The unique collaboration between nine leading fashion designers and notorious Italian former graffiti artist Ivano Atzori, called One Size Fits All, will be exhibited in Milan to coincide with Milan Fashion Week this September. The unlikely subject of this design collaboration is the anonymous ski mask, which each designer has interpreted in their own way.
Designers Bernhard Willhelm, Vivienne Westwood, Riccardo Tisci, Raf Simons, N.21, Missoni, Ennio Capasa, Neil Barrett and Haider Ackermann all took part in the One Size Fits All project, and the results bear spectacularly little resemblance to the plain ski masks Atzori and his friends used to wear.
“The masks are all so personal,” says Atzori. “What I appreciated most was each designer's courage to participate in the project. Each time a mask arrived it was a truly emotional moment for me. That said, when Riccardo Tisci's mask arrived, I felt that I had to find someplace to hide it - it was so precious, so full of energy, it was spectacular.”
Atzori’s appreciation for the Givenchy creative director’s work is reciprocated. “I really respect Ivano Atzori,” explains Tisci on his desire to participate in the project. “He is a great street artist who brought modernity and strength to Milanese street art and culture.”
Tisci says the design process involved in creating his eerie otherworldly ski mask was much the same as the one he uses for Givenchy. “I enjoyed designing the mask very much. My dreams and nightmares inspired me. It came naturally – it was very street couture!”
Atzori used to haunt the streets of Milan and New York City as the graffiti artist Dumbo, until he moved on to new projects, becoming the co-owner of the temporary concept store King Kong in Milan and publishing a monograph of his days as a graffiti artist, Dumbo: Acts of Vandalism and Stories of Love (2007). Now an integral part of Italy’s art scene, Atzori wanted to converge his interests in art, fashion and photography. “Underground cultures are essential to fashion and its processes,” says Atzori.
The project also embodies Atzori’s nostalgia for his days as a street artist. “My friends and I had loads of fun destroying the city and ski masks made that all possible,” says Atzori. “Wearing one is really exciting - it transforms you into a whole new person.”
“With this project I tried to focus attention on what I find most important about fashion - plain old creativity,” says Atzori. “Where else can you see the Missoni family in the same room with Bernhard Willhelm? It's fantastic!”
Text by Karen Orton
Once Size Fits All will be showing at the Palazzo Morando, Costume Moda Immagine Via Sant’Andrea 6 Milan from September 25to September 27. The opening reception takes place on September 24.