She came, she saw, she discoed. Referencing Italian house music culture, Martine Rose staged a punchy and pungent show inside a central Florence medieval market, for the latest catwalk highlight in Pitti.
Five years ago, a small gang of us editors and fashionistas made an enormously long trek to north, north London to see Rose’s break out Toronto clubbing chic show. This Thursday in Milan, she invited all the top buyers and critics in menswear to witness her fall/winter 2023 collection inside the Mercato del Porcellino, a 16th-century covered market.
Martine revamped it as a classic discotheque, placing mirrors around its granite columns, and recalling an era when Italian dance music – from New Wavers in Bologna to Tullio De Piscopo’s famed 1984 vinyl classic Stop Bajon – wowed British clubbers.
“At the first meeting with Martine for the special event in Florence, we ended up talking more about family, schools, daily shopping and cycles of life in popular neighborhoods than about fashion shows – say Lapo Cianchi and Francesca Tacconi, heads of the special projects of Pitti Immagine. Yet it was evident how all this was closely related to her work, a cognitive and emotional baggage that mixes with great creative freedom with social and cultural thoughts and that is reflected in her collections, where even the most conflicting inspirations and inclinations come to a solution, at a temporary coexistence and each time to be rebuilt. In short, a sort of inverse canon, a very interesting work of and on fashion”.Martine Rose
Rose mixed up the UK and Italy in her casting – with youthful British beauty paired with boney Tuscan dudes in a unisex show. Many of the guys culled from the local ACF Fiorentina football club, a medieval version of soccer. Which is where Rose had her backstage, inside the club’s headquarters located inside a storied palazzo named Palazzo di Parte Guelfa. A bizarre soaring space full of Tuscan spears, shields and blunderbusses.
Just like the collection, which was an eclectic meeting of wild west cowboy shirts with fringes, with more traditional ideas like jumbo corduroy jackets – a huge trend in Pitti.
Though the key to Rose is always the meeting of noble silhouettes with street gear. Martine is a great tailor who uses doll-like shapes; magnified collars and panels; exaggerated volumes and displaced shoulders to come up with very fresh ideas and proportions.
Pairing sleeveless shearling jackets with pinstripe pants, or some super violet-hued aran sweaters with bumster pants all looked great.
The designer mingled in lots of mini logos in microfiber cycling tops or as medallions on varsity jackets, but none of them seemed forced. Perhaps, at times, it felt like a Martine Rose greatest hits, but always with an Italianate twist.
“I wanted to pay tribute to Italian cosmic house culture. And pay tribute to this beautiful place, which has been a market place for a thousand years almost. The collection was a range like I always do, from tailoring to sportswear, and everything in-between. But, above all, it’s just such an honor to be here,” beamed Rose post-show and the entrance to the market.
Where stands the Fontana del Porcellino, a bronze statue of a wild boar, whose snout visitors rub to ensure they come back to Florence. One indication of how good this show was, the snout shone brilliantly in the demi-moonlight.