“In this moment of uncertainty we must create something that remains, that is not destined to disappear into the ether.” Pronounced by Francesco Ragazzi – founder of a brand, Palm Angels, which he himself defined as «the son of a smartphone, Instagram and social networks» – this sentence seems more than a simple declaration of intent. It is a promise of the future. In time increasingly suspended, fluid, virtual by necessity, Ragazzi has chosen to present the new collection through a physical, tangible object – some would even say obsolete: a book, Palm Angels, published by Rizzoli New York in a limited edition, to “keep on the bedside table, to remind us of what we have experienced”.

Francesco Ragazzi in a portrait by Rosie Marks.

The Palm Angels S / S 2021 takes shape on the printed page like a multi-voice story: the campaign signed by David Sims, with styling by Karl Templer, alternates with the shots of emerging photographers Rosie Marks and Lea Colombo, the artworks of the 86-year-old Enzo Ragazzini, the abstract compositions by the painters Friedrich Kunath and Thrush Holmes, the works of graphic designer Javier Jaén (creator of the headless teddy bear that has become one of the symbols of the brand) and of the visual artist Javier Calleja. A heterogeneous community that reflects the anarchic spirit of Francesco Ragazzi, and that “creative chaos” from which the brand sprang in 2015: it all began in 2014 with another book, Palm Angels, a collection of photographs in which Ragazzi, then Moncler’s artistic rector, portrayed the skaters of Venice Beach.

This new volume looks like a return to origins. Nostalgia?
I am a romantic, and I felt the need to go back to something physical to build new foundations. With the lockdown we had to give up many emotions, we were submerged by the digital fiction. If the first book was a starting point, this is meant to be another milestone in the history of Palm, a point of arrival and departure.

How has Palm Angels changed?
I started alone, while today the brand is evolving towards greater contamination: for me it is essential to have the right people beside me. In the first book there were only my photographs, this is the result of different collaborations: it’s like a personal moodboard, or an Instagram feed, in which the images of those you follow reflect your personality. It is the contrasts that create energy. This is why I wanted my team to become part of the book as well, thanks to the shots of Rosie Marks.

An accessory from Palm Angels S / S 2021. Image by Lea Colombo.

What are the fantasies that gave rise to the garments?
It is a collection born on the sofa at home and created virtually, during the lockdown. Hence the need to imagine a different world: I was inspired by a Caribbean trip to Jamaica, mixing the codes of military uniforms with elements of reggae culture, vivid shades and the colors of the Jamaican flag. The collection develops a story in three “acts”, which will be released at different times: Military in February, Fishing Club in March and Exodus in May.

An accessory from Palm Angels S / S 2021. Image by Lea Colombo.

The campaign is signed by David Sims, the styling is by Karl Templer, two big names. A “first time” for the brand. How did it go?
It was the confirmation that the best talents are often the simplest people and willing to listen. This for me is the basis of creativity and humanity: they were able to interpret my vision from their point of view. That’s what I’ve always dreamed of.

(Go on)

Opening: Palm Angels S / S 2021 outfit.

Read the full interview in the February issue of Vogue Italia, on newsstands from February 5th

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