INTO: Palm Angels and Moncler Immortalize a Moment of Museum Vandalism
“Into” is a series dedicated to objects, artworks, garments, exhibitions, and all orders of things that we are into — and there really isn’t a lot more to it than that. Today: Thom Bettridge makes a case for Moncler’s new, very shiny, and very expensive collection with Palm Angels.
In October, 2014, an incident of graffiti vandalism occurred at the Whitney Museum of American Art’s final exhibition at its Marcel Breuer building on Madison Avenue. The show was a mid-career retrospective of the artist Jeff Koons, and the enormous black tag was placed on a wall right behind Hanging Heart, a sculpture that once broke the private record for work by a living artist when an edition of it sold at Sotheby’s for a reported $23M. Less than five years later, just days after Koons’s Rabbit broke that very record again by hammering for $91M at Christie’s, Moncler released a collaborative collection of jackets and apparel with the Milanese streetwear brand Palm Angels. “That event inspired it,” Palm Angels creative director Francesco Ragazzi told me in a dressing room at the collection’s New York launch party. “I thought about Moncler as this super pure thing, like an art gallery.” Created as part of the Italian outerwear brand’s “Genius” series of collaborations, Palm Angels’s capsule features garments with details that are hand-graffitied onto a hyper-shiny—very Koons-like—version of Moncler’s signature coat material.
I’m into Moncler x Palm Angels’s capsule because it very concisely emblematizes the strange membrane that exists between contemporary art and streetwear—one where the latter thrives on making ever-more elaborate souvenirs dedicated to the former. In the case of Palm Angels, a brand that operates through turning familiar fashion items on their heads, this takes place through the détournement of both contemporary art and high fashion itself. For those of us who cannot afford a priceless artwork—or yearn for its destruction—we will always have these not-priceless-but-still-very-expensive puffer jackets.