MILAN – Stone Island is headed to South Korea.
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Running Sept. 5 to 9 at the Layer 41 Studio location, the “Selected Works_Seoul ‘982-‘023: The Stone Island Archive” show is billed to be the largest installation the brand has ever staged in Asia. For the occasion, the exhibit will encompass four decades of the company’s heritage, spotlighting the high-tech research on fibers and textiles and innovation in product design it is best known for.
“Stone Island is my whole life and my passion. When I enter our historical archive, it is a great emotion for me, because I see my whole life in the garments that Stone Island has created in 41 years of its history,” said the brand’s chairman, Carlo Rivetti.
Rivetti joined Stone Island in 1983 – a year after Massimo Osti founded the company in Ravarino, near Modena – by acquiring 50 percent of the firm. A decade later, Rivetti and his sister Cristina bought the remaining 50 percent and became owners. Rivetti has consistently pushed fabric technology and experimentation, particularly focusing on functionality and utilitarianism, gradually raising the brand to cult status when it comes to outerwear.
“Our customers are not consumers, they are enthusiasts, they are fans, they are friends, and they recognize the uniqueness of this brand. Every time I meet someone who wears Stone Island, I really feel proud. I feel proud of what my people have done in Ravarino, of what we have managed to build in these years,” said Rivetti. As reported, Moncler acquired 70 percent of Sportswear Company SpA, owner of the Stone Island brand, in 2020, before taking full control of the firm the following year.
Featuring more than 70 key pieces, tracing back to the first collection developed for spring 1982, the exhibition in Seoul will focus on groupings of work such as the Pure Metal Shell jackets, the Prototype Research_Series, as well as the brand’s continuing experimentation with both Ice Jackets and reflective materials.
“This will be a landmark exhibition as it is the largest ever showing of the Stone Island Archive in Asia in one of our most important global markets, where we have been present since 1996,” said Robert Triefus, the former Gucci executive who was recently appointed Stone Island’s chief executive officer.
“Over the years we have established a significant community of highly knowledgeable collectors and enthusiasts in Korea, who particularly appreciate the material innovation that the brand is recognized for,” he added.
For the occasion, the show venue will be divided in different areas granting visitors an immersive experience. A ghost-white, soundproof space will welcome the public, acting as a transition chamber for what is to come. The first engagement with Stone Island pieces will be interactive, with a series of refrigerators containing new iterations of the Stone Island Ice Jacket, where visitors will be invited to touch the thermosensitive pieces and see how their appearance changes with heat.
The main hall of the exhibition will feature a cathedral-like display of 45 archival pieces, representing important milestones of the company. Key items will include the Tela Stella cape hailing from the first Stone Island collection for spring 1982 and inspired by military truck tarpaulins; “Glazed silk light,” the fall 1987 jacket reminiscent of glass as created with a PVC coating on a hyper-shiny nylon base, and the spring 2011 “Ventile Ghost Piece,” a monochromatic jacket from the debut Ghost collection.
In addition, a towering installation of nine plinths will be topped by life-sized 3D-printed sculptures of signature Stone Island looks, as well as the models who have worn them.
Overlooking the main hall, a mezzanine floor will feature a display of 14 Reflective jackets, one of Stone Island’s most popular fabric developments, which will be housed in a black-clad display to further heighten their effect. Miniature printed mannequins created to celebrate Stone Island’s 40th anniversary in 2022 will also be showcased in the area.
The second floor will spotlight the Pure Metal Shell jackets, with 35 pieces in stainless steel and bronze expected to be hanging from metal wire in an area coated with a concrete finish.
Closing the exhibition, seven rare pieces from the Prototype Research_Series will be displayed, flanked by films detailing the innovations behind each garment.
Two special events will add to the activations surrounding the show, including a conversation with Rivetti slated for Sept. 5 and an archivist event led by collector Archie Maher the following day.
Stone Island won’t be the only Italian brand in town during Frieze Seoul. As reported, Prada will also host the 10th iteration of Prada Mode, a social club concept created to provide members with art programming, music performances and dining. Titled “Plural and Parallel” and held at the cultural venue KOTE, the two-day event will showcase installations by award-winning film directors Kim Jee-woon, Yeon Sang-ho and Jeong Dahee.
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