The New York Times called Monday's Gucci showcase in Milan a "skinny pants" party, a hip catwalk-parade of men's fashions for autumn 2014. "Poetic songs and rock from King Krule and The Smiths made the soundtrack," coverage reads, "as models in baby pink pants and pretty blue jackets filled the runway."
It was a night dominated by military caps, moody tones, and an edgy rock and roll feel. In fact, the Times called it a sense of "rock and stroll"—and it was kicked off by a name very familiar to Toronto's art scene.
In many cases, the models looked as if they had just stepped out of paintings by Kris Knight, who is represented by Katharine Mulherin at her Queen West gallery and in New York City by Mulherin Pollard. But Monday's fashion fete wasn't just a matter of an artist's work suiting a broader theme. In this case, Gucci went further—calling Knight's characteristic palette the "inspiration" for much of its autumn 2014 line of clothing.
Even if you know nothing about fashion, it's difficult not to see Knight's penetrating subtlety reflected in the tweeds, European fashions, and understated autumn comforts of Gucci's 2014 catalogue. To designer Frida Gianinni, the sensual sharpness of Knight's work, as she calls it, is what does the trick. And according to a broad consensus of reporting, the result is extraordinary.
"With Canadian painter Kris Knight referenced in the show notes," reported The Guardian, "the influence of his delicate portraits of young men was evident in the colour palette. Most easily described as mid-century, duck-egg blue mixed with a putty colour, while primrose yellow and sage green were also featured. These fused with black and navy pieces to look striking but also, notably, wearable."
As many art aficionados in Toronto are keenly aware, of course, Knight and The Drake share a long, fruitful history together. For one, his work was featured in Good To See You, our fall 2011 exhibition, with his arresting take on the human face appearing in our Lounge. That dynamic continues into 2014, with Knight's work gracing our soon-to-be-released gift card covers and business cards. When you see them, you'll probably agree with Gucci about Knight's work—and that might be a bit of an understatement.
We're proud of our hometown boy making good, and proud to be working with such a head-turning talent.