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7.12.2016

Calvin Klein

Italo Zucchelli thought of this exercise in Calvin Klein-hood as one of his West Coast collections. He called it Graphic Heatwave, his main motif was inspired by defining LA artist Ed Ruscha's palm trees, and he also abstracted a "surf's-up" wave on tee-shirts. But he gave short shrift to any notion of a sun-kissed salute to classic American sportswear. Bright sunlight, after all, creates harsh shadows. So Frédéric Sanchez's soundtrack featured the industrial grind of Eighties bands Ministry, Skinny Puppy, and Nitzer Ebb, and the models had an eerie clonelike quality, and they were all wearing sandals and socks, and somehow that all added up to trouble in paradise. It was very boring ! Though Italo Zucchelli is a rigorous formalist, with substantial tailoring the foundation of all his collections, he is also provokingly experimental when it comes to menswear. Here, he was intrigued by the idea of "roundness" according to the show notes, so many of the models had a circle of fabric attached at the waist, like an odd belt. It didn't make a hell of a lot of sense, but Mr Zucchelli, famously minimalist in his approach to design, had been musing over ways to inject a little maximalism into his work. Hence that superfluous circle. He met more success with the pieces whose Velcro-ed pockets could be positioned at will. Now that seemed more useful, and a bit maximal too. Something else Italo Zucchelli is mesmerized by is the possibilities of fabric. Technology is his friend. With this last summer collection, he made a jacquard of stone-washed denim, such an accurate looky-likey that you'd be completely fooled into thinking you were looking at a jacket and jeans from the 1970s wardrobe of Jan-Michael Vincent or Willie Aames. The Italian designer paired them with a white poplin tee, just about the most classically minimal menswear combination you could imagine. Except it wasn't, because the denim was an illusion. That too was vainly provoking. After twelve years, it was good for the label to say goodbye to Italo Zucchelli.

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