An anomaly in luxury fashion, Italian label Redemption produces clothes that are as glamorous as they are generated with good intentions. With sustainability and social activism at its core, the brand’s rebellious approach to the global fashion system is encapsulated by a rock ’n’ roll persona. Redemption’s musical influence echoes through its collections, continually being reinterpreted into bold and seductive attire for the modern woman. For its Milan Fashion Week debut, the label realizes this identity once again with the guidance of Creative Director Bebe Moratti.
Inspired by Queen’s 1976 album A Day at the Races, Redemption’s Spring/Summer 2021 collection is the second in a series of album-referencing collections. Thought up by Moratti when sifting through ‘80s imagery, the collection channels a similar pageantry, but is combined with the creative’s signature stroke of elegance. The playful juxtaposition of masculine and feminine silhouettes is presented through intricately tailored blazers, bow-adorned minidresses, and beautifully draped gowns with quintessential trains. Redemption’s collection is also marked by its distinctively daring color palette. Vivid pink, electric blue, and variations of animal print are accompanied by the classic simplicity of black and white.
Redemption’s rendition of rebelliousness at the races unfurls in a short film composed by Moratti, following a rambunctious group of rockstars as they wander the halls of an Italian mansion and frolic in its courtyard. But while our minds focus on grandeur and glitz, it is the brand’s visionary that reminds us the frivolity of his fashions are not without purpose. Here, CR speaks with the creative director on the conception of A Day at the Races, its unraveling in a contemporary format, and how it embodies the brand’s fundamental driving force.
What influenced the collection’s theme? How did you materialize this idea of rebellion-meets-the-races?
“The title came about right after the previous one, A Night at the Opera, which is one of the most amazing albums from Queen. The album right after that was A Day at the Races. I had one of those moments right after the show when you realize you gotta start on the next one. I started looking at all the glam-ish moments of the ’80s–the attendees of the Royal Ascot Horse Race and the Queen’s Polo, and the amazing beautiful, colorful, very strong-shouldered dresses. And the rebellious part is intrinsic of the nature of Redemption. I don’t consider myself to be a particularly rebellious person, but I think that my inspiration is. It’s always linked to how important rock ‘n’ roll has been throughout the decades in shaping most of the social rebellions that brought positive changes to society. So that’s the way we interpret rebellion, and it’s an underlying part of our aesthetic, to create juxtapositions between parallel worlds. The end product is this impossible conversation between the world of the Queen’s Polo and the world of punk.”
How was navigating the creative process during the pandemic?
“Awesome. Time at our disposal, which is a commodity that unfortunately we rarely use in the correct manner. We skipped the pre-collection. It’s something that I really wish we can keep doing going forward. I grew up in Milan in the ‘90s and I think that amazing generation of Italian designers that brought ‘Made in Italy’ to the rest of the world did not become who they are now by doing product, product, product, pre-collections, and novelty, novelty, novelty. They became what they became through creativity, craftsmanship, quality, detail–and that requires time. The process was awesome because I was awarded five months rather than just two-and-a-half to do the whole collection. I could really take my time and focus on the fittings, on working with the atelier and the pattern makers, and doing something that is couture-ish. The only complicated part, smack in the middle of the lockdown, was selecting the fabrics.”
How does this season’s debut differ from past shows? This collection was unveiled as part of an exhibition rather than on a runway.
“I am not a fan of the format that we did previously. The whole concept of a show for the selected few and the four fashion weeks, it was a stale system. I really enjoy the way [this collection] is going to reach the masses in a more direct way than a fashion show ever did. This [way] is much more democratic and it’s more creative. I love writing the music, I love directing it, so I’m fully embracing this new model of doing things in a more modern and fresh way. At the end of the day, we did fashion shows because that’s what you had to do. Now, this moment of anarchy where everybody does what they think is best for them, I think should last and should bring out new methods. Let’s try to use this moment of complete disarray to see if there’s a better way that is more enjoyable for everyone. At the end of the day, that’s what rock ‘n’ roll is–finding out a new genre. Right now, we can rebel and do something that will impact future generations, so let’s focus on doing that rather than keep on doing the same thing that, at the end of the day, didn’t work and wasn’t enjoyable.”
You opted to showcase the collection in video format which features a soundtrack that you composed. Tell us about that.
“Music is my main influence whenever I do anything, either the photographs or the collections. It’s been my passion since I was a kid. I play with a band, we’ve been playing together for four years, and we did the soundtracks of all the campaign videos [for Redemption]. Not only is it the fun part for me, but it’s what makes Redemption authentic. For us, rock ‘n’ roll is not a trend that we follow. We really believe in it. We’re legit. Then the burden is on us to interpret the genre of music we decide to use as an inspiration. But we come from a place of real appreciation, love, and knowledge of the culture that we aim to represent. It’s all a unique creative process. I write the music while I’m doing the sketches, while I’m thinking about how I’m going to take the pictures or how I’m going to shoot the video. Perhaps, technically, the end product could have been done better by another director or another musician, but at least this is coherent. We’d rather have that punk approach.”
Being that sustainability is such a core element of your brand, how have you incorporated that into this collection?
“We had a plan when we started this brand that every collection was to be more sustainable than the previous one. The most important thing [this season] is that we’ve reached a level of sustainability of around 85 percent with the whole collection. That 15 percent that is not certified sustainable is mostly the embroideries and the metallic parts of the dresses. Whereas all the rest–all the fabrics, all the dyes–are certified. For what we set out to do when we started Redemption, [that] is an achievement but we don’t consider it a goal to be reached–it’s something that we always want to improve on. Our objective is to show that you can be sustainable without sacrificing anything of your design, DNA, and the aesthetic of your brand. We still are a very rock ’n’ roll and glam-inspired brand, and that’s what we did with this collection.”
A Day at the Races is your first collection to debut at Milan Fashion Week, what was behind your decision to relocate?
“A mix of things. It’s something that we pondered for a while. The decision to go to Paris, at the beginning, was in part due to the fact that we’re 100 percent made in Italy. I always believed that ambassadors should be abroad, rather than stay at home. We established ourselves in our own niche in Paris, and it was the right time to move. Also, it’s logistically easier to stay in Milan rather than to relocate the whole company to Paris for a couple weeks. I’m very excited. It’s the first time that I get to present in front of my family and friends. I’m pretty sure they’re going to be the harsher judges and I want it that way. I miss Paris a little bit. It was an amazing experience, taught us a lot, gave us a lot, but now a different chapter.”
Amidst this unprecedented fashion month, do you have any closing thoughts, either on the state of the industry or the state of the world?
“We can do better, we should do better as a species. I see a lot of hate, I see a lot of division, I see a lot of unwillingness to change our polluting ways. And [by] polluting I don’t mean only the environment, I mean everything. As an industry, if we change our standards of employment, our standards of environmental policy, and start communicating a message of positivity, social change, and reform of the old ways that are not working, then we can do so much. But not 10 years from now–we can start tomorrow, start today. To sum it up with this collection, we set out to prove that it must be done because it can be done.”
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createdAt:Tue, 22 Sep 2020 18:55:04 +0000