The project. The uniform combines functionality and formal quality in mass production; it makes it possible to render individuals identical without distinguishing class or wealth. Through modern eyes, the curators take a look at the uniform as the prototype of men’s clothing showing the technical and formal perfection of military wear as one of the most advanced points of reference for contemporary fashions. They analyze the expressive character of the uniform and its myth removed from the military context and devoured by fashion’s creative processes and the anti-utopias from the end of World War II to the present, or as metabolized by pop culture and critically used by art.
The exhibition. The venue is the Stazione Leopolda, a place of contemporary culture in the city of Florence. The exhibition area, designed by the Gruppo A12 will showcase the various declinations of the Uniform: fashion, art, cinema, photo-journalism and pop culture in parallel and tangent spaces. On the one hand the arrangement presents the mental structure of the project, on the other it creates an explosion of the meanings of each piece and item.
The curators use and transform the most diverse materials through a procedure of cultural cannibalism: from textiles to advertising, from icon clothing to the symbolic images, from uniforms to records, from comics to films that document cultural transformations and the use of the uniform from an instrument of order to a symbol of transgression. Using the uniform, the exhibit traces the incredible path of a system as complex as fashion from the immediate post-war period to today through some of its most emblematic actors. At the same time, it features the protagonists of contemporary research who used the idea of the uniform as the vehicle for launching the debate on the language of social and esthetic symbols.
The protagonists of the exhibition are: the designers: Giorgio Armani, Avirex, John Bartlett, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Pierre Cardin, Comme des Garçons, C.P. Company/Stone Island, Corpo 9, Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, Gianfranco Ferrè, Foster, Jean Paul Gaultier, Gucci, Helmut Lang, Donna Karan, Krizia, Maharishi, Missoni, Moschino, Prada, Rayban - Luxottica, Yves Saint Laurent, Raf Simons, Paul Smith, Sportswear Company, Steven Sprouse, Valentino, Gianni Versace and Yohji Yamamoto; the artists : Matthew Barney, Vanessa Beecroft, Lina Bertucci, Joseph Beuys, Clegg & Guttmann, Phil Collins, Rineke Dijkstra, Do-Ho Suh, Sarah Lucas, Robert Mapplethorpe, Paul McCarthy & Mike Kelley, Cady Noland, Daniel Oates, Catherine Opie, Jack Pierson, John Paul Pietrus, Paola Pivi, Collier Schorr, Andres Serrano, Alexander Sokurov, Penelope Spheeris, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Wolfgang Tillmans, Rosemarie Trockel, Piotr Uklanski, Inez Vam Lamsweerde, Jeff Wall; the publications: Arena, Arena Homme Plus, Dutch, Esquire, George, GQ, i-D, L’Uomo Vogue, Line, Nova, The Face, Vanity and Vogue.