The tolling of the bells marked the beginning of the GCDS Fall/Winter 2023 showcase, enchanted by fanatical motifs drawn from imaginary tales. Held in Milan’s grand Palazzo del Ghiaccio, extravagant ornamentation decorated the space as global pop stars – including J Balvin and Dua Lipa – flooded the room, waiting to see what co-founder Giuliano Calza would do.
Soon after, an operational sculpture of Kittho de Calza cat – made to imitate the Cheshire cat from ‘Alice in Wonderland’ – was revealed with glowing eyes and active paw movements. Sinister melodies quickly followed as the models approached the runway, stepping into their own fairy tale. Whimsical but equally shocking, each look arrived with bizarre proportions and a fictional feel. First, an aviator-inspired leather uniform was paired with a sleek tie and a trapeze-shaped bag, followed by a zip-up suit and sherpa-lined suede coats in vibrant shades of yellow. Then distressed knits were paired with distressed leather pants, which were paired with fuzzy dresses with angular shoulders and textured animal lining.
Fitted corsets were layered over asymmetrical shirts accessorized with miniature bow ties and dangling silver beads, while glittery pants reached the models’ chests to outline their delicate figures. Additionally, the leather skirts were styled with cloud-like detailing on the equally high worn hemlines, also highlighting eloquent pink tweed ensembles. Standard leather jackets were escorted alongside frayed denim shorts that revealed moss-like fabrics underneath, which graced cropped tops and jumbo-sized coats.
FW23 saw GCDS make calls on ancient bakelite telephones, transforming them into purse handles with supernatural energy. As for footwear, the brand provided a slew of unconventional creations with flat heels (if you prefer), studded loafers and metallic knee-high boots, plus other variations that replaced stilettos with jarring animal teeth.
Hypebeast caught up with Giuliano Calza, who personally introduced us to the concept for his FW23 collection.
What was your ideation process when creating the collection?
Giuliano Calza: This year I really want to bridge the gap between my perceived public persona and who I really am by creating a collection that you would keep in your closet forever. That’s what I really enjoy on a daily basis, and I think as a designer it’s more personal than just creating a collection.
How did you find inspiration for the collection? Tell me the story behind it.
GC: I decided to investigate what is very dear to me and what I really like. I didn’t look outside the home for inspiration, but literally observed what happens in my house, my cat, my books, the textures of my furniture. They are objects with great memories. I took small pieces and translated them into a collection. People who know me well enough will see small details as an homage to my life. In terms of silhouettes, I had to look to the past, especially at my parents’ house and their wardrobes.
If you could communicate something to your audience with this collection, what would it be?
GC: Your own self and your own ideas are the most powerful message when privacy becomes a luxury. Identity and personality for me is the best thing you can offer others. Ideas and design in a moment.
Take a look at GCDS’ FW23 collection in the gallery above.
Elsewhere at Milan Fashion Week, MM6 Maison Margiela FW23 recontextualizes everyday layering concepts.