Picture this: A Wall Street guy gets fired, or rather, gets so angry with the system, he quits the game and decamps to Southern California. And through the weed smoke and sunny lethargy of it all, he finds that his new life doesn’t totally wipe out his old demons. He’s still mad with corporate everywhere. Occupy Venice Beach.
Such was the message behind Francesco Ragazzi’s latest Palm Angels collection. The 2-year-old brand, which is based in Milan but showed here for the first time this evening, has been snowballing in popularity in the hype-fueled, hazy world of fashion merch. Troye Sivan wore a Spring Palm Angels “rainbow” hoodie last year to much social media fanfare; in Milan last night, Ragazzi did a surprise drop of free sweatshirts. “Two minutes,” he said, for 200 pieces to fly off the trucks. (Those revealed his new logo, a caution-sign triangle with a palm tree, as per.)
And before naysayers bemoan yet-another-streetwear brand, remember that Ragazzi knows his proverbial shit: The man started Palm Angels after photographing a book of the same name around skateboarding culture in Los Angeles. What he does is convincing, if not downright compelling.
Fall had lots of ska-era flares on logo-stamped pants, or denim. Hardware, either Old English P’s or A’s, swung from zipped-all-the-way-up tops. Bloodshot eyes stared ahead from behind narrow sunglasses with unforgiving Croakies. There were subtle nods to the old banker’s life, too, like gold buttons traditionally reserved for navy blazers, only this time on a fuzzy plaid topcoat. Rasta-striped shirts, giant text lines across the shoulders, stoner dad hats, and cool cross-body bags rounded out Ragazzi’s defense—and, even if it’s not everybody’s preferred strain, one can’t help but to smile at the audacity and the draw of his Angels.