NEW YORK — Four years after its official debut in Milan, Palm Angels, the brand founded by Francesco Ragazzi and controlled by Italy’s New Guards Group, is gearing up to take New York with a show Friday at the Cedar Lake exhibition venue in Chelsea.
“This show in New York represents a new challenge. After seasons showing in Milan I realized I was starting to feel too much in my comfort zone. I don’t want to be immediately associated with Milan,” Ragazzi said. “Showing in New York is something completely different for me and I feel like I’m going to do a second debut.”
Ragazzi added that since the music and art street scene are things very close to the brand, New York feels like the perfect environment to stage a show. “A lot of celebrities and personalities from different fields wear Palm Angels, but with shows in Milan it was hard to have them attending,” he said. “Here, there is no excuse. They are in town, they live here, so if they don’t show up, I cannot say anything in my defense. However, I think they will come,” Ragazzi added, while declining to reveal the list of the celebrities invited to the show. “Until I see them, I won’t say a word.”
Moving the show to New York had an impact on the collection itself, explained Ragazzi. “If in, Milan which is more traditional, I tried to bring something new and different with my own take on streetwear. Here, which is the land of the streetwear culture, I wanted to do the opposite: revamping sartorial classics with a street filter.”
Describing his upcoming show as “ambitious, not only in terms of production, which is quite big, but also fashion-wise,” Ragazzi said that he felt like bringing the brand to the next level “by mixing the more pulled together look of the first collections with the more openly street attitude of the latest shows.”
Hunting and fishing served as inspiration for the collection which, for example, includes a range of designs, such as women’s skirts, men’s coats and accessories, referencing traditional fishing vests with multiple pockets and mesh details. In addition, deer replace horses in reinterpretations of the traditional equestrian scarf patterns, which are used for both fluid men’s shirts and Lycra second-skin dresses enriched with elegant drapes.
Tailored jackets, crafted from suiting fabrics, are redesigned for a tracksuit-like look. “I thought…what kind of jacket can a guy like me wear without looking out of place?” Ragazzi explained.
Skiwear also influenced the lineup with the crests of the Saint Moritz ski club reproduced on medals embellishing hoodies with a technical, sporty feel, while ski pants inspired the slightly flared silhouettes of track pants.
To celebrate the brand’s fourth anniversary, the designer used the “sensitive content” symbol, featuring an eye with a strikethrough. “This is not only an ironic take on the concept of uploading offending and disturbing content online, but also puts the focus on the emotional aspect of this show, where I truly collected all the things I like,” he said.
As for the PA logo buckle embellishing leather belts and the beheaded teddy bear popping up on sweatshirts and sweaters, both are an iconoclastic tribute to one of Ragazzi’s idols, Ralph Lauren.
For the New York show, Palm Angels expanded its collection of sneakers to include new styles inspired by cross-county ski booties, while the women’s bag range was enlarged with a new design, including two different purses stitched on a wool scarf.
“The actual goal of this show is entertaining people,” Ragazzi explained. “Of course people attend shows to see products, but for me this is not enough. I really want to boost the brand’s awareness to create a powerful, recognizable label.”
Palm Angels, which recently opened a store in Hong Kong, is about to debut doors in Shanghai and Dubai. “And of course, we are looking for a location in New York and I really hope to be in business here by the end of 2019,” he revealed.