The week here concluded with a different sort of lifting, as the models at the delightful Fendi show grabbed luggage off a baggage carousel specially constructed for a witty set resembling an airport arrivals hall.
Like others in Milan, the designer Silvia Venturini Fendi seemed mentally to be straddling two zones, both looking back at the storied heritage of her family company — founded in the 1920s in Rome to sell umbrellas and luggage — for design elements as traditional as a parasol hat and forward to futuristic technology that allows her now to create fur and rubber garments bonded with no need for stitching.
The past is the future, Ms. Fendi said backstage before the show. And, just as it is undoubtedly true that in few other places besides Italy do successive eras remain in such active dialogue, in few other pursuits outside fashion is temporality so intrinsic to the creative process.
Consider Rocco Iannone’s debut show for Pal Zileri, a respectable midrange Italian label acquired some years back by Mayhoola for Investments with the intention of making it a player on a par with the other companies (Balmain, Valentino) run by an investment arm of the royal family of Qatar. After the departure last year of Mauro Ravizza Krieger, the creative director of Pal Zileri, Mayhoola recruited Mr. Iannone, 33, from the ranks of Giorgio Armani’s design team, where he had worked for the last decade, most recently as senior men’s wear designer.
What he brought to his new job, along with the design chops evident in the exquisitely tailored coats he showed, was a sense, as some press notes made clear, of the “cyclical nature of history” in fashion and just about everything else.
Perhaps the ecclesiastical atmospherics Mr. Iannone conjured up were a mite lugubrious for a debut. Velvet drapes and kneeling pillows, shafts of white hyacinth and censers wafting clouds of heady frankincense felt like a lot to absorb on a Monday morning.
Yet, for all that, a bit of unintentional leavening did occur.
Placed on each cushioned seat at the show was a pack of cards depicting portraits of male ancients, each associated with some trait characteristic of a true gentleman. It could be that something was lost in translating to English the Italian legends accompanying cards for Precision, Kindness, Gravitas and other traits. Or else this observer had not drunk enough coffee that day.
“Ci Sono, dunque” (“I am here, therefore I am”), read one card marked Awareness. On another, signifying Nonchalance, were printed the words “Mi dimentico, mentre lo faccio,” which was translated as “I forget about it while I’m doing it.” Come to think of it, that one did make a certain kind of sense. Sometimes I forget about it while I’m doing it, too.