A significant crowd thickened slowly as photographers, buyers, fashion editors and fashion hawkers waited impatiently outside Palazzo Turati for the Cristiano Burani show. The biggest challenge was the very short sidewalk and the imposing doors firmly blocked by sentry guards in black suits and iPad clipboards.
Palazzo Turati is a 19th century palace commissioned by the family of Count Turati. It’s external structure has a full, linear facade, embellished with decorations evoking Florentine and Roman models. It’s location near downtown Milan meant the road it sat on was very busy. And unfortunately the distance between the pedestrian sidewalk and the Milan streets were very narrow. I felt I was constantly in danger of being run over by an Italian tram.
After getting past the guards I passed through the Palazzo doors into a sizable courtyard. The internal part of Palazzo Turati, damaged in WWII and renovated by Paolo Mezzanotte in 1929, had the appearance of a colonnade walkway, a gigantic square within a square outlined with a continuous row of evenly spaced columns supported by an entablature, a roof, and an interlocking series of arches. In the center of this square-shaped catwalk was an open-air courtyard in a traditional Milan design.
Guests were seated all along the far inner wall of the colonnade, meaning we all had a front row seat. As we waited for the show to start waiters walked around handing out warm saki. It was our first clue of what to expect from the collection. Lights suspended surreptitiously from Roman columns began to flicker signalling the start of the show, then music sounded full blast and the first model began her walk inside the colonnade.
Cristiano Burani fall/ winter 2019-20 was a series of Japanese inspired clothing such as Kimono-style dresses and suiting cinched with obi belts and samurai-style robes and drop-crotch trousers.
In true Cristiano Burani fashion the designer played with the materials creating hand-made treatments such as special dyes and embroideries typically reserved for haute coutre. Labeled as ‘Tokyo winter colors’, the garments dying process created irregular shades in abstract and three dimensional patterns.
Autumn colors typically found in a Japanese garden inspired Burani’s color palette, primarily in black and white, gray, red-orange, pink and acid yellow. The warm tones made their way onto cashmere coats, alpaca jackets, and trench coats.
The handmade alpaca knitwear with maxi braids and irregular stitches were combined with unwashed and embossed denim.
Silver fox, natural white and dyed mink was hand embroidered with floating threads onto kimonos and over-sized shoulder bags. For the pelliccia Cristiano Burani partnered with Saga Furs. The fur company is highly regarded for their animal welfare standards, which they state are fully sustainable and traceable. All of the garments were ‘made in Italy’ by local Italian artisans.
This is a stand-out collection for Cristiano Burani, but it is not a surprise. The past few seasons the designer has led in innovation and design techniques, and he is highly regarded for the careful construction of his garments.
Burani is not afraid to be provocative or to find new inspiration for his clothes. His designs are for the person that likes to make a statement and stand out from the crowd. Someone who cares about the look but also how the look was made.