SPORTMAX SS 2024 FASHION SHOW
The Sportmax Spring Summer 2024 collection emerges from a mirroring reflection on the CHANGES IN NATURE as well as the NATURE OF CHANGE, tracing an analogy between the seasonal cycles and the equally cyclical battling between tradition and progress; the idea of perpetual regeneration; the resetting of the individual and collective consciousness in a given context, questioning simultaneously the very core of what ‘Natural’ vs ‘Cultural’ means in a world that struggles with reconciling both realms or keeping them in perfect equilibrium. Today’s world is largely dependent on the rapid updating of advanced technology and sophisticated gadgets, spoiled by and addicted to the multi-functions of digital platforms, formatted to be algorithmically connected to speed and instant gratification, hypnotized by the mundane while losing touch with the mystical or contemplative side of things. If we dispense with contemplation, we move dangerously towards desensitization, becoming voyeurs more than participants; technicians more than poets; followers more than mavericks.
In a Post-naturalistic world, while we attempt to capture and ‘rescue’ a certain sense of ‘naturalness’ around us, we still do so by artificially containing nature; carefully curating it and obsessively profiling it, whether behind the glass of a Laboratory cabinet, an interactive museum display, a shop vitrine or a smartphone screen.
So, one can wonder: Will nature, just like ancient rituals, traditions and craftsmanship, also become the ‘memento mori’ of a world of extinct marvels, in which artificially generated replicas will be the only way we can experience life in the future? Is there a future without acknowledgement of the past? Is artificial the new natural? Is science the new art?
If those questions are at the heart of what motivated the collection’s narrative, it also finds resonance in Japanese aesthetics and its various incarnations as a stylistic movement at different historical moments. In the second half of the 19th century, it heavily influenced the organic dynamism of Art Nouveau and the fashions of the Belle Epoque and later translated into the high stylisation of the 1920s, up to its most recent re-emergence in the late 90s, when it inspired the poetic futuristic wave of that period, embraced by countless rising and consecrated artists in music, film and fashion (such as Björk emulating an android Geisha for her ‘Homogenic’ cover or Madonna’s alter ego during her ‘Ray of Light’ era).
The inspiration here translates mostly into its reverent quest for purity and contrasts – the exploration of a geometric silhouette drawn out of the competing balance between control and abstraction, the perfect architectural symmetry of a kimono and the asymmetries found in nature. It’s in the re-studying of the Geisha’s ceremonial dressing code, the deconstruction of its layers and the ‘Obi’ belt translated into various forms and sartorial interpretations. It’s in the economy of detail, the boldness of volume and in allowing rawness based on Wabi-Sabi’s acceptance of transience and imperfection.
In a clinical atmosphere, white comes to life in all shades – from optical to vanilla – through textures and light effects, with punctual accents of acid and pale aquatic hues that attempt to ‘creep in’ and give life to the otherwise aseptic nature of the line-up.
Structured and padded materials alternate between various degrees of glossy satins, PVC and other sleek techno materials, matte textures such as robust cottons, crisp coated linens and compacted paper fibres or sheer transparency.
Velcro fastenings are used throughout as a predominant detail, creating tension between minimal couture-like sophistication and brutalist utilitarianism.
The prints are direct photographic borrowings from the installations of the Czech artist Krištof Kintera.
Kintera’s ‘Postnaturalia’ works – a dystopian re-imagining of a botanical ‘Herbarium’ with flowers made out of electronic waste (echoing Emily Dickinson’s Herbarium diary) – were a central inspiration from the start and generously shared by the artist to help us complete and illustrate the overall concept of the collection.
The show soundtrack, ‘Non saremo che noi stessi ancora’, is composed by Teho Teardo.