Three decades as a trail-blazing, trend-setting fashion brand means Stone Island has rather a lot to celebrate. Coinciding with Pitti Edition 82, they’re doing so in serious style, packing out Florence’s Stazione Leopolda with an extraordinary retrospective of their time on top of the world of fashion.
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30 years ago almost to the day, Stone Island’s Carlo and Sabina Rivetti were avidly watching the 1982 World Cup, “We were in New York watching Italy winning against Brazil, then we moved to Italy to see the final”. With sporting style and culture running deep through the brand, it’s appropriate that on entering their temporary home in Florence one is met by a vast Stone Island squad (pictured top). In the background to the uniformed mannequins, football film footage flickers and the roar of one of the players bellows through the building. Sabina explains, “We won the world cup that year. That’s why we actually have the army in the vestibule and the cry of Marco Tardelli [Italian goal scorer in the final against Germany] saying, “campione del mondo! [world champions]“. It was a very important year!”
The significance of ’82 didn’t end with Italy’s sporting victory, it also marked the beginning of the Stone Island saga. Throw forward three decades and what was then just a dream is now a very tangible reality, presented for the world to see in this extraordinary retrospective. Stepping into the Stone Island Stazione, one is instantly struck by the scope of the project the brand has undertaken; digging deep into their rich archive, the vast 2000 square metre space is a physical embodiment of their constant striving as sartorial pioneers, always leading, never following.
It was the job of i-D Consultant Fashion Director, Simon Foxton and his creative partner, Nick Griffiths to curate the exhibition. Producing some of the most exciting imagery in fashion, directing their advertising campaigns and playing a central role in the brand’s development, they are now a key part of the S.I. family, working together to maintain the brand’s reputation.
On the opening evening of the exhibition, i-D online was fortunate enough to be shown around the vast space by Simon, as he took us on a mesmerising tour of the islands of ‘Stone Island 30′. From ‘The Reflective Room’ to ‘The Choromatic Room’ and everything in between, each area represents a different facet of the brand. Visitors are immersed into the culture as pieces from every corner of Stone Island’s history are gathered, demonstrating the extraordinary ambition and forward-looking nature of Stone Island’s methodology and design. A particular highlight ‘The Steam Room’ shows the procedure of steam-shrinking garments; oversized outerwear is compacted under 130 degrees into its final form, creating totally unique and highly complex textures and aesthetics. Thirty years at the forefront of innovation and experimentation without rest, the exhibition gives insight into the wonderful world of Stone Island… Happy birthday to you!
Co-inciding with the exhibition, a vast tome of a book celebrating Stone Island is now available and the exhibition is open Wednesday to Sunday at Florence’s Stazione Leopolda until 7th July 2012.
Text: Sean Baker
Portrait of Carlo and Sabina Rivetti at the opening of the Brewer Street store in London earlier this year.