Graphically speaking, there are few letters in the alphabet as pleasing to the eye as ‘F’ is, with its stout vertical and defiant horizontal strokes. Just ask Reilly, the mononymic graphic artist who, for several years now, has spent the majority of his waking hours weaving deft visual satires based on the fashion industry’s finest and freshest new ideas – whether with cleverly reinterpreted logos, campaigns, or collages – to display proudly on his Instagram account.
Silvia Venturini Fendi has long been a fan, he told us last April when we first sat down to talk – she had, at the time, just reposted an image from his Fake News series, which merged brand logos in order to locate their graphic “breaking point”. “Silvia Fendi and menswear stylist Julian Ganio saw the artwork and DM’d me,” he adds now. “We all follow each other on Instagram and I love what they do.” Little did he realise at the time, his playful reinterpretation would culminate in much more.
“Initially I thought it was to rap me on the knuckles, but instead it was an invitation to collaborate on the Autumn/Winter 2018 menswear collection.”Reilly went on to design a series of digital remix prints which he refers to as “conversation pieces”, and which, in turn, were translated into accessories and ready-to-wear as part of the A/W18 menswear collection. “The brief was, just do what you do! Complete creative freedom, which is an incredible opportunity for any artist. All I was given was the logo, then I went for it.”
The collaboration continued into womenswear last week, which collection showcased a veritable celebration of that powerful and ubiquitous Fendi F. It was tessellated onto tights, PVC trench coats and the iconic baguette in a beige-and-brown combination which neatly walked the narrow line between retro and ultra-luxe. Perhaps most memorably though, the house placed Reilly’s very first Fendi/Fila logo mash-up front and centre in the collection on a series of must-have furry sweatshirts – bright and bold, and just out-of-place enough to to be utterly appealing.
“Logos are basically a non-verbal sign system that carry a message to the viewer, and as one of the best names and logos in the business Fendi has been on a roll the last few years,” Reilly adds. “Labels, logos and great fashion brands essentially take the ideas of semiotics – that is making meaning through signs and symbols – and bring them to our real life and our actual bodies. Through the commercial commodification of that sign as a symbol, we co-opt it as part of our identity by wearing or sharing it. Great fashion brands not only make you look good, they make you look clever. The best fashion labels transmit that instinctively, and of course Silvia Venturini Fendi and Karl Lagerfeld are the very best.”