Last weekend I was in Venice, Italy with Persol for their Atelier Persol launch event. The campaign invited six artists from different disciplines to create works of art centered around the theme of the Phoenix. It was the latest installment in a series of efforts by a brand that is synonymous with timeless style, elegance, craftsmanship, and heritage. It was humbling to be invited to attend and I am extremely excited to share with you a taste of the event.
Persol is definitely one of those iconic brands that many readers probably know best from Steve McQueen wearing the classic 714 model (and the similarly styled 649s) in The Thomas Crown Affair. One of the most exciting things about the Atelier Persol event, for me, was seeing how a brand that is so deeply rooted in tradition and classic style continually reinvents itself and pushes its boundaries while remaining true to its roots.
Investing in artists, including Soundwalk Collective, Loris Greaud, Giovanni Ozzola, the filmmaker Abel Ferrara, the photographer Nan Goldin, and the dancer Akram Khan, to interpret the brand’s heritage and history through the lens of their own artistic medium says a lot about what it values. The creative in me deeply appreciates that kind of support for the arts, and the results of Atelier Persol 2013 stand as proof that art can have a profound effect on our lives.
Having been involved in the arts for most of my life, I’ve been fortunate to experience a number of incredibly moving and compelling performances across a variety of disciplines. Taking all that history into account, what Akram Khan did that day ranks among the most powerful live performances I have ever witnessed. And I’m pretty sure that sentiment was universally shared among all those in attendance. I wish Rob and I had some photos of people’s faces as we walked out into the courtyard following the performance. But honestly, we were in such a state of shock, it didn’t even occur to us. If we did, though, you’d see combinations of shock, awe, and even some tears.
However, I’m glad I had the presence of mind to capture a portion of the performance to share with you. Though nothing can replace the visceral experience and impact of a live performance, even this short video clip takes me back to the exact place I was sitting and the exact state of mind I was in. That’s what I love about the arts—their ability to instantly transport you to another time and place and affect you in such a deep and meaningful way that no words can express.
Throughout the day between reveals, I got to spend time with the handful of other editors attending the event, brand representatives from Luxottica (love these girls, yes, you, Roberta and Donatella), assistants to the artists, and even some of the artists themselves. Sitting down for a conversation with the filmmaker Abel Ferrara was an experience I won’t soon forget. (Listening to Abel sing Sam Cooke on the taxi boat to the Bauers Hotel was also an experience I won’t soon forget.)
We capped off an incredibly inspiring day with a fantastic party and delicious dinner at the Bauers Hotel on Piazza San Marco. Below is a short clip from my Venice video diary that I posted on Instagram. You can check out the entire video here or on my YouTube channel.
What I Wore: Navy double breasted blazer c/o ASOS – White button down shirt by J.Crew – Black denim jeans by Levi’s – Black eyeglasses c/o Persol (PO3051-V) – Burgundy belt c/o ASOS – Pocket square by The Tie Bar (similar here) – Watch with black leather band by Timex – Houndstooth pattern socks c/o ASOS – Burgundy derby shoes c/o ASOS
Thank you once again to Persol and Luxottica for the opportunity and for showing me such a great time. Alla prossima!
And thanks, as always, for reading.
He Spoke Style
Photography by Rob McIver Photo.
Disclosure: Compensation for this post was provided by Persol. The opinions expressed herein are mine alone and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Persol.