Extricating himself from a crowded VIP backstage whose epicenter was Rod Stewart’s spiky coiffure, an upbeat Francesco Ragazzi brushed aside my question about the rationale behind this Palm Angels outing with a definitive “I’m not interested in explaining the collection; this show is a statement to understand where Palm Angels is situated now.” Which sounded like “please do shut up and listen”—which is what I did.
Ragazzi said: “This collection is sort of connecting the dots after the PA show in New York two years ago; the brand has grown, as you can see when entering the show space [a cavernous industrial location in Milan’s outskirts]: there are huge palm trees suspended upside down from the ceiling, and blown-up David Sims images of the last advertising campaigns displayed at the entrance. This show for me is the representation of today’s concept of what new luxury means. For me it isn’t important to describe the collection; it’s more about lifestyle. This isn’t a show about a collection, and I don’t think I’m competing with anyone. Talking about the collection is reductive, talking about jackets or coats. I’m interested in talking about branding, my message is lifestyle. A lifestyle brand is able to have more touch points, I like to think that I’m creating a 360 degree universe—furniture, fragrances, music, the whole thing. This is PA world.”
That said, lifestyle notwithstanding, and paraphrasing Gertrude Stein, a collection is a collection is a collection is a collection. And this one looked pretty good, full of funny mish-mashes and jumbles of bombers, sweaters, hoodies, cardis, shearlings, pajamas and tracksuits printed with flames, stars, stripes, palm trees, animal spots, and rhinestones. Moon-booted, padded, fur-slipped extremities à la skater were obviously de rigueur. A lifestyle without a collection isn’t a lifestyle, is it?