Peter Pilotto’s Psychedelic Palazzo

Published June 21, 2012

Peter Pilotto and his design partner Christopher De Vos picked the gilt-laden, slightly dusty Palazzo Borghese as the stage for their happening last night to present an intricate print and beaded Resort 2013 pre-collection as this season’s guest designers of Pitti W. The duo has been working on the Pilotto website with Jonny Lu, a programming specialist and art director; and when Pitti invited them to Florence, they teamed Lu with set designer David White to turn the palazzo into a digital Pilotto pattern fun house.

White ordered a British carpet maker to duplicate Pilotto’s layered geometric prints and completely pave the palazzo’s old parquet and stone floors. “It was amazing,” said De Vos. “They printed everything in one day, showed up with the carpet in Florence, and had it laid out in hours.” Lu filled giant screens from one room to the next with his “print generator,” which he ran though his cell phone to spin out Pilotto’s resort collection patterns and models in endless variations for a visual kaleidoscope throughout the evening growing increasingly kinetic as the post-show party heated up.

Pilotto’s prints are intense in layer upon layer topped with 3-D beading for a vibrating effect. For this resort collection, the second for his young house, he combined Memphis-style geometrics with the arabesques of illuminated 16th-century manuscripts in body-hugging shapes, which made his girls look like birds of paradise. “We wanted a clash,” said Pilotto, “a confrontation of the palazzo’s classic interior with all this modern pattern.” The show was also a celebration of the way digital prints have transformed fashion. Pilotto produces his in Italy’s Como—and there’s nothing more classic and refined than that—but the digital technique means that each piece in the collection has its own precisely orchestrated print for a kind of computerized haute couture.