Chances are that the Italian word “Malafemmina” will never appear on Duolingo, but it would have come in handy for foreigners attending the Marco Rambaldi show to understand why the designer titled his spring 2024 collection after it.
In Italian dialect, the term refers to a woman of ill repute, fickle in love, or simply a prostitute. “We decided to give a positive connotation to a term typically originated as derogatory towards women and their freedom [and used] by men who essentially fear them,” said the designer backstage. Ultimately, what Rambaldi wanted to stage was “a great bacchanal in which our women and queer cast can be free to be who they want to be.”
In the language of fashion, this translated into a further step in the exploration of a more sensual side of his aesthetic, a process that the designer started last season.
His beloved knitting techniques were profusely deployed to craft seductive cutout silhouettes with the ever-present heart motif, reminding one of Rambaldi’s romantic roots, as well as asymmetric skirts and barely-there tops hanging from one shoulder.
The designer’s signature crochet was seen on corsetry-inspired or heart-shaped bodices in deadstock leather, which in some cases came with crisscross details or chains and fringes for an extra swish as models advanced barefoot with their shoes in hand.
Rather than evoking walks of shame, the styling choice and the characters’ slow pace and confident strut amplified the feeling of empowerment Rambaldi intended to deliver. Further delving into the lingerie-inspired narrative, the designer added liquid slipdresses — also worn as long skirts mimicking an undressed effect — satin mini frocks and transparencies that made for a simple yet compelling counterpoint to his most textural pieces.
Adding to this mix, Rambaldi relied on a little help from AI to develop a range of mythological prints splashed on pajama-like shirts and boxers, and sprinkled a dash of sparkle with bralettes, pencil skirts and denim pants covered in thermo-adhesive crystals.