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April 17 2014

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Inside The Delphinarium And Max Kibardin’s White Boxes

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Far from the madding crowd at the Fortezza da Basso, Pitti Uomo’s ground zero, two accessories designers used the occasion of the fair to show their wares: one old, one new.

Delfina Delettrez created the Delphinarium, a retrospective featuring work from five of her previous collections, installed in a gallery space in the Piazza Carlo Goldoni. The menswear fair was an unlikely choice. “I hate men’s jewelry,” she confessed. “I can see a pair of cuff links, maximum.” She herself had once made a pair, but had decorated them with highlights from the female anatomy. “There is always woman in whatever I do, even in the man’s jewelry,” she said. Why show at a gathering of uomini, then? “Maybe the fact that I really like the idea of injecting such a feminine thing in a masculine context.”

In one room, pieces from her Love Is in the Hair collection revolved on the ornate wigs on which she originally showed them. The Rolling Stone collection was presented on the moving metal contraption that inspired them, too. (“It was the first collection where the setting made the collection alive,” Delettrez said. “I wanted to make jewels that could dance with the machine, in a way.”) A front room contained more recent work, from her Metalphysic collection, as well as never-before-seen pieces, including a ring that formed a woman’s face with moving pearl eyebrows and ruby lips (pictured, left). A new piece was commissioned especially for the exhibition as well: a gorgeous hand-painted cuff in the shape of a tortoise shell, one of the many animal-themed pieces in the show. A vitrine of frog jewelry also contained live, hopping frogs; one of bee-covered pieces was filled with live bees. (One escaped, and buzzed around the hall.)

Also showing farther afield was Bruno Magli’s Max Kibardin, who used the occasion of Pitti to debut a new collaboration with artist Brian Kenny. “I fell in love with his videos,” Kibardin said of Kenny’s work. “For me, movies are always a big point of reference.” Kenny created a chopped up, kaleidoscopic take on Pier Paolo Pasolini’s 1969 film Medea, starring Maria Callas, which played at the launch party. Guests were greeted not only with Callas’ splintered face, but with a series of painted white boxes. Inside were four slip-on evening loafers in black technical nylon with Kenny’s own illustrations (pictured), inspired by and adapted from the film. Lights in the boxes flicked on and off; when they went out, the images glowed in the dark. “Imagine a guy wearing these and going out!” Kibardin marveled. “I didn’t want to do flowers or something you see everywhere. I don’t like prints, but this I would wear.”

Photos: Courtesy of Delfina Delettrez Fendi; Courtesy of Bruno Magli

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