Fashion exhibition

Pitti Uomo 82: Stone Island – 30th Anniversary Exhibition

The series of evening events for the 82nd edition of Pitti Uomo began on June 19th with the opening of the retrospective exhibition dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the Stone Island brand, held at the Stazione Leopolda and curated by Simon Foxton and Nick Griffiths. The Emilian company specialized in outerwear and knitwear, has always been one of the main Italian fashion houses who did research and experimentation on high tech fabrics, offering cutting-edge models.

The exhibition itinerary is divided into 10 sections, starting from the imposing vertical entrance with an army of mannequins wearing the Pure Metal Shell – Silver parka, made of stainless steel and exhibited in 2000 at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. The noise in the background, are the cries of joy from Marco Tardelli, when Italy became football World Champion in 1982, the same year of birth of Stone Island.
The first section is dedicated to the Coatings, Treatments and Dyeing Techniques with a hundred items from the archive, which are standing as Greek-Roman herms, to show the great wealth of experience and know-how of Stone Island. At the center of the hall, a small dark and rounded room has been dedicated to the Reflective Jacket series, jackets made with reflective material, produced since 1991.

The Chromatic room shows the dyeing techniques with the entire transformation of the raw textile into finished fabric, but the near Steam Room is the real treasure of the exhibition set. An all-white gallery, full of steam, in which you can not distinguish objects at even half a meter away. It is the simulation of what happens in the dyeing process to over 130°C. In this phase, in fact the items are boiled under pressure and according to the materials they are made, they may
shrink up to more than 50%. It is interesting to note the difference between the pre and post treatment items: big white jackets with a minimalist cut in raw fabric are transformed into colorful short refined jackets
The way continues in the small Stone Island Shadow room, with carbon clothing textures used for the urban sportswear. A dozen dresses with a film in the background where Stone Island models are posing in the near New Opera House of Florence. It seems like a window open on a night landscape.
The Meshes section is another interesting part of the installation, a circular pavilion consisting of transparent threads to celebrate the creations in continuous nylon filament. The Serie100 is the most important piece, an experimental project when Stone Island began the studies and research on monofilament materials. The knitwear and skirts worn by the 3D printed nylon sculpture, look like a futuristic kind of impalpable crystallized silk, with interesting transparency effects that have nothing to envy to natural fibers. Not surprisingly, the next section is dedicated to the best examples of Knit Research.

Down the great hall there is the Paper Room, a large open space whith the roof made of TNT(nonwoven fabric) clouds, thin as paper, but very resistant. The set has been designed precisely to evoke the lightness of the items on display, that seem to float in the air.

Walking up to the end of the exhibition there are the Special Projects room and the Thermosensitive Room. In the first one there are special jackets, such as the Hand Painted Camouflage, painted entirely by hand; and the Pure Metal Shell Bronze, a parka made of bronze mesh with a waterproof treatment, shielding from electromagnetic radiation. The fabric of this garment is called “living fabric” and, as all the metallic materials used in their natural state, is intended to oxidize losing lucidity. The Thermosensitive Room instead celebrates all the experiments carried out in the field of thermal fabrics. There are jackets able to assume different shades of color, basing on the amount of the heat induced.
The exhibition ends with a large room designed as a container for emotions, feelings and inspirations, with a film including ad campaigns, editorials and interviews with the protagonists of the Stone Island brand as Carlo Rivetti.
Talking with Francesca, press agent of the company, it was interesting to know how this great brand is the fruit of the passion of the Rivetti family and of the commitment of all the employees who have worked with them in these 30 years. Because of the recent earthquake in Emilia (Stone Island headquarters are in Ravarino, in the province of
Modena) the ceilings of the warehouses in which the archive is stored, have completely collapsed and the exhibition could have been canceled. The strength of will of the employees, and of the whole group, have made possible the recovery of the items from the rubble. This can be considered as another proof of the strength and passion of the Emilians, in this specific case of this large family called Stone Island.

I would also add a brief comment of praise for the set design, which I found very good from the organizational point of view, aiming to involve the viewer with interesting passages and sensory experiences. Looking at all the kind of researches and the studies on fabrics, it will be impossible to leave the exhibition without desiring a Stone Island parka, even for those who prefer a more formal style.

Finally, to crown the anniversary, could not miss the celebrating volume containing all the archive images and items on display. For those who personally know the Rivettis, won’t be difficult to recognize in the catalogue some familiar faces among the young models wearing the key items of the Stone Island collection. This could be considered as another mark of a family tradition that carries on from generation to generation.

Italian architect into fashion. Art curator in love with books, flea markets and interior design.

4 Comments on “Pitti Uomo 82: Stone Island – 30th Anniversary Exhibition

  1. Mi sono cominciato a interessare a stone Island quest’inverno quando ho visto la liquid reflective jacket, e mi è venuta anche una fortissima voglia di conoscere tutte le lavorazioni, ricerche e tessuti del band. Fortuna che ci sei tu a soddisfare le mie curiosità, e poi devo vide che il tuo impegno, il tuo interesse in quello che scrivi sono palpabili! Bravo, chapeau!
    Ps.: maglioni con appliques azzurri e gialli? Ce l’hai la foto/un link? :-p (emoticon sbafone)
    Pps.: indovina a che brand ho pensato guardando la sfilata di Bottega Veneta? (specialmente quelle uscite in carta da zucchero)? …. Hai ragione, è una sorta di chiodo fisso, lo vedo dappertutto. Saró paranoico/schizoide?

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