Mustafa Sabbagh photographs are everything! I want to live in the stories being told by his lens, and revel in my desires that his pictures evoke.
Just like in the decoration of old altarpieces, the profane desire to see the sparkle of gold on raw materials is mixed with the signs of sacred iconography. The materials – wood, white lead, glue, gold leaf – are layered. In much the same way, with the passing of time, each day that goes by is a source of inspiration for the MILLA Collection 2012/2013.
Designer Milena Altini cut strips of material from a burial urn covered in red leather, and multiplies its parts as if she were imagining the opening of a chrysanthemum, the symbol of the life-death-life cycle and born, according to an ancient Japanese legend, from the cutting of a flower with only five petals, the number of days a young woman had left to live. The resulting image is the expression of the desire to give the gift of life through the passing of days. The collection has approximately 25 items, including jackets, dresses, knitwear, bags and jewellery, all made with leather and natural materials, untreated and entirely handmade.
Calf and lambskin are made to look empty or full on the moving body with the help of fringes, added as extensions and, possibly, connections between individuals, and with mesh patterns that, just like the Web, collect but don’t trap. Every time some leather is removed to make cut-outs, it is then re-used to create fringes. Perforated and stitched leather gathers around the waist, on the shoulders or around the neck, while leather cuts that would normally be thrown away are used to create sculpted shapes on jackets or to add details on dresses and bags, lending the item a certain degree of autonomy from the body that interprets it.
Jackets, skirts and capes adapt to the way they are used, but preserve one feature: their performativity and a certain taste for cross-dressing that goes beyond male and female gender distinctions. Just like the skin of an animal, the human skin and the passing of days accumulating like the layers of raw materials communicate the natural expressive and formal metamorphosis of things. A few, unique and original items – some of them produced in limited numbers, entirely handmade, where leather and metal are centre-stage. The decision to produce only a few items originates from the designer’s desire to avoid giving too many inputs, in order to leave room for imagination and to suggest a new interpretation of the same garment for each season.
A no-season collection does not follow trends, but focuses on a cultural study of form and of the needs imposed by temperature and territorial origin. The collection is topped off with boiled wool, natural undyed alpaca wool and light silk knitwear, and small accessories: necklaces with a metal and silver core and leather details; stitched gladiator cuffs treated with vegetable dyes; belts held in place by bent nails that boldly display the identity of the MILLA brand.