Pitti: Stefano Pilati triumphs in Florence
There were plenty of things to do in Florence on Thursday evening; listen to Italian TV decipher the errors of La Meghan and Il Principe Harry, or dine in one of the city's great restaurants.
But, smart folks all headed to a wrecked old railway station, to witness the latest apparition of Stefano Pilati, the greatest designer in exile in fashion.
Gathered, standing inside the barely restored Stazione Leopolda, they were fortunate to witness an outstanding show and collection by one of contemporary fashion's greatest talents.
A meeting of Italian tailoring and dark Berlin romanticism with a soupçon of French panache, worn by a devilishly transgressive cast.
The sheer fluidity of the tailoring, the bravura proportions and the super nonchalant silhouettes, all combined to make a great fashion statement.
Above all, Pilati managed to reimagine classics like Saint Laurent-style trousers suits – cutting them with flared pants, miniaturizing the jackets and finished with military cummerbunds. And, he reinvented with parachute pants, with flawlessly billowing silk or satin trousers, worn over platform boots.
The whole ensemble managed to be poised, yet politely perverse. Plus, the cool detailing; from the skinny silver pocket chains, to the great checkered knit scarves, was perfect.
Guests entered into a giant room, with an enormous central rectangle illuminated by red lights. A cellist – already the instrument of the season at Pitti – playing mordant chords. Out of the distant background marched the cast, a blend of little and large, preteen kids, voluptuous ladies and two-meter tall skinny youths. Most of them sexually ambiguous.
The show marked the first proper runway outing of Pilati since he exited Ermenegildo Zegna in 2016. That came after a seven-year stint in Paris at Yves Saint Laurent.
Since then, he has lived in Berlin, and largely retreated from the fashion world. His re-entry was certainly novel; he launched the news of the collection on Instagram, 17 looks back in 2017.
Though, curiously, Pilati insisted it was not really a collection at all, which we had just seen in Florence.
"It is a constant evolution, a series of products and ideas. Not a collection in a canonical way. That is not how I work now," said Pilati.
"I try to be relevant. Fashion for me has never died. But, maybe the way of doing it did, in a saturated market. We keep creating new brand identities that in the end reveal themselves to be sterile. So, I wanted an intimate show, where 70 percent of the cast are my friends," he concluded.
Pilati even modeled in his own show, taking the final passage in a natty camel hair coat.
No wonder he named this show in Florence, 'Random Identities'. Yet, there was nothing random about these clothes – poetic, punchy and powerful.
And a great example of Pitti, at its best.
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