Way before Dua Lipa invited everybody to “dance the night away” on her feel-good hit and wrapped herself in glitzy pastel looks, Italo disco music had people’s hips moving and their groove going on dance floors in the ‘80s.
So when the GCDS show opened on the music and flirty lyrics of “Una notte da impazzire” by Pino D’Angiò, one of the genre’s exponents, a buoyant vibe and a hint of patriotism filled the intimate venue at the brand’s headquarters.
The soundtrack hit a familiar and nostalgic chord that fit with the mood of Giuliano Calza, who looked at Naples, his hometown, for inspiration for spring 2024. After outlandish detours into the extraterrestrial via alien mascots and into the ocean’s depths with SpongeBob SquarePants references, Calza served up a homecoming experience that translated into a more grown-up direction and a fresh take on his brand’s codes.
Bold colors led to pale yellow and baby blue tones, nodding to the tiles seen across towns in Costiera Amalfitana; leather pieces had a wooden effect to evoke the “hideous furniture” in grandmothers’ houses, while accessories in wicker or raffia referenced the handwoven chairs in Naples’ alleys. Cartoonish embellishments matured into a GCDS monogram on denim, while silhouettes waved ciao ciao to the more streetwear-inspired oversized and baggy proportions in favor of elongated lines or teeny crop tops that lent a slender look to Calza’s tribe.
A tailored look stood out for its polished vibe that hinted to the Neapolitan sartorial tradition but made it contemporary through a relaxed attitude. Nods to the ‘80s surfaced via shoulder pads under body-hugging knit frocks as well in a series of striped polos with asymmetric zippers that best embodied Calza’s approach to the past: pop rather than romantic. That was the key that enabled him not to fall into postcard-like clichés of Italy but stay true to its upbeat take on fashion.
This was detectable in piercing details on the collars or the eccentric accessories, like old rotary telephone-shaped bags. In all their silver textured glory, the three final looks were the most glamorous pieces and the designer’s most elevated proposition. Yet his cheekiness was still there — the closing gown looked grand gala on the front, and after-after party on the back as a deep cut-out revealed a lingerie bodysuit and more.
Calza might be growing up, but he still wants to have fun.