MILAN – Simone Rizzo was downright bubbly when he opened the doors to Sunnei’s Milan headquarters ahead of the brand’s co-ed show scheduled here on Sunday.
The designer, who co-founded the brand with Loris Messina in 2014, has many reasons to be optimistic: Sunnei has naturally achieved cult brand status that its founders never imagined, boosted by the success of the first line of women’s clothing, launched with the Spring 2019 collection and accounted for 70 percent of overall business this season.
In addition, in the middle of the desk, sandwiched between props, moodboards and the communications team tirelessly tapping on their keyboards, was a mock-up of the performance venue. But it was more than just a miniature of a place – it represents the embodiment of a concept close to the heart of the designer duo.
Dubbed âBianco Sunneiâ or âWhite Sunneiâ in English, the model recreates a 43,056 square foot urban redevelopment project in the green area of ââthe city northeast of Rubattino, which the brand has supported in collaboration with the local association Vivi Rubattino and under the patronage of the Municipality of Milan.
âI first went there in 2009 for a rave,â Rizzo recalls. âBut last year Loris and I were passing through and he said ‘Look, this is a crazy place!’ Then we came back to see an art performance and got to know the guys from the neighborhood, who had lots of projects and ideas in mind that they wanted to do but couldn’t achieve, so we offered to partner up and to work on a requalification project. “
The brand’s commitment to the cause led to negotiations with the municipality and in 20 days, it was able to revitalize the neighborhood by paving and cleaning its park and ponds.
The ultimate goal of the designers is to transform the space into an open-air art gallery. âThe meaning of the project is not just about requalification, but the creation of a work of art, something that speaks of the new Milan,â said Rizzo.
To underscore this intention, the location, which features a concrete floor and highway pillars and overlooks a small lake in the park, has been covered in white paint, creating a strong visual juxtaposition with the graffiti once on the structure.
âWe really liked this clash between the two parties. We used white paint to mark the relaunch of the area: we redesigned it and now it can start from scratch with new life and we can launch a new generation of creativity, âsaid Rizzo, revealing that the location will not undergo further changes. pre-show upgrades to keep its raw appearance.
âThis is what we always look for in an exhibition space: Authenticity, simplicity, something that doesn’t need it [embellishment,]”said Rizzo, adding that he and Messina instinctively understand when a place works by” its magic “.
In terms of quirky places, old places included Brera Art High School in June 2017, Nilufar Depot Gallery and the 31st floor of the very tall Palazzo Pirelli tower in 2018.
Asked about the collection, Rizzo said he expected something “crazy – this is the most introspective collection we have done so far: it will be a little dark, reflecting the efforts we have put into these. time, but also a bit lavish on the other side.It’s very mature.The designer pointed out the abundance of accessories, especially jewelry.
This season, the brand is collaborating with Albiate 1830, which is part of the Italian textile leader Albini Group. For the occasion, Sunnei has produced a capsule collection of seven pieces made from shirt fabrics and bearing a dedicated label. They will make their debut on the track and serve as the starting point for a wider range to be launched later.
After hosting the Sunnei fashion show and after party this weekend, the Bianco Sunnei space will be transformed into a venue hosting a series of initiatives for the city, including exhibitions, installations, events and even âTemporary stores or presentations of emerging brandsâ, all developed under the artistic direction of the brand in partnership with the artist collective Altrove.
âFrom September there will also be the cultural requalification of the area,â said Rizzo, explaining that the concentration of initiatives will coincide with the busiest moments of Milan’s annual program, such as the city’s Design Week. and the contemporary art fair Miart.
The brand will support the region for three years, but Rizzo hopes the designers’ engagement will be extended further. âWe love this city – after 10 years it has become our city,â said Rizzo, originally from the region of Calabria in southern Italy, while Messina was born and raised in Grenoble, France. .
Food, music and art are at the top of Rizzo’s list of favorite Milan assets, with fashion a little lower in the rankings. âWhen it comes to fashion, we identify more with the Japanese environment, but Milan is simple and the quality of life here is very high,â he said. “Plus, there’s a subculture movement and a collective of creative people who I think are really going to recode the whole Made in Italy storyline over the next 10 years.”
When asked about the possibility of hosting shows elsewhere, Rizzo said Sunnei had never followed the trends, “including that of leaving [Milan]. We are more to take root. Although the brand organizes trade shows and events around the world during the year, notably in New York in February and in Copenhagen in 2018, the designers believe that âpresenting in Milan is always an important opportunity for us and the city. We love to do it here, where our local community supports us. “
Instead, Rizzo seems more interested in the format change than the city. âSomeday we might not even be around during fashion week. Our ultimate goal would be to have only one fashion show with men’s clothing, women’s clothing and accessories per year, an event that talks about the annual collection which will then be divided into different drops, âhe said. concluded.