In Milan, at Sunnei’s fall 2023 show, there was a standing-room-only crowd, which made the scene look like a concert, except with a catwalk instead of a stage and editors in full looks instead of fans in band tees. Models walked the runway like rock stars, spinning around at the end of the platform to trust-fall into a pit of strangers and crowd-surf across the room.
The show went instantly viral, as anyone would have expected, since it’s probably the only time in fashion history where models fell on purpose and not because their platforms were too tall. The best part, though, is the photos, captured not by photographers at the end of the stage but a camera placed above the mosh pit by designers Loris Messina and Simone Rizzo. (The models weren’t professionals, just members of their team.)
They’re some of the best “runway” photos I’ve seen, with models fully sprawled out, arms and legs extended, covered in patchwork denim, crocheted fake fur, and colorful lace-up combat boots. The images manage to convey something not normally visible in these kinds of photos: the energy in the room. The models themselves are barely the focal point. Zooming in to study the faces of the crowd is somehow more engrossing. Some people are clutching their phones; others are clutching at the clothing. There are arms crossed, fingers intertwined, and show notes waved in the air. It looks joyful and energetic; you can practically hear people’s cheers through the screen.
This season, there’s been a lot of talk about wearability and wardrobe. Designers really seem to be designing for real life. But instead of making people wonder what’s possible when you wear Sunnei, Rizzo and Messina invited everyone right into their world.
The small Italian label has become popular for its quirky textured pieces, like bold maxi dresses with prints mimicking chess boards, and sunnei/ssense-exclusive-silver-and-pink-small-rubberized-earrings/10164701″ data-ylk=”slk:rubberized earrings;elm:context_link;itc:0″ class=”link “>rubberized earrings that appear to have been dipped in a vat of fresh paint. Even its e-commerce photos have major personality—something you don’t hear very often—with models standing in head-to-toe Sunnei while taking selfies (and those selfies included alongside other product imagery).
So yes, Sunnei makes the type of clothing you would wear for a night of dancing to live music and maybe threatening to mosh or crowd-surf after a couple of beers. This latest show was a reminder that fashion looks best when it’s made not just for simply living, but for feeling the euphoria of being alive in a crowded room while wearing a really great look.
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