County of Milan F/W 2016

When chanting is not enough

The name Marcelo generally recalls the jaded journalist played with brilliance by signor Mastroianni in Fellini’s La Dolce Vita. In fashion circles these days, it stands for Marcelo Burlon, a man of many trades. Party organizer, DJ, wannabe designer and for the show for his brand County of Milan, shaman.

Burlon introduced with a well-articulated invocation to the Gods of Air, Water, Fire and Earth. Declared with evident feeling in Spanish, the Argentine asked for guidance and “permission to work without interference.”

Pattern overkill County of Milan
Pattern overkill

County of Milan began as a T-Shirt collection but has grown into a successful brand as evidenced by the large number of retailers sitting front-row in a crowded south Milan club.

Burlon knows how to stage a decent show, with a raw rock’n roll casting of various ages appearing in funky bombers, padded coats, ragged camouflage pants and T-Shirts – many finished with heavy graphic patterns – and all apparently inspired by the hippie culture of his hometown of El Bolson.

Camouflage pants and bright bomber jackets County of Milan
Camouflage pants and bright bomber jackets were much seen on the runway

The clothes were highly imitative – with elements of ideas culled from many creators: Raf, Yohji and Riccardo all sprung to mind. And, overall, all rather crude and clumsy. County of Milan certainly has a following. But just as selling millions of books does not turn any of the novels of Jackie Collins or Barbara Cartland into literature, so does building a money-making brand not mean that Marcelo Burlon is a bona fide designer.