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Designer, Milan

Dorian Malibu’s dark take on gothic streetwear is propelling underground Italian fashion back to the top spot.

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Once you learn that Milan-based Dorian hails from a background in music, the touches of club-kid glamour that sparkle across his clothing line M1992 make a lot of sense. Designing clothes for going out in, the comfort of classic sportswear pieces meets extreme crops, diamante and fetish detailing. Dorian cites an interest in subcultures such as “Mod, Goth, Victorian, New Romantic and Rave” as early inspiration. “Through the years, this lethal mix has been the inspiration behind my visual aesthetic and my consciousness.” He explains how it pushed him to “experiment with various forms of expression, eventually converging in M1992”.

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After his first runway show in 2017 was reviewed glowingly by Vogue and with a troop of supporters including Donatella Versace in tow (one of his proudest moments so far has been DJing for her) Dorian is firmly focussed on his next collection. “Right now I’m completely mesmerised by the financial world of the 80s” he tells me, “from Wall Street to the Yuppies to the Italian subculture of the Paninari. The fashion world of those years has birthed some of today’s most renowned street style brands.” While smart Italian streetwear perfectly fits his aesthetic, there’s no question he’ll be working in some of his super contemporary trademark gothic notes as well. It’s this unusual blending of tribes which has earned him a niche collective of global fans particularly through Instagram.

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Beyond the next collection, Dorian has appropriately big dreams for his label. Drawing on his early nightlife experience – he used to be creative director at Plastic, a very fun and refreshingly unpretentious club in Milan – he wants to transform M1992 into an “umbrella platform” that can encompass “various types of artistic projects”. It’s easy to imagine a night or even an entire space emerging from what feels very much like a movement Dorian’s spearheading from Milan. Beyond that, for 2018 his personal goal is to “communicate my vision without too many compromises and learn from the people I’ve always admired”. With a year like this behind him I doubt he’s going to struggle with either of those.