FRANCESCO RAGAZZI PORTRAIT
Los Angeles, with its lifestyles spanning from that of hyper-glossy celebrities to skate park youth, has become a breeding ground for fashion. Creatives from every industry- tech, beauty, art, design- have warmed up to the City of Angels, celebrating it as a wellspring of inspiration, a sun-washed frontier for the creative pioneer. A true visionary indeed, challenging the conventions of standard gender dressing and leading the way with innovative imagery, whilst famed for the rejuvenation of the tracksuit, Francesco Ragazzi is taking the world of luxury streetwear by storm. At 31 years old, he is first and foremost a passionate and talented photographer with a clear and modern vision- a vision that positioned him at the forefront of luxury and commercial fashion for the last 10 years, in the role of Art Director at Italian fashion powerhouse Moncler. He has also earned fame in the sports world for his book, ‘Palm Angels,’ which is comprised of large-format photographs of skaters in Venice Beach and Manhattan Beach, capturing the essence of LA’s skateboarding scene and the raw sensibility of its intersection between the sport and fashion.Shot in the spirit of the legendary Z-boys of Dogtown, Ragazzi o ers readers a modern-day glimpse of the longstanding sport, with foreword written by Pharrell Williams, ‘Skateboard P.’ Ragazzi founded his label in 2015 combining his love of skateboarding, photography and tongue-in- cheek design.His designs can be described as an assortment of upscale, skateboard-inspired apparel and accessories, that happens when he mixes his Italian sartorial background with the laid back vibes. You might say that his collections take you to a world in which you might wear a reinvented sporty suit while smoking a joint and sipping a drink in a Milanese bar, don’t you think?
Let’s start with the name. Why Palm Angels?
It all started with the first photo I took of a skater with blonde hair who seemed to “ fly” through the air lit by the sun underneath a palm tree during one of my trips to the City of Angels.It was a dazzling vision.I also once took a photo of a palm tree enveloped in a band of fire, that photo was used as a press image for the Fall/Winter 2017 collection.
The inspiration comes from California, the sports and skating world- how do you find new sparks of inspiration every season?
The brand always takes from key elements of the Californian lifestyle seen through Italian eyes.When you always live in the same place, you don’t notice what other people see when they are just visiting, like the palm trees were for me. The inspiration comes from lots of tiny details, also and mostly from daily life, like shopping at Walmart and Costco.
One of your symbols is the marijuana leaf- why did you choose it?
In some ways it is really a part of Los Angeles, the smell is everywhere, it permeates the streets of Venice Beach. It’s not taboo like it is Italy.
After Paris, you choose to show on the runway of Milan. In your opinion, is Italy ready for this sporty invasion?
I would like it to gain ground. For two seasons now I have chosen to show the collection in my birth city, to shake things up a bit. We got over 300 publicity posters and sent trucks to hand out merchandising for the brand in the most important gathering points in the city to let people know about the time and place we were projecting a video on the outside of buildings. It was a way to evoke interest and get in touch with the public in a direct way.
What does elegance mean for you?
Something that roots in the past.The Spring/Summer 2017 collection drew from youth culture in the 1970s, populated with style icons like Jimi Hendrix in an evocative way that exudes the expressive freedom and the spirit of pure energy of those years with marijuana leaf and kamasutra print motifs.It’s refined streetwear with a tailoring vibe that reflects the mood of the new generation.
Music and fashion continue to merge- if you had to name a musical genre or musician that represents Palm Angels’ style, which or who would it be?
Without a doubt A$AP ROCKY.
You work a lot toward collaboration between brands and various industries and levels. Do you have something in the works?
When its the right match, collaborations turn out great; I don’t believe in forcing anything.We’ll see what other opportunities come up.
Next steps and future ambitions?
I hope with all my might that I can make my brand grow organically.
Photographer| Edoardo DeRuggiero
Stylist| Nicholas Galletti
Hair| Azumi Higaki
Make up| Constance Haond
Model| Philip LDB @ New Madison
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