An exhibition dedicated to the influential work of C.P. Company founder Massimo Osti opened in London last week, in association with Jacket Required tradeshow and Proper magazine. “The Massimo Osti Archive”, which remained open to the public during the tradeshow (26-27 Jan.), brought together select pieces, including apparel and memorabilia from C.P. Company, Left Hand and Stone Island – three of the brands Osti founded. To further nurture the legacy of the late designer, the second edition of the book Ideas From Massimo Osti has been released.
We caught up with the icon’s son, Lorenzo, after a talk he gave to a full house of Osti enthusiasts at Jacket Required tradeshow on Friday 27th January.
How did the idea behind the archive exhibition come about? And why did you decide to hold it in the UK?
Since the work of my father is so celebrated in the UK, I’ve wanted to arrange something in the country for a long time. The idea behind the exhibition took shape when Mark Smith and Neil Summers from Proper Magazine visited the archives a while back. We invited them to pick pieces of their choice from the vast collection, as my perspective might not be the best for the UK industry. They settled for some of the goggle-adorned classics as well as more recent products and even a few samples from projects that were never commercially produced.
Massimo Osti’s creativity was so broad. What strand of your father’s talents has influenced contemporary fashion most?
Most designers and brands bring in different people for different tasks, whereas my father did everything himself – from design to pattern cutting and textile development to the shoot for the catalogue. He shot the photos in the studio using friends as models, so he was able to deliver the product and the communication around it in a very concise and convincing way. I think this has contributed to his influence as a designer. The new generation of designers should note the creative process behind his work; he invented a new way of working on a garment. Massimo was not a typical fashion designer; he created design objects with focus on functionality and as such his approach had more in common with industrial design than fashion.
Tell us a little about one of the pieces – the Volvo overall was a bit of a surprise…
I love the Volvo overall. It’s part of one of my favorite projects. My father was approached in the late 1980s by Volvo to design all the workwear uniforms for the car manufacturer’s factory staff. But for some reason it never bore fruit, which is a real shame. As a designer inspired by workwear, it was very exciting for my father to get the opportunity to create actual gear for the Volvo factory workers. Since it was never produced, the piece you saw in the exhibition is just a sample and we still have all the sketches in the archive.