American culture is a boundless landscape for Francesco Ragazzi. As he moves the eye around, he continuously finds signs, tropes and even cliches to look at and reinterpret. This curiosity makes Palm Angels an evolutive endeavor. What keeps consistent is the method: iconic items and iconographies are dissected, twisted, tweaked and ultimately reconfigured, but never turned upside down. They keep an authenticity which is filtered through the foreigner’s point of view. It’s the gaze that creates the landscape, after all, not vice versa.
For the new Palm Angels collection, Francesco Ragazzi goes West: rocky mountains, canyons, glaring sun, desert lands, an overlapping of different cultures. He rediscovers the pleasure of being immersed in nature and culture for real, savoring the colors, the textures and even the dust; marveling in front of A Thing Called Sunset. The frenzy of the city and the performing efficiency of technical clothing are far from here. Craft comes to the fore, and with that the warmth of touch, the organic feeling of wearing pieces that have been lovingly made with the hands. It’s folk, in other words, à la Palm Angels, which means a bit off. Artful stains are dripped over shearling jackets; fringes dance on dresses made with striped shirting cottons; Western jewelry turns into decorative prints; pajamas replace suits and plaids replace coats, and all of it is grounded on chunky skater shoes. It’s all very familiar, but never obviously so.
There is a palpable energy to the whole: one that comes from soaking up the colors and the energy of that setting sun, but also from the mix and match of cultures, which after all is what America is about.