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Big Night

Adam Kimmel's Lavish Pitti Uomo Spread

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Adam Kimmel and Zoe Cassavetes.
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Rita Ackermann with Liz Bougatsos of Gang Gang Dance.
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Adam Kimmel is a model of efficiency. On a single evening during Pitti Uomo in Florence, the New York designer previewed his Fall collection for the fashion press; devised a lookbook with his photog brother, Alexei Hay, featuring a who's who of the New York art scene; and, finally, sat down with friends (Zoe Cassavetes, Olivier Zahm) and family (Mom, Grandma) for a banquet at the prestigious Istituto d'Arte in his honor. "Yeah, it looks like I got my stuff together," joked the 28-year-old. "But really all I can take credit for is the clothes. For the rest, I have to acknowledge the folks that came out here with me."

Those "folks" included downtown artists like Ryan McGinley, Nate Lowman, Aaron Young, Jack Pierson, David Armstrong, Rita Ackermann, Slater Bradley, Dan Colen, Leo Fitzpatrick, and the members of the experimental rock band Gang Gang Dance (who performed a rowdy set), who had all piled into a business-class Alitalia flight for the occasion. "Adam called us with an offer: He'd sort the flights, put us up in a straight-up castle, and organize a variety of amenities," Lowman said. "The guy delivered on every score." That's no surprise, considering Kimmel was given a $300,000 grant from Pitti to bankroll the festivities. Only Agathe Snow feigned disappointment. "Where is the vodka?" she asked a blank-faced Italian. "Vodka is surely the same in every language."

Kimmel takes his design cues from image makers not only of today but also of the past. Neal Cassady inspired his Spring collection, and fellow Beat George Herms was in attendance at the party. The California Assemblage artist expounded on Kimmel's talents. "It's not secondhand smoke that kills people; it's secondhand ideas," he said, putting an arm around the designer. "But this man is no killer." Museum curator Francesco Bonami was also quick to toast the up-and-coming talent. As photos from Kimmel's lookbook were projected on either side of a reproduction of Michelangelo's David, Bonami declared, "Adam has brought modernity into this museum again."
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