With each edition of Pitti, the powers that be, grant one womenswear brand carte blanche to showcase their pre-season collection in Firenze. Summer 2012′s chosen ones were the print-tastic pairing behind Peter Pilotto (Christopher de Vos and Peter Pilotto).
Click images to enlarge.
After a visit to the city earlier in the year, the Palazzo Borghese was Christopher and Peter’s location of choice and in the heat of the Florentine summer, they invited the fashion pack to Planet Pilotto for one night only. Famous for their vivid use of print and layering to create kaleidoscopic patterned pieces, the duo successfully translated their aesthetic onto the opulent palazzo. Baroque frescoes clashed with hot-off-the-weave carpets, created especially for the occasion, covered in the designers’ signature prints and vivid colours, as pretty Pilotto’d models wandered through a venue more accustomed to blue-blooded, ball-gowned aristocrats than chattering fashionistas. As guests revelled, a focal point of Palazzo Pilotto was a giant LCD screen showing a bespoke pattern generator that responded to the evening’s soundtrack. Before proceedings got underway i-D online snatched five minutes with the boys behind it all. To infinity and beyond!
Tell us about the pattern generator…
Peter: It’s really a computer programme, which sorts out calculations. Johnny Art Directed it and some programmers figured it out.
Christopher: Basically the print is usually flat but in the video we created depth and space. It moves and constantly generates patterns, every image you see never repeats itself. So for the collection we curated it and chose a few of them to print onto the dresses. We would take a screenshot of the chosen pattern and place it into the dresses.
So the models are wearing the new cruise collection?
Christopher: Pitti invited us to present Cruise here which we usually wouldn’t make such a fuss about. It’s our second cruise so we went to New York, we presented there to the buyers and a few American press. Here in Florence it’s kind of a celebration of it. It’s more like a party and we wanted to do something amazing.
From the start of the process, was it your dream to walk into a space like this…
Peter: It was really a collaboration. We all kept on talking about how we wanted it to be…
Christopher: We worked with Johnny on the print generator and then with David White on the set design. David designed the whole room and the way the print generator comes to life, into the rooms. It certainly works for our prints. Our prints are always about layering and different elements…
Do you have a mathematical approach to your prints in that way?
Christopher: It’s always about the combination. The colours and which colours go next to each other.
Peter: Often, the vibrancy is achieved with the effect of the right colours next to each other. It’s always a visual thing with us. For the guys who programmed this, it’s more of a mathematical thing though.
Did you have the location before you came up with the concept?
Peter: No. We had the concept first. Well, it kind of happened at the same time and we knew that we wanted to have a big screen because we find it so lively and alive, that you can have something modern like this in somewhere so historic and it can all work together.
How different is it from what you had imagined at the outset?
Peter: I guess the light was a surprising addition to the whole thing because we don’t really know about light. So, when the guys showed us their ideas and how changing the colour of the lights slightly, would change the colour of the print, we were like “Woah. This is a whole new world of possibilities!”
How has it been working with Pitti? It seems like a successful relationship.
Peter: It’s been amazing because they are so open-minded and so supportive. Right from the start we were totally free to do whatever we wanted. It could have been a show, it could have been a dinner, it could have been anything else, a video. So, they were really open and it was almost a challenge to nail it down because it’s often so easy when you’re totally restricted. Obviously, a big team was required and they just gave us this opportunity which is fantastic.
It’s a real, physical embodiment of Peter Pilotto as well which is quite remarkable…
Peter: We wanted to have this whole experience for people.
Christopher: Yeah, we are not minimalists.
Text: Sean Baker
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