Courtesy of the subject; Bieber: BackgridGetty Images
Style Points is a weekly column about how fashion intersects with the wider world.
If you’re seeing angels everywhere right now, it’s not a symptom of divine hallucinations—it’s Fiorucci. The cherubim-branded label that once dressed Madonna and Cher can now be seen on Hailey Bieber, Miley Cyrus and TikTok star Addison Rae, who favor its baby tees and bucket hats. The podcast Red Scare recently riffed on the logo for its merch. Rediscovered It Girl author Eve Babitz’s book on the brand is currently going for $750 on eBay. And vintage gems from the brand are all over The Real Real, Vestiare Collective, Grailed, and Depop. Last month, a collaboration on a capsule with Kith gave it a new cachet and sold out in a few days.
Daniel Fletcher is no stranger to Fiorucci obsession. As a student at Central Saint Martins, he tore Fiorucci ads out of old issues of i-D and plastered them on his mood boards. Now, at 30, he’s the brand’s artistic director, channeling that nostalgia for those in his age cohort and younger. The supercharging of nostalgia right now, he posits, “is driving the interest in the brand from a younger consumer,” who might know it through their parents’ hand-me-downs or their own thrifted finds. For example, his friend, The Crown star Emma Corrin, posted a picture on Instagram of herself wearing a vintage angel- and star-covered Fiorucci T-shirt she got as a kid, so he’s thinking about re-making it.
Besides its sentimental appeal, Fiorucci’s associations with IRL revelry may be giving it a new allure in a time of social distancing. Fletcher—an alum of Louis Vuitton and Burberry who was the runner-up on Netflix’s Next in Fashion—showed his debut collection last year, and is particularly mindful of Fiorucci’s strong connection to nightlife and to all things experiential, particularly the way its stores epitomized the idea of shopping as entertainment. He tells me that Andy Warhol used to stop at the 59th St. boutique every day on his way to the Factory since it had the best espresso in the city. The artist Maripol was the store’s manager, and the brand held parties at Studio 54. Later, Sofia Coppola and Marc Jacobs would hang out there. Re-creating the mood of what he calls “the ultimate party brand,” has not been easy right now, though when the supposed post-pandemic return to Roaring Twenties excess arrives, his girls and guys will be dressed for it. The designs, then and now, lean towards the maximalist, with a naughty hint of bad taste that flavors them like (as Diana Vreeland would say) a touch of paprika. Like much of what we saw on the runway this season, they’re the antithesis of sober recession dressing, suggesting that even if we’re not headed to parties yet, we desperately want to dress like it.
Fletcher has been combing through the archives, which he calls a “treasure trove,” but he’s careful to design with the present day in mind. “If we just re-create the ’70s looks,” he says, “we’re not moving the brand forward.” One key part of that forward motion is making it more sustainable. Founder Elio Fiorucci introduced vinyl into the collection, back when plastics were considered the ultimate in go-go futuristic fun, “but now we know that, actually, plastics are not the future,” so Fletcher has replaced it with apple leather for the same shiny effect with a much lower planetary footprint.
Another update: clever riffs on the classic logo. The angels, like Polo Bears, come in infinite varieties: scuba diving, racing, Arctic exploring. Fletcher has been releasing season-specific Angels with an eye to creating collectibles: “I think that works for Fiorucci, that tongue-in-cheek, not-taking-itself-too-seriously approach.” And amid lockdown, he’s working to channel the brand’s history of both experiential modes of showing, and its fondness for working with artists (Kenny Scharf and Angel Ortiz were once in its stable.) Fletcher bills his new collection, bowing next month, as a cheeky virtual jaunt to Italy that will satisfy his customers’ wanderlust, and he will be collaborating with the artist Lakwena Maciver on a pre-spring capsule, one of many upcoming projects he hints at.
Early on in his appointment, Fletcher was asked if he intended to hold runway shows, and he said, refreshingly, No. “I don’t think that feels true to what Fiorucci is. It was never about a high-fashion runway show. It was always about nightlife, stores, and the way they brought their collaborators together. This anything-goes, hedonistic world that is Fiorucci.” In January of last year, as he was kicking off his tenure, he did hold one big party, which he remembers with acute Before Times nostalgia. “It was absolutely wild, it was so packed,” he says. “That felt like the last big thing we were able to do before we went into lockdown. I can’t wait until we’re all vaccinated and we can have a party again.”
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