Costume National Spring/Summer 2016 Milan

A trim and fit looking Ennio Capasa was in fine form backstage before his Costume National show on Saturday. The designer, who referenced his own past collections as well as images of Daft Punk, an astronaut, and Elvis Presley in a Native American headdress, talked about wanting to continue to create a strong identity for his brand by reinforcing its already well-established codes, while at the same time bringing new experimental textiles into the mix.

He called the collection “Fusion,” which incidentally was also the title of the Emporio Armani show that had just proceeded his, and on the catwalk that blending concept was starkly evident. Biker bonded with Native American finishings. Rock and Roll teamed up with tailored suiting. And the ostensibly sexy designs were given just a whiff of S&M.

For those unfamiliar with the Costume National world, the similarities to the work currently being done by Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent surely came to mind. But Capasa was mining that 70s rebellious, rock and roll quarry long before Slimane made his first explorative dig.

The problem is that when a designer begins to reference his own work so closely, he risks moving from simply alluding to it, to replicating it.

It was a shame that a bomber Capasa constructed out of silver reflective material, originally intended for emergency blankets, only showed up in the final look. It was a great piece and the fabric could have been injected into other designs in this collection to give it a bit more dynamism. Ditto to an abstract urban animal print that the designer used on exit number six. It, too, could have been excavated further.

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Perhaps it is time for Capasa to find a new fashion vein to supplement those that he has already excavated so well.

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