Let's face it: It's been a while — for some, maybe never — since you've thought about Blumarine. The Italian fashion brand was a part of Milan Fashion Week, yes, but its ultra-feminine, earnestly kitschy collections were rarely reviewed or made trend roundups. It seemed like the label — which was founded in 1977 by Anna Molinari and her late husband Gianpaolo Tarabini, and mostly known for its tiny slip dresses and midriff-baring cardigans in the ‘90s and ‘00s — had been on the brink of irrelevancy for decades.
Today, they're one of the most-discussed brands on TikTok. What happened?
See Blumarine’s fall ‘21 collection, and you’ll understand why. Designed by Nicola Brognano, the former design assistant of Giambattista Valli who took the helm as creative director in 2019, Blumarine has translated its pop-feminine vibe into something much cooler. It’s as if Brognano found a way to integrate every Gen Z fashion trend into a 47-look collection that also doesn't betray Blumarine's DNA. Low-rise bell-bottoms in striking prints were paired with silk scarf tops; butterfly motifs akin to Christina Aguilera’s (and, more recently, Dua Lipa’s) Versace Grammys dress were ubiquitous; matching skirt-sweater sets featured faux fur collars and were worn with matching fur hoops and handbags; and newsboy caps à la Paris Hilton: The Simple Life years appeared in bold shades of pink and red.
Brognano confirmed to Vogue that he took inspiration from the early ‘00s, specifically the style of Hilton and Britney Spears, for the collection. Given that skinny jeans are waning in popularity — it’s all about '00s-era baggy jeans for the youngest generation — and tiny tops, bags, and skirts are in, his choice of muses was a smart one.
Not long after the brand’s fall ‘21 runway show in February, reviews of the collection began popping up on TikTok. Next, girl group HAIM posted a video that compared what they wore to their 1999 roller skating bat mitzvah to what they wish they wore: Blumarine. More accounts shared reactions, likening the fall ‘21 collection to something out of an episode of Lizzie McGuire, and wondered why they’d been sleeping on the brand.
One of the key moves that Brognano made was enlisting noted stylist Lotta Volkova, who has worked on every campaign and runway show since 2019. Her unmatched edge and effortless cool work at Vetements and Balenciaga have influenced some of today’s biggest styling trends. (She's also behind the wildly popular àpres-ski-inspired fall ‘21 line from Miu Miu.)
But even with a fresh designer, a seasoned stylist, and TikTok on its side, it’s unclear whether Blumarine will succeed beyond social media; that is, if people will actually buy it. Gen Z would be all over a pair of split-leg, gemstone-encrusted, baby pink jeans, but would they pay $475 (£340) for them? One thing about the second coming of Blumarine, though, is a sure thing: It is solidifying the return of early aughts trends that the brand was once known for. Anti-low-risers, beware: Thanks to Blumarine, the infamous silhouette — along with butterfly motifs, fur shrugs, and micro-minis — is gearing for a fashion comeback.