- TextTed Stansfield
At Random Identities’ A/W20 show, staged as part of Pitti Uomo in Florence, a host of Stefano Pilati’s friends and family took to the runway, including MJ Harper, Lux Gillespie and James Jeanette
Last night, in Florence, Italy, Stefano Pilati staged his Autumn/Winter 2020 show for his new brand Random Identities, marking both the arrival of the label on the fashion week stage and triumphant return of the designer doing what he does best.
Held in an old train station to the north of the city, the runway was bathed in red light, with electronic music pulsing through the air, immediately transporting the audience to the place Pilati now calls home: Berlin. And, as the show began, the city appeared well-represented in the show’s casting, which comprised the designer’s adopted family.
“I cast a mix of people who are part of my family and my team,” he told Another Man. “Fatima, Le1f, Marquet, MJ Harper, Roman, the 10-year-old son of my close friend Flora [Starkey] – his name is Rock – also Raya, who I discovered on Instagram, alongside some models. It is necessary to show all of these different types of people who inspire me.”
James Jeanette also modelled, along with Lux Gillespie – the 15-year-old son of Primal Scream frontman and former Another Man cover star Bobby Gillespie and Another Man contributing fashion director Katy England – in what was his runway debut.
For many, this was their introduction to the world of Random Identities, the first independent venture from Stefano Pilati, best known for his work as head designer of Yves Saint Laurent from 2004 until 2012, as well as his roles at Prada, Miu Miu and Ermenegildo Zegna. First revealed in 2017, the brand has gained attention for its unorthodox, ‘digital-first’ approach to fashion, focusing on accessible pricing, digital sales and customer feedback, with Pilati describing collections as “ready-to-wear primed for our digitised age”.
Last night, however, marked the brand’s first official fashion week show.
“Random Identities is a proposal, my proposal, with a fluid, versatile approach, to identity and the necessity of feeling that one needs define oneself but without needing to mark oneself,” says Pilati, introducing the label in his own words.
“Time and its relativity has been the starting point in conceiving a fashion show that presents garments already on sale and sold; garments that I will sell for the occasion; and garments that I will sell in the coming months in a post-production system that includes marketing as well as anything else relevant to the brand’s strategy,” he continues, speaking on the origins of the A/W20 collection.
“I haven’t gone along with the inter-seasonality created for a mobile modus vivendi, hence the freedom to create and produce my fashion which has always been recognised, as timeless, while also in continuous evolution.”
At the show, clothes were menswear-led, though of course not exclusively for men, and inspired by the designer’s own personal style; they were refined but forward-thinking and certainly wearable, rendered in a monochromatic colour palette punctuated with red. The bra shirts – fitted with bras comprised of strings of crystals – were a highlight and now feel like a Random Identities signature (the design has appeared in previous collections, as well as on the A/W19 cover of Another Man, worn by Victor Polster).
The show closed with MJ Harper, wearing a flowing, brightly coloured poncho, followed by Pilati himself, modelling a luxuriant camel coat, white trousers and black boots – to whoops, cheers and applause.
“That we are here,” says Pilati on what this show represents for Random Identities. “The work speaks for itself.”