2 posts tagged "Massimiliano Gioni"
At 8 a.m. on Sunday morning, the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana held a press conference at which attendance had been all but mandated weeks in advance. The early, un-Italian hour was no doubt meant to indicate the seriousness of the occasion, as was a lineup of speakers that included Patrizio Bertelli, Diego Della Valle, and Gildo Zegna, all of whom have joined the organization’s new board. Essentially, these captains of one of Italy’s most important and cherished industries have banded together to reinvigorate Milan’s increasingly hidebound fashion weeks. “I’ve heard the word boring,” Zegna acknowledged, though he insisted that wasn’t the case. The speeches were heavy on sweeping statements and light on concrete details, which provoked the assembly of sleep-deprived journalists into a volley of probing questions. Bertelli had earlier compared his fellow board members to “senators of fashion,” and he might have been thinking, Et tu, Suzy? as the International New York Times‘ Suzy Menkes led a round of interrogation into everything from Milan’s inhospitality to young designers to its perceived shortcomings on the digital front. Bertelli is no pushover, and he gave as good as he got. When a French journalist asked why we were only hearing from old men (Angela Missoni was a mostly silent presence on the board today), the Prada CEO told him he’d be a dangerous old man himself if he didn’t change his attitude, and then unexpectedly pointed out that Italy was the first country to abolish slavery, in the 1300s. By the end, one attendee was muttering, “Business as usual,” but if the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, then today’s announcement should be welcomed as a positive development. Certainly there is enough firepower and entrepreneurial know-how on this new board to solve world peace, let alone bring new energy to a fashion week. Zegna stressed that the process would be a dialogue and said suggestions would be encouraged. In that spirit, here are seven modest proposals for improving Milan fashion week.
1. Lure young, international designers to Milan.
Menkes wondered how Milan would be replacing Burberry and Alexander McQueen, two brands that have recently decamped back to their native London. But the city’s relatively uncrowded schedule could be one of its biggest assets. Given how ridiculously packed the New York and, increasingly, London and Paris schedules have become, you would think any number of hot young brands could be persuaded to believe that they’d have a better chance of standing out in Milan. If access to Italy’s unparalleled production expertise were thrown in as part of the deal, who could resist?
2. Take the show on the road.
The British Fashion Council and, to some extent, the U.S.-based CFDA have done a good job of promoting their designers abroad. As part of the London Showrooms events, a dozen young U.K. talents have even careened around Hong Kong together on a bus. While there are barely enough young Milan-based designers to fill a Smart car let alone a minibus, and its more established designers are already well known internationally, it shouldn’t be too hard to come up with the right kind of touring exhibition. Picture a mix of up-and-comers such as Umit Benan, Andrea Pompilio, and Fausto Puglisi; some cult brands like MP Massimo Piombo and Aspesi; and a couple of designer offshoots like Versace’s Versus line and Lapo Elkann’s highly covetable new made-to-measure collaboration with Gucci—all introduced by a charming, high-profile figure (yes, we’re talking to you, Lapo). That would go some way to showing the rest of the world the extent of Italy’s ambitions. Continue Reading “Seven Suggestions For Improving Milan Fashion Week” »
Things must once have been so much easier for the social set. They simply followed the sun. But in the past few weeks alone, the bold-type butterflies have winged from Frieze in New York to the film festival in Cannes—with diversions to Monte Carlo for the Dior Resort show and the Grand Prix—and, now, to Venice, where the Biennale, the senior citizen of international art events, swung into gear with three preview days. They launched with the New Museum’s dinner on Tuesday night for its director of exhibitions, Massimiliano Gioni (left), who is not only the curator of this year’s Biennale but also the artistic director of the Nicola Trussardi Foundation in Milan. On Thursday night, it was the Trussardis’ turn to host a party in honor of Gioni. Jessica Chastain and Leonardo DiCaprio were among the guests. Bridging the two evenings was an opening at the Fondazione Prada of an exhibition that fetishistically re-creates, down to the size of the rooms in the original, a watershed show from the Kunsthalle Bern in 1969.
All in all, the preview days perfectly captured the swirling symbiosis of art, film, and fashion that is currently gilding popular culture with a hectic glamour. But even the movie stars couldn’t deflect the spotlight from the 39-year-old Gioni, who, with charisma to spare, has hitched his own star to the venerable wagon of the Biennale, in the process creating the kind of art happening that people will buzz about for years—or at least for the rest of 2013 (it closes November 24).
If you have the great good fortune to make it to Venice this summer, you’ll be able to experience Gioni’s recasting of contemporary art as something playful, wondrous, mythic. His launchpad—and the title he has given his curatorial effort—is The Encyclopedic Palace. In 1955, an Italian immigrant named Marino Auriti imagined a towering structure covering sixteen blocks on the National Mall in Washington, DC, where all the world’s knowledge could be stored (above). The scale model Auriti built is the centerpiece of Gioni’s exhibition in the Arsenale, the complex of ancient warehouses and armories that is one of the Biennale’s “official” locations. So powerful is Auriti’s concept that it immediately strikes an obsessive, fantastical, almost dreamlike chord, which echoes not just through the Arsenale but through the work of the dozens of artists Gioni has curated in the huge central pavilion of the Giardini, the municipal gardens that are the Biennale’s other focal point. In fact, that chord is so insanely irresistible (literally—the obsession bordering on madness of outsider art is one of the dominant sensibilities on display) that it seemed to infect the exhibitions staged in the international pavilions that encircled Gioni’s playground. These ambassadorial exercises in aesthetics (picture a World’s Fair of art) are often heavy-going, but I tried to imagine what kids would make of Jeremy Deller’s murals and bird-of-prey movie in the UK pavilion, or Vadim Zakharov’s huge showerhead raining gold coins down on the crowd in the Russian pavilion (below), or Mathias Poledna’s three-minute cartoon in the Austrian pavilion, which revives Disney’s labor-intensive pre-digital animation of the late thirties and early forties to gorgeous, disturbing effect. I felt like a kid myself looking at these things, thrilled, enthralled, slightly derailed, but refreshed of vision. Continue Reading “Beyond the Arty Parties: A Look Inside the Venice Biennale” »