A Runway Recap of WHAT WE BELIEVE: 032c at Pitti Uomo
For the 93rd edition of the Florentine fashion fair Pitti Uomo, 032c was invited to present our debut menswear collection in the gilded halls of the Renaissance Palazzo Medici Riccardi. The presentation was created as a built manifestation of “What We Believe,” a series of declarations of life in the convergence age. Instead of a show in the traditional sense, it was a production of atmospheres, inspired by the 1950s artist refuge Black Mountain College. The collection’s embroidered sweaters, hunting attire, fleece pullovers, leather pyjamas, and reconstructions of French outdoors brand Chevignon were worn by 032c team members, family, friends, and dancers from our Kreuzberg neighborhood in Berlin. Statements reflecting keywords like “Sex,” “Fantasy,” and “Freedom” were read aloud over Olga Scheps’s piano rendition of Eurodance band Scooter’s hit “One (Always Hardcore).” As the 15-minute composition came to an end, a video of a group of hooligans singing “Truly Madly Deeply” by Savage Garden was projected onto a screen behind the cast. “We wanted to create something that would make people feel energized,” Joerg Koch explained in an interview with Complex after the show. As the velocity and size of our data swells to inhuman proportions, it has become increasingly unrealistic to know and increasingly essential to believe.
Here, we take you on a tour of the “What We Believe.” presentation, held on January 11th, 2018 for Pitti Uomo 93.
Look #1 and #2
Zec and York, the sons of 032c Art Director Mike Meiré and designer Michelle Elie, presented the first two looks. The jacket is an interpretation of the iconic 1980s “Cosmo Jacket” by French brand Chevignon, who helped with sourcing the original fabrics for the production.
What We Believe no 7: FAMILY
It is naive to exclude work and politics from a family model based on love. To speak of “making time” for family is to make it exclusive of social and creative life. But the family is immersive, a function of a greater communal impulse. Nuclear private life is an outmoded, Anglo-Saxon constraint. It is a construction that carries on in a merely 3D reality while the rest of the universe expands, rapidly.
During the show, dancer Tanya Bogina performed acrobatic twirls on a pole. By having multiple layers happen simultaneously – live readings of our “What We Believe” declarations over piano music by 032c Executive Editor Thom Bettridge, video projections, and models moving through the crowd – the salon generated a dense atmosphere.
The presentation was equal parts multi-layered as it was multi-generational. This is the Kochs’ son Karl, whose shaved head was echoed in the show’s final minutes, during which hooligans sang Savage Garden’s “Truly Madly Deeply.”
What We Believe no 14: GENEROSITY (Part I)
Just because a colleague, a lover, or a comrade is not complaining does not mean he or she might not need a hand from time to time. Being generous and impulsive with your spirit is community-building and fun. Generally speaking, you should never address life by seeking to expend less energy, resources, or enthusiasm. You should make more instead. (This doesn’t mean you have to be patient, however. There just isn’t time for that anymore.)
Look #4 – #8
Four models from Florence with 032c Head of E-commerce Marie-Laurence Basque in the middle, wearing a leather negligé.
Look #9 – #11
M.i.k. Family, a dance squad from our neighborhood in Berlin-Kreuzberg, wore looks 9, 10, and 11. The group is known for their Krump dance style and has won multiple awards in Germany.
Model Cloe Simoncioni from Florence showed off the 032c Writer’s Belt in look #12.
What We Believe no 6: LOVE
You are mistaken if you think using the word “love” is enough to conjure the thing itself. Love is an inclusive form of energy. Do it hard, impossibly, radically, and as often as possible. Understand that love is not opposed to entropy, to mutiny, to mold, or to matter. Understand that while love is changeable, it is not exchangeable. To commodify it is corrupt, like deep-drilling for fuel when renewable energy surrounds us in the earth, air, and sea.
German journalist and 032c compadre Adriano Sack was dressed in look 13. Sack is the Style Editor of German newspaper Die Welt.
What We Believe no 23: FANTASY
Fantasy is often posited as the antithesis of reality, but this is a fallacy. Fantasy is a part of reality – perhaps its most vibrant part, and certainly its most fun. Without fantasy, the reality we inhabit would not only be grayer, it would not exist at all. Fantasy is not merely a cherry on top of simple intellectual existence. It is integral to the foundations of our culture. It is not a threat to truth, morality, or perception. It is the necessary condition for these things. Fact and fantasy exist in a relationship of such constant and productive reciprocity that it is impossible to say which comes first. Too often ignored, this relationship is the perennial chicken-and-egg question of human existence. However, given the creative power that results from this magical interaction, actually determining which came first is of little importance. Reality makes us dream, and dreams make us real.
This is the Kochs’ daughter June in look 14. Every element in the show – from family to fantasy – was tied to an emotional memory. “Pitti has produced some of the most amazing shows I’ve ever experienced – the first Raf Simons show for Jil Sander was held here, for example. The shows at Pitti have never been just about a catwalk, but more about incredible spaces, hospitality, etc. There was more romanticism and sentimentalism on our part when it came to this decision as much as feeling honored to be invited,” Joerg Koch said in an interview with Hypebeast after the show.
Make-up artist Patrick Glatthaar walked out in look 15, together with June. Glatthaar has contributed to 032c fashion editorials in Issues 32 and 33, working with photographers Jackie Nickerson and Pierre-Ange Carlotti, respectively. He also prepped the cast for the Pitti Uomo show.
In the Financial Times, Charlie Porter wrote after the show: “Two years ago, Maria and Joerg Koch, the magazine’s co-owners, started to produce branded garments. They now have 60 stockists worldwide … It was their first time doing head-to-toe looks, like an excellent blue twill workers jacket and pants. Also strong were quilted jackets that sat shrugged off the shoulder, and some high-belted broad-cut chinos. Afterwards, the Kochs said the starting point was Black Mountain College, a mid-20th century American institution, where those teaching or studying included Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, Josef and Anni Albers, Merce Cunningham, and John Cage. ‘It was a very inspiring moment,’ said Joerg Koch. ‘Young people coming together in the mountains of North Carolina, a really tight-knit community, and they all had sex during the night.’ ‘Instead of intellectual dialogue,’ said Maria Koch. They have wanted to do a feature on the college in the magazine, but have never found the right way. ‘This is insight into the process of how we work,’ said Joerg. ‘The magazine operated as a research think-tank for the fashion department.’ 032c, as both a magazine and a brand, are a great example of how to navigate the post-print social media era. They follow their instincts, take risks and gleefully trample down the boundaries of what a media company – or fashion house – should do.”
Lawrence Lee, a DJ and producer based in Berlin, presented look 16. He was told to aggressively walk straight through the audience, as fast as possible.
What We Believe no 2: SEX
Sex is at once the most commercialized thing on the planet and the most resistant to commercialization. It has been made phenomenally public, and yet it remains deeply private. It is a state of being that is thought and talked about constantly, but not in any proper terms, because it is a physical matter, a questions of impulse, not intellect. It is beautiful and horrifying. It is impermeable to the perversion of culture and it is the perversion of culture. So it is, officially, the most mysterious non-mystery ever – a paradox so unfathomable that the only thing to do about it is embrace our fascination. Obsess about it. Reproduce it, and sell it. Censor it. Celebrate it. Practice is as much as possible. It will never lose interest, and it will never lose power. Fighting it is to fight a losing battle. So just let sex win.”
032c Editor Eva Kelley presented look 17 with the direction to perform an “elegant slow-motion mosh pit.”
What We Believe no 25: CONFLICT
As a person moves through life, they are expected to become more and more “certain,” to operate with increased decisiveness, to cultivate an existence that minimises confrontation and emphasizes peace. People grow to shun conflict, internal and external. But this is the surest path to monotony and conformity. There is a simple cure, however: We must become shamelessly conflicted. Conflict does not have to result in paralysis. Its energy can be harnessed and put to use. It is the very source of newness and the foundation of discourse. Relish each contradictory impulse within yourself, and every clash you encounter with another – for these are moments of productivity and creation.
032c Fashion Editor Marc Goehring closed the show in look 18. In addition to his posing skills, Goehring styled the show’s outfits as well.
What We Believe no 12: EXPERIMENTATION
The only possible way to do or make anything, ever, is by experimentation. Even a toddler’s existence is a series of experiments, mini-challenges pressed upon its environment and explored by trial-and-error. To cease to experiment is not only to cease to create in this world, but to renounce participation altogether. Non-experimentation is inert. In fact, if you are not experimenting, you might be dead. Stay as alive as possible.