One of the key highlights of this anniversary edition of Pitti Uomo in Florence, Sterling Ruby’s debut show had the right mix of refinement, primitivism and boldness, with striking use of patchwork, bleaching and printing. Turns out the American artist has been fascinated with clothing since his teenage years and the level of craftsmanship and attention to detail was impressive.
In the 1990s, there were several moments of rapprochement between fashion and art, most famously with Helmut Lang ending on the cover of Artforum in October 1995. Ruby’s show felt like a seminal moment, too, giving his presentation the edge of a performance. There was a nomadic and savage feeling in his silhouette, from prairie-inspired frocks to asymmetrical ponchos, worn with matching loose pants. A fully bleached pink denim ensemble, composed of a shirt and matching jeans, looked sharp and relevant, while woven knits and faux-fur trimmed separates had a naive and innocent charm.
Rich in textures, colors and contrasting volumes, the collection had real energy, which the audience felt straight away. The American artist will not go for the seasonal format, but it seems that he will return with a second collection at a later stage. He partnered with SSENSE exclusively and the less intricate pieces are now available online. Ruby also managed to feature strong messages on his clothes, which gave us food for thought. A long, elegant black dress, printed with two burning candles, seemed like a beacon of hope for humanity’s future. This was an accomplished proposal and the clothes were instantly desirable.
/ Words by Philippe Pourhashemi /