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Make a trip to Artissima, the Turin-based contemporary art fair, and you’ll probably spot a woman wearing a piece from Arthur Arbesser, who’s known for his arty take on fashion.

Over the years, the designer has carved out a niche of customers that include art dealers and opera enthusiasts alike, so when last summer he found a painter’s palette covered in zingy brushstrokes and a harlequin felt doll in a Milan flea market, something clicked.

Conjuring an arty vibe without looking costume-y, Arbesser managed to translate the colorful brushstrokes and the signature colorful checkered pattern of Harlequin into cool prints and intarsia works. He offered a lineup of laid-back pieces intended for indoor use, as in the pajama options or cozy knits in fluffy mohair with geometric patterns nodding to the work of British artist Joe Tilson.

Arthur Arbesser RTW Fall 2021

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There was a slight 1960s vibe in the miniskirt paired with crewnecks and in a sheath patchwork dress crafted from fabric scraps from past seasons. As an independent and self-financed designer, Arbesser is mindful about the waste of materials so he repurposed a fall 2018 striped jersey, hand-printing a nocturnal floral motif on top of it for fluid shirts for both genders, while a spring 2019 silk fabric was printed inside out for a pleated skirt paired with a knitted crop top.

Arbesser is designing costumes for “The Barber of Seville” to be staged at the city theater in Reggio Emilia, Italy and for a contemporary dance piece bowing at the Munich State Opera of Bavaria, but he’s not stepping back from fashion. “I always want to keep writing my fashion story and that means that we have to do a collection, even small and tight, every six months no matter what. It’s a deal I made with myself,” Arbesser said.

With his joyful and charming fall lineup, he proved that fashion can provide as much excitement as a theater piece.

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