Design royalty reached out to the Brit after spotting his prismatic knitwear and hand-painted fabrics on Instagram.
It was Milan via Yorkshire on the last weekend of its fashion week that young British designer Matty Bovan showed his collection on the Italian calendar for the first time, thanks to financial support from major brand Dolce & Gabbana.
Design duo Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana contacted the York-based designer after seeing his work on Instagram, offering to use their design team, access to his archive and financial backing to stage his spring/summer 2023 show in Italy.
Bovan reissued Dolce & Gabbana signatures like the corset top and distressed denim, subverting them with his prismatic knitwear and hand-painted fabrics in his biggest collection to date.
With most of the collection made in Yorkshire by local artisans, recycled sequins from Manchester-based sustainable sequins company and mirrored cone hats crafted by legendary milliner Stephen Jones driven from London to Italy, it was a show that took the best of British abroad.
“It’s a natural way for me to work,” Bovan said before the show. “I like to give clothes energy and soul. They cannot be dead [or] factory produced. They have to have life.”
But it was also about economic incentives. With the simplest fashion shows starting at around £20,000, it’s no secret that small brands like Bovan need financial help to stage something on such an impressive scale.
“It’s amazing that a company like this would give someone like me this to play with. It’s rare that someone gives you carte blanche… and it’s very important to me,” he said. “It’s been interesting for us to have a bigger reach because it’s a really different way of operating for us.”
For Dolce & Gabbana, the collaboration is mutually beneficial. This is the second time this year that he has supported a show of a growing popular brand in Milan (the first was in February with South Korean designer Miss Sooey). It forms a series of ongoing initiatives that the brand no doubt hopes will help repair its reputation following allegations of racism and homophobia, which led to prominent gay men in the fashion and music industries calling for a boycott of the brand. brand, including Elton John. . The designers, who have since apologized, were not available to comment on their collaboration with Bovan on Sunday.
The British designer says there is no agenda. “I had no doubts when they asked me, I didn’t have any problems,” he says. “D&G isn’t a brand that people would put me on, but it’s actually been a really successful combination in the way that I’ve been able to spin it.”
Bovan is one of a growing number of young British designers attracting support from established brands who, by virtue of the association, increase their cultural cachet. On Saturday, fellow Fashion East talent incubator alumni Maximilian Davis made their directorial debut at Ferragamo. Last week, French house Nina Ricci named rising star Harris Reed as creative director.
Bovan’s show came a day after Dolce & Gabbana made headlines for inviting Kim Kardashian to host her own show. The reality star mined the archives from 1987 to 2007 with a series of pieces from the brand’s cult heyday that were reissued for the occasion.