TOUR AND EXPLORE THE WORLD WITH MINI FASHION.
MINI, in partnership with The Woolmark Company, will challenge expectations of travel with a new, emotive MINI FASHION capsule collection at Pitti Uomo 94. The collection, titled FIELD NOTES, will explore and present inspiring perspectives of travel. Designers Liam Hodges (UK), STAFFONLY (China), PH5 (USA), and Rike Feurstein (Germany) have the daring creativity needed for such a forward-thinking collection. Their talents are the perfect complement to MINI and The Woolmark Company’s common focus on design, quality and innovation.
A kaleidoscope of youth tribes and facets of masculinity come alive in Liam Hodges’ poetic and often gritty vision. Drawing inspiration from the unapologetic and rebellious spirit of modern subcultures, Hodges creates utilitarian clothes for urban adventures. From hip-hop skatewear and UK streetwear to post-punk influences, the London-based designer channels defiance and disruption into his clothes. Much like Hodges’ heroes and influences, his creations conform to no rules, no restrictions. Baggy silhouettes, signature patchworked workwear and DIY touches tell the story of someone who effortlessly navigates the world and steers clear of the ordinary.
Liam Hodges Inspiration
Even to first-time visitors, New York feels familiar. Yellow chequered cabs punctuate every block. Plumes of steam rise from the ground. Metallic behemoths shape the famed skyline. It’s easy to feel like you’re on a film set – the likeness is uncanny. When Liam Hodges returned to New York as an adult for the first time, hazy childhood memories mixed with literary images engulfed him in the city’s signature magic. But what got him this time was the energy pulsating from every corner. “Something I won’t forget is being up on the rooftop of Rockefeller Center during sunset and seeing the Empire State Building. Half of it was bright orange and still in daylight, while the other half had already entered darkness. Quite an amazing thing to experience.” By collecting small keepsakes, like a ticket to the Met, photos of Art Deco buildings, coasters from bars – and maybe a couple of glasses too – Liam collaged snippets of all the stories he encountered along the way. Translated into clothes, his mementos appear as visual cues from DIY-esque prints, to the use of denim as a classic Americana emblem and checked overcoats reminiscent of Wall Street.
When thinking of coding, knitwear is not necessarily the first thing that springs to mind. For Mijia Zhang and Wei Lin, the designers and founders of the contemporary knitwear brand PH5, computer programming is key to their intricate patterns and innovative treatment of yarns. Slick and structured, the silhouettes hinge upon architectural forms executed in sophisticated, elaborate textiles. In their hands, femininity acquires a different meaning. Vibrant colours mix with graphic shapes, and commanding futuristic touches flirt with androgyny. From their home base in New York, PH5 question the traditional perception of knitwear, entering an unlimited playground for experimentation with forms, materials and highly advanced techniques.
There’s such a retro liveliness to Miami’s Art Deco district that when first seeing its distinctive pastel-hued buildings, it’s impossible not to feel transported to a bygone era of escapism and sunshine. Miami and Art Deco are like saying Miami and hedonism – they simply go hand in hand. And like everything else, the tropical city does this style in its own, unparalleled way. In this colour-drenched quarter, playful geometry, jazzy typeface and all shades of candy reign supreme. No wonder PH5’s Mijia Zhang and Wei Lin found heaps of inspiration for their characteristic graphic aesthetic. “We were naturally drawn to these unique architectural forms, particularly looking at how light and dark are captured in their patterns and the juxtaposition between soft tones and hard lines.” With Miami’s beach atmosphere and the heat’s ubiquitous buzzing sound in mind, the duo designed their FIELD NOTES look using innovative sheer wool for that light, summer feeling.
Rike Feurstein’s headpieces are a testament to an unexpected melange: meticulous craftsmanship done by hand, married with cutting-edge aesthetics. Straddling the line between art and fashion, her hats reveal a painter’s fascination with form and an eagerness for experimentation. After honing her craft alongside renowned milliners, Feurstein absorbed traditional techniques and started playing with classic designs in her Berlin atelier, rendering them more sculptural and minimalist with a hint of whimsy. Intricate colour combinations, elaborate shapes and opulent materials redefine millinery, propelling it into a modern era of artisanal impact.
Rike Feurstein Inspiration
Inside the Catherine Palace near St. Petersburg, a baroque chamber of unapologetic charm seduces even the most ardent minimalism devotee. Embellished with amber, gold leaf and mirrors, the Amber Room commands full attention. Sure, you might feel a little light-headed stepping in, but once your eyes adjust, the ornate panels reveal glimmering textures and intricate artisanship. During a visit there, Rike discovered a new world of sensory experience within the four walls of the jewel-encrusted room. “This place is captivating. Its endless hues of amber go from light beige to dark scarlet. And they always change depending on how they catch the sunlight. There was a spark between us.” For Rike, the Amber Room represents a complicated amalgam of historic periods – from the city’s aristocratic past, to its Soviet years and lively present. Those contradictions come to life in the form of defiant headpieces merging noble pedigree with hammer and sickle. Historic fusion plays with confusion.
Steeped in storytelling, STAFFONLY adopts an off-kilter approach to menswear that juxtaposes geekiness with more poetic elements. Based in Shanghai – a city booming with progressive young talent – the female duo behind the clothing line meld technology with innovative textiles and a tongue-in-cheek attitude. The city’s infectious dynamism is instilled in their designs and sharp structures. Shimo Zhou and Une Yea envision a wearer with abundant curiosity and a witty sense of humour, willing to break boundaries and explore unknown aspects of the world. Through their energetic expression and dedication to showmanship, they embody the new wave of China’s independent designers.
Right in the heart of London, Greenwich Park is somewhat of an oddity. It often seems hard to believe that such an idyllic landscape exists in one of the liveliest metropolises. For Shimo Zhou and Une Yea, the park has been an ongoing source of inspiration and was an essential urban escape while studying in London. “It’s hard to forget that place, the feeling of being there: the scent of freshly cut grass, the taste of tea and scones – people sharing a peaceful moment with their friends. It’s so refreshing. You want to stay there forever.” But what’s left the most profound imprint in their memories is the park’s dazzling green – the sensation of being enveloped in its abundance.