Telfar’s gargantuan arty feast at Pitti Uomo
Usually, fashion is a small, ultra-pampered world, its gala evenings and most exclusive dinner parties the preserve of a select elite. On Thursday, in Florence, Clemens Telfar changed the rules of the game. For his show-event at Pitti Uomo, he convened the press and buyers only after the party was over. Nothing less was to be expected from the African-American designer, whose anti-fashion label Telfar defies classification.
On the evening before the show, Clemens Telfar took over Palazzo Corsini, a sumptuous baroque building on the banks of the river Arno, with his family and friends, among them designer Shayne Oliver, actor Jeremy O. Harris, DJ Total Freedom and artist Boy Child, and staged a party to end all parties. Featuring a Pantagruelian banquet and live musical performances, the feast lasted long into the night. The whole entourage was then able to grab much-needed sleep on site, on beds laid out in one of the palazzo’s salons.
The catwalk show took place the day after, in a post-party setting. There were rose petals floating in a period bathtub, and in the centre of the main hall, an improvised stage with musical instruments was encircled by a huge banqueting table. Further away, an array of unmade beds. The table functioned as runway, its long white tablecloth stained with wine, the dinner’s leftovers and dirty napkins heaped up all over the place. Scraps and empty bottles were scattered here and there, and uneaten food rotted in large silver plates.
The models zigzagged through the debris and the candelabra, whose candles had long since stopped burning. Some of the models were teetering, worn out by the night's revels. Others tried a few dance steps, or joined the musicians on their little stage, accompanying them with superb voices. They were all clad in Telfar’s latest creations from the Fall/Winter 2020-21 collection, notably inspired by quattrocento Tuscan art.
The collection has “a romantic touch,” said Clemens Telfar backstage. Alongside oversize denim ensembles and scores of cable-knit pieces, from knitted dresses to ample logo-ed pullovers and sweaters, Telfar broke new ground with striped trousers tied above the knee like 17th century culottes, pussy-bowed cotton tops, flared disco leggings in cable-knit wool or with down jacket-style hems, gathered and hemstitched tops, and tunics embellished with medieval-style lace collars.
Among the most interesting items, scores of street-style outfits in hybridised versions: a down-jacket/sweatshirt, a leather biker jacket whose upper part is made of thick knitted wool, and trousers made in three segments of different materials: denim, wool and leather. Lightweight nylon is also ubiquitous, used for trousers and jackets that are gathered up and tucked in with drawstrings to create unexpected volumes. The overcoats look like inflated armour. Telfar knows how to please, and also featured ultra-attractive items like the maxi leather boots and a plethora of models much more commercial than usual.
Clemens Telfar travelled to Tuscany with his team right after the show he staged in Paris at the La Cigale theatre last September. “We came straight to the factories, and spent four months here! The fabrics we use are velvet, leather and cable-knit wool, all of them Italian,” enthused the New York-based designer, super happy for having treated himself to this “Tuscan dream.”
Telfar is distributed by Slam Jam and has 80 multibrand clients worldwide. Its main market is Europe, followed by Asia and the USA.
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