label, respectively.
“It’s an interesting alchemy: the taste and talent of a person used to curate details and with a very clear fashion identity who is called to confront himself with quite the opposite, to interpret the needs of many customers and different tastes,” continued Beraldo. “But that’s the beauty of OVS, the fact that it speaks to everybody, it has a tone of voice that enables us to be credible not only for a certain target but for a universe of customers.”
“Besides the commercial purposes, the women’s wear launch intends to support the retailer in continuing its image elevation and attracting new clusters of consumers to the store — a trend kickstarted by the successful introduction of the Piombo men’s wear range, which sold out in Italy. In particular, customers with a medium to high spending capacity approached the brand, consequentially inducing the company to work to meet higher expectations with the ensuing collections.
“We reached a type of male clientele that before did not approach OVS, or did so sent by their wives to buy kids’ wear. Now they’re purchasing for themselves, too,” Beraldo said.
“But in general, it’s important that we respect the customers we have always had,” the executive continued. “So it’s a double operation: On one hand, we’re trying to keep our longtime customers engaged by constantly improving the offer — which in the last 15 years has strongly evolved — and sometimes even rationalizing it and making it less complicated, while on the other, we’re attracting new ones thanks to Piombo’s work as creative director that confers us an approach to beauty across the board.”
Over the years, OVS has grown to an 8 percent market share from 2 percent. “At the end of 2020 it was 8.1 percent and now 8.4 percent, a growth registered without opening new stores due to the pandemic. So this means that what we did, was appreciated even more,” said Beraldo, underscoring that OVS’ market share for the kids’ wear reaches the double-digit figure.
The chain registers more than 15 million visitors, 4 million of which are considered loyal customers as they return to the store at least six times per year.
Listed on the Milan Stock Exchange since 2015, OVS SpA — which also includes Upim banners — operates around 1,822 stores globally and reported sales of 1.018 billion euros in 2020.
Earlier this year, OVS acquired the financially troubled Stefanel company and some related assets, including 23 stores and the collection archive, and inked a distribution deal with GAP for the Italian market.