There's something about this set-up for Italian label AI_ Andrea Incontri's presentation that looks like a film in the making. During Pitti Uomo in Florence, the designer presented his S/S 12 collection HAUS at the Fuglino, Sala Blu. I wasn't aware that it was happening and DOH! missed it but looking at these pics as these 'protagonists' (nope, not models…) wander about in what look like souped up uniforms that the mentally distressed might wear in their peaceful retreat. Cue several memorable film scenes where mental illness is somehow romanticised. Doesn't make for covetable fashion, right?
I just read a wonderful post by Final Fashion about the 'aesthetics of scarcity' – fashion glorifying the 'look' of the poor, both affected and real. It therefore made me wonder whether giving the thumbs up to these looks created by Incontri, which really do remind me of hospital scrubs or patients uniforms, as odious as say admiring China's "Brother Sharp".
It has to be said though, it isn't Incontri's original intention to have his S/S 12 collection look like hospital garb. For him, it started with a well made shirt, using Italian craftsmanship and applying them to the most clean cut of pieces – a white t-shirt, a crew-neck top or dress, a tunic, a drawstring short or trouser. Incontri has strived to work with the best factories that can perfect his collection of capsule pieces that he sees as a uniform of sorts, where rolling out of bed and into broad daylight need not involve an outfit change. I suppose it is this pyjama or loungewear aspect, that spurred those initial reminders about the hospital or a resting retreat. Actually come to think of it, my old primary school PE uniform also comes to mind.
I'm not sure if there's any appeal to those cononations but in reality, I'd GLADLY wear the chambray shirts, the neon orange and white leather vest tops and the drawstring onesies not because I do want to wander about looking like a patient at The Priory but because I like the sparing nature of these well-made basics. Alright – we might bleat on about the merits of a 'well-made basic' but in AI's case, it's the choice of materials and finishing that make his pieces stand out amongst the sea of well-mannered wardrobe cornerstones crying out for your attention.
The ready to wear is but an experimental accompaniment to AI's main offering which is their well-made leather bags. This season, they're still functional yet interesting looking but with added shots of colour like turquoise and neon orange, the sort of hues that have made Celine and Comme des Garcons' little clutches so popular. I particularly like the lattice leather styles, another way to reveal your bags' innards without going for the see-through PVC option.