Featured image: Abito Corto in pizzo con disegno Azma (1971). Short lace dress with Azma print (1971). From Ken Scott.
What does fashion mean with show? And what does a fashion show mean to a designer who puts his ideas into clothes? It’s a legitimate question when you look at the likes of Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga and the late Alexander McQueen before them—two designers who can take a stand on modern reality through complex, imaginative, and theatrical installations. But the question has to be raised especially when the story is told about the designer who revolutionized fashion shows more than anyone else by turning it into a perfect performance for the first time.
In the year It was the 1960s, and Italian fashion was presented at the Palazzo Pitti in Florence, without much fanfare. There were models surrounded by the beauty and practicality of the establishment, there were beautiful clothes, and of course, notice what you saw sitting on chiavari-style chairs, there were beautiful customers who evaluated each garment in detail. Before signing the order for their own clothing or their own boutique. In short, the focus was on the product. The outfit was everything. Was there something missing?
Maybe something was missing. And this became clear with the arrival of Ken Scott, a bohemian American artist turned Milanese entrepreneur with a passion for fashion. His sets at the Palazzo Pitti, first, and in Milan, later, were a game-changer – for good. Suddenly, his focus grew, his focal points multiplied, like bursts of creativity. The dress no longer had a life of its own; There was no sun now. Instead, the presentation became part of a sophisticated constellation that included the space, the installation, the mood, the soundtrack, the orchestral music, the reception before the show, the dinner that followed, the interaction. The invited audience. With Ken Scott, the show went from being a short film to a blockbuster movie. And what was missing before then soon became clear: entertainment. Better yet: fun.
Ken Scott told the weekly when he was interviewed by magazines at the time: “The truth is, I find fashion shows very depressing.” Grazia In the early 1970s. His idea was to design an amazing show where he and his guests could have fun, dance, interact and listen to music. Was the fashion show an excuse for a party? Or is it the party that made the show a success both in terms of communication and business? “For me, fashion is first and foremost fun. My models are for carefree and self-confident people, who don’t choose clothes because they have a designer label, but often because they think it’s fun. You have to be anti-bourgeois, public, aristocratic to like my collections, but never The mass media.
But Ken Scott’s creativity and uncompromising spirit went further than that. At the end of revolutionary decades such as the 1960s, Ken Scott went so far as to present both women’s and men’s fashion at the same show – a breath of change and innovation that was then referred to as “unisex” and seen in the shadows. Collections built on decades of gender-fluid style and today’s fashion scene.
It was January 1967, and revolutionary action was taking place in the rooms of Palazzo PT Ken Scott. Like a complete film director, Ken Scott, showed twenty-five famous couples from fifteenth- and sixteenth-century paintings in a collection he called Glee Amanti: Orlando and Angelica, Petrarch and Laura, Giovanni Boccaccio and Fiammetta, Hero and Leander. … “Only Bacchus Covered in Sequins Misses” was the headline of the daily newspaper. The dateCriticizing what he described as a “desire to impress at all costs” even when faced with men’s tunics and caftans.
But the truth of the matter is that for the first time men’s and women’s wardrobes were exchanged in the name of a revolutionary “total look” where nothing was asymmetrical and everything was absolutely hanging. As he always designed wigs, jewelry and shoes in addition to women’s clothing, Scott created a “matching man” outfit designed to complement her and reinforce the overall visual impact. The concept was a huge commercial success in all the most fashionable boutiques.
In January of the following year, in the Casa Valadier in the Roman garden of the Villa Borghese, the unisex concept was on display again, but this time in the key of beach fashion: the collection Bonnie goes to Bombay, the couple went down the catwalk. Embrace sailor-blue suits in ban-lon or with an anchor pattern. Guests in attendance, including Michelangelo Antonini, Monica Vitti, Princess Alessandra Tolonia, Rossella Falk and Kay Thompson, were invited first to a celebratory dinner and then to a dance party. “Why is there a need to dress differently for the sexes? Men and women go the same places, do the same things, play the same games. Why does society say they have to dress differently? The old definitions are meaningless,” the designer said at the time.
Less than a year later, Scott doubled his chances. For the summer of 1968, at Apia Antica, his imagination created a fashion show he named Circo. Ken Scott has created a daring performance complete with models and tightrope walkers, jugglers and fire-eaters, clowns and animals, Pulcinella and Pierrots dressed in unisex costumes from Ban-Lon or an entourage. animal Raincoats, raincoats with clown prints to make one feel like laughing even when it’s raining. There were also inspired costumes. Art comedy, in wild colors. His was “an unmissable spectacle in the history of fashion,” wrote style reporter Maria Pezzi in Una vita dentro la moda (Skira, 1998), “possibly the greatest theatrical spectacle of our time.” “
Taken from Ken Scott By Shahida Bari, Federico Chiara, Pierre Leonforte, Renata Molho and Issa Tutino. Copyright © 2022. Available from Rizzoli.