Divya Bala introduces the first Australian label to show on-schedule at Milan Fashion Week
The night before Melbourne-based label Strateas Carlucci's first Milan Fashion Week show, Mario-Luca Carlucci, one half of the design duo behind the brand, steps out of a whirlwind of pre-presentation prep to chat controversy and breaking gender codes.
Carlucci is, understandably, a little frazzled. Running on pure adrenaline, (the guys touched down in Milan only nights before and have been working almost non-stop since), the Strateas Carlucci team are also running off the back of a three-year, gold run of accolades, awards and appointments on the most prestigious Fashion Week schedules in the world.
Founded 2013 by Peter Strateas and Mario-Luca Carlucci, the brand has built up a heaving awards cabinet including the likes of the International Woolmark Prize 2014, the Prix de Marie Claire Award 2015 and the Australian Fashion Laureate Awards 2015, having achieved, at light speed, what few brands manage to do in a lifespan.
"The whole experience has been pretty surreal," explains Carlucci. "It's been a bit of a whirlwind since we launched but being asked by Paris Fashion Week to show officially on schedule and being invited by Milan Fashion Week is pretty amazing for us so we're really happy with the trajectory of the brand."
With a strong, signature aesthetic of blurred gender codes and broody, sculptural styles produced season after season, it's clear to see why the collections find favour with fashion's most discerning. A mix of clever tailoring and strong construction are balanced with softer, street-wise sportswear looks, often realised in drawn out, elongated shapes and long, avant-garde lines.
The starting point of the Spring Summer 2017 collection showing at Milan was the 2009 Ondi Timoner-directed documentary, We Live In Public; a study of internet entrepreneur Josh Harris' experiment concerning our relationship with technology, Big Brother and the way we broadcast our own lives.
"We looked at control and power and how a garment controls the wearer - how they wear you rather than you wearing them," suggests Carlucci. "So they are made in a way that restrict you in a certain way with clever little details. We expose details and seams, making things reversible and inside out - hidden veils, double sleeve details, ruching and gathering; it's all about control and volume and release."
In the wake of their first Milan show, following accolades from Vogue Italia's Franca Sozzani and support from the likes of Cate Blanchett, what new heights will the duo look towards? "We've been really fortunate to have had a good response to the collection and we hope it just keeps getting better and better from here," Carlucci chastens. "I mean, we've still got a long way to go - but not complaining!"
Click through the gallery above for an exclusive first look at the S/S '17 campaign, as well as highlights from the Milan Men's Fashion Week show.