Pitti Uomo 92: Hugo kicks off the event in style
After a nine-year absence, Hugo Boss made a grand return to Florence on 13th June, its Hugo show the signature event on the opening day of this year's Pitti Uomo. "We wanted to make a big statement, staging a stunning show for our contemporary label's full range, which we intend to expand," said the German fashion label, which showed at the Florence menswear event for the last time in June 2008 with the Boss Orange line.
This season, the Hugo Boss group has engineered a major make-over, splitting its range into a main label, Boss - which incorporates the Orange and Green lines - and Hugo, the young line launched in 1993 which now accounts for 10% of the group's total sales.
The show for Hugo's men's and women's Spring/Summer 2018 collections was staged inside the huge disused buildings of Florence's old tobacco factory, the Manifattura Tabacchi. The atmosphere was at once spirited and mysterious, the setting dominated by an immense wooden sphere lit by torches, while candlelight shimmered amidst the trees and plants scattered all over the venue.
The first looks were all-white, a snowy swirl of destructured linen suits, lightweight pea jackets, laced smocks, flowing cotton shirts and cargo pants. "They are like an artist's canvas, on which to paint Hugo's new story," said the designer in charge of menswear, Bart de Backer, who, as did his womenswear colleague Jenny Swank Krasteva, drew inspiration from voodoo symbolism and the free, avant-garde spirit suffusing the art of Jean-Michel Basquiat in designing this collection.
Gradually, the looks came alive with graphic motifs, like brush strokes on a painter's canvas: abstract, tattoo-like graffiti on sheer knitted tops, or striped pyjama suits like those donned by Basquiat as he strolled the streets of New York. The lines are long, with oversize volumes giving the outfits a comfortable, laid-back attitude.
Hugo girls wore ephemeral, hand-painted organza and silk dresses with thin straps, in an array of lengths, from maxi to mini, the latter worn over shorts in a play of layers and transparencies, with embroidered black threads underscoring the painter's raw strokes.
No jewellery, only a long, colourful satin ribbon tied at the neck, rippling down the models' back to their feet, heightening the overall feeling of fluidity and lightness.
Evening morphed into night to the bewitching beat of the show’s music, featuring a cameo by German pop singer M.I.A.
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