One editor examines why it could survive even after the ’00s trend fizzles.
Dec 14, 2021
Imagine this outfit: a backless going-out top in the shape of a butterfly, worn with low-rise, slouchy jeans and accessorized with a tiny pochette. From head to toe, the whole look is denim. You’d think we’re describing something Britney Spears wore on a red carpet circa 2003, but you’re mistaken. It’s actually Look 21 from Blumarine’s Spring/Summer 2022 collection. Whether or not you lived through them the first time, the mid-’00s are back with a vengeance—and you can thank Blumarine for their return.
Of course, it would be remiss to not acknowledge TikTok‘s influence on the decade’s comeback. The app’s Gen Z audience is largely responsible for the shift away from millennial minimalism, in favor of threadbare, deliberately tacky designs. While TikTok teens and twenty-somethings have an outsized influence on pop culture, Blumarine’s clothes, bags, and belts are giving these aughts fans a vessel to revisit the past in. But how—and why—is the Italian brand making space for this bygone style niche in the luxury market, and will it work long-term?
First, a bit of history. Founded by Anna Molinari and her husband, Gianpaolo Tarabini in 1977, Blumarine named Nicola Borgnano as their new creative director in 2019, the first to replace Molinari. Brognano, 31, graduated from Milan’s Marangoni Fashion School and headed to Paris, where he assisted famed couturier Giambattista Valli. He also had his own label, Brognano, which earned him the top prize from Vogue Italia’s “Who Is On Next“—but that’s been placed on hold.
While Brognano may have been named in 2019, his first collection didn’t show until February 2021. Like all things, the pandemic put Brognano’s work on pause, but it seems like that time did him well. Instead of the sweet florals and soft, romantic pieces the brand was traditionally known for, he decided to take a different point of view: “My Blumarine is more dirty, bitchy, sexier,” the designer told Vogue of his debut.
Blumarine’s Modern Comeback
Mining inspiration from Brognano’s teen years, when he worshipped the likes of Spears and Hilton, his looks for Blumarine hit on many of the things young women wanted post-lockdown—but most of all, to be seen. With flirty dresses, strappy sandals, and fur-trimmed cardigans in rotation, it was social media catnip, made to be consumed behind a screen and worn for a world poised to reopen.
It helped that Brognano tapped Lotta Volkova, the stylist behind some of fashion’s most influential brands, to style his runway. Volkova, who worked on the likes of Vetements and Balenciaga, has an instinct to create trends rather than follow them. In her case, she went all-in on the early-’00s references, doubling down season after season in anticipation for Spring/Summer 2022. The resulting collection is an explosion of Y2K fantasies—its asymmetrical chiffon hems, oversized butterfly motifs, see-through baby tees, pastel-tinged sunglasses, and belly-baring trousers spun onlookers into a nostalgic reverie.
Where Is Blumarine Headed in 2022?
While runway and social media hype help a brand, money talks. According to Vogue Business, Lui Jo, the parent company of Blumarine, has high hopes of reaching 50 million Euro in sales in the next five years, riding off the heels of the brand’s success in Asian markets (specifically in China). And while they have yet to release their first-year sales numbers, a quick glance around shopping sites shows that merchandise is selling, with retailers like SSENSE and Farfetch nearly (and in many cases, completely) sold out of Blumarine items.
Explore editor-approved cult finds from Blumarine below.