FLORENCE--The coolest thing about Pitti--thus far, at least--is that every designer staging a runway show has hosted a press preview a few hours before their models start stomping. Not only is it nice to get a sneak peek at what's to come, but it's particularly useful to be able to chat with the designer beforehand--aiming for a backstage interview after the event is never fun, so this gives journos a chance to ask real questions in a less stressful situation.
Roman designer Fabio Quaranta opened the Cango Cantieri Goldonetta to us yesterday afternoon. By the time we got there, the space had already been lined in real grass (Hermes did this at a show a few years ago--it truly makes for a more sensory experience). He presented four models, each wearing signature pieces from the collection: a long, low-slung wool kilt, two classic suits, and a suit with a cropped blazer and trouser with elastic at the ankles. While Quaranta used traditional fabrics--sourced from a 500-year-old mill in Northern Italy--his interpretations of these styles were anything but.
One of the most notable differences: The trousers were all zipper-less and fly-less (so as to be as comfortable as sweatpants but as formal as a pant) and the lining of the suits was rumpled. "Lining is supposed to make a suit look smooth, but he likes the look of movement underneath," Quaranta's interpreter told us. And there were no buttons, anywhere. Instead, the jackets were held together by a small hook.
Continuing the trend of "real models," Quaranta used models of all ages, heights, and sizes (we saw more than one paunch last night). Even his model models were unconventional, sporting straggly beards and dozens of tattoos. While some looked uncomfortable, it was generally a successful experiment. Most definitely a refreshing change from the Ken dolls we're used to seeing.
At the show, experimental band Current 93 performed (Quaranta says their album Aleph at Hallucinatory Mountain inspired the collection.) Band member David Tibet, who is also a visual artist, contributed to the collection with drawings on a few of the t-shirts.
These details resulted in a hobo-chic look that--especially on the model models--was, frankly, pretty hot. We could see someone like Johnny Depp pulling this off with aplomb. However, a less-fit gentleman might play the part a bit too well.