THE SHADOWS OF THE OCEAN
A creative spark, lit by impressive intuition, brings Romeo Gigli’s FW_21-22 collection to life: the spectacular atmosphere of the ocean in winter, draped in a soft mist that cloaks the sensations, where the shades and colors of the Nordic seas offer up a landscape of the soul and form the backdrop to a vast array of emotions. Alessandro De Benedetti weaves his personal story around that initial spark: his creations narrate the dreamlike expectations of a woman in love with a sailor. He imagines her waiting, staring longingly out to sea, and wraps her exquisite melancholy in the comforting warmth of the clothes her lover left behind before going to sea.
The image of the sailor is inspired by the iconic, cult figure, of Corto Maltese, while Romeo Gigli’s historic oriental influences are transported to the rugged Scottish coastlines, ably combining the periods so dear to Gigli; the refinement of the late 19th century, the sophistication of the 1940s and the sensuality of the 1970s, to create looks that are sheer poetry. In keeping with tradition, each garment is a masterpiece of sartorial excellence and craftsmanship and has its own name: this because each creation has its own character and specific role in the narration, represented by the precious materials that animate the collection.
The romantic tale is presented through a range of outerwear infused with echoes of masculinity, from the purest Biella yarns and Prince of Wales checks to the tiny, sophisticated Scottish tartans: important, double-face, reversible and decomposable, embellished with the distinctive elements of graceful selvedges. In “L’Abbandono”, our heroine envelopes herself nostalgically in the lightweight warmth of her lover’s oversize cashmere coat, wrapping it around her like a cloak. This theme continues in the splendid lavender ice shades of the “Corriere di Instanbul” and also in “Gibraltar”, where the cloak, in shades of melted toffee and ocher, lengthens to take the form of a sailor’s blanket. In “Giacca da Camera” De Benedetti blends melancholy with surprise in the thirties-style tartan blazer, that has the shape of a sports jacket, while its reverse reveals the elegant soul of an officer’s dress uniform. The cape returns in “Ratched in Scozia”, in which De Benedetti plays dual homage to the elegant star of the famous TV series and to Scotland itself, with the flashes of green and a jacket, inspired by the traditional Argyle jacket worn by bagpipe players, and kilt, with its bright green inserts peeping out from blue pleats.
The fluidity and softness of the fabrics weave a tale of expectation and longing: triple-washed georgette, trimmed with small chiffon hydrangeas, the tundra which, with textured sculpted gauze, creates the retro allure of honeycomb necklines and ruches, shaping the sartorial delicacy of the feminine garments and their stunning back-detail, thanks to drawstrings, ruching and grosgrain ribbons that dissolve the evening dress in ample, weightless garments. In “Nido di Polvere”, which cradles her in her sleep, wrapped around her neck with a large ribbon, caressing her with the memory of her lover, and the austerity of “La Maestra”, where her emotions are kept in check, or locked away in the clean, bias cuts and the rich, 19th-century sleeves and candor of “La Solitudine”, whose pure white, constructed collar resembles that of a nun in a small convent along the coast, the same nun to whom the woman offers her prayers while wearing “Tutti i Colori del Mare”, with the scarf wrapped around her head like a hood and the splendid blue cloak of a Byzantine Madonna.
Maison Romeo Gigli’s artistic styling, revered, revisited, renewed, thanks to its timeless references. Rich with experience and the craftsmanship of knots, Alessandro De Benedetti’s garments take their inspiration from an archive of historical wonders, celebrating them in three different styles of shirt. In “Anna Livingstone”, we see a shirt paired with the thirties-style sailor-pant, shaped by the softness of triple enzymatic organza, which caresses the body, in a wash of ruby-colored waves. Even the micro gilet, “Hugo”, comes from the archives. Protected by a neon orange trench, combined with culottes which, together with the hats, mean the style of the FW_2021-22 collection is adapted to everyday wear, while maintaining the precious refinement of a dream. A winter dream.
CREATIVE DIRECTOR ALESSANDRO DE BENEDETTI
PHOTOGRAPHER ALESSANDRO ESPOSITO
STYLIST DONATELLA PIA
All images courtesy of Romeo Gigli