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Mykki Blanco walks (and performs) at Milan Fashion Week

Marcelo Burlon’s show sees the designer queer heavy metal iconography and invite the singer for a performance

Milan isn’t a fashion capital known for its youth or underground culture, but representing the city’s fashion-fused nightlife is Marcelo Burlon. The DJ and creative director has, over the last few years, turned his attention to design – creating a label that, if the crowds outside last night’s show were anything to go by, has garnered quite a rep in its home city. 

Yesterday’s event debuted the launch of Burlon’s SS17 collection, dubbed Sonido (that’s ‘sound’ in Spanish). A trio of drummers took to the centre of a red-light, circular room to soundtrack the march of models around them. Although united by their uniform of what can only be described as ninja goth streetwear, one model was not like the rest; American rapper Mykki Blanco paused at the end of the runway, stepping up to the mic. Blanco performed a spoken word piece before breaking energetically into song, shedding clothes and bearing the microphone stand on their shoulders as they did so.

Backstage, Burlon said the decision to invite Blanco to perform was partially in response to a recent surge of right-wing attitudes towards (and attacks on) non-binary sexuality.

“Because everything that is happening in the past few months or years, from Orlando to Mexico – it’s just crazy. So I just wanted Mykki to come out and make a statement, you know. And just stop and then break all these rules and that you’re gay, you’re straight, you’re bisexual, and we’re just human beings, and that was the thing that Mykki represents.” 

In fact, it’s not a stretch to say the collection was Burlon paying homage to a more fluid vision of gender and sexuality (he came out at the end of the show in a t-shirt that declared ‘Love is Love’). 

As for the collection itself, it tapped into the recent resurgence of heavy metal iconography, populated by the likes of Vetements and Supreme, who recently teamed up with Black Sabbath (but it was growing up under a military dictatorship in Argentina where Western rock music was banned that provided the main source of inspiration. Blackletter fonts, gothic graphics and ninja-inspired robes, with models donning pearl earrings and necklaces for an added touch.