The Persistence of Memory


BORSALINO X AMI

LOUIS VUITTON

BURBERRY

GIORGIO ARMANI

CELINE

NANUSHKA

BERLUTI

DIOR

HERMÈS

PRADA

STEFAN COOKE

SAINT LAURENT BY ANTHONY VACCARELLO

MARGARET HOWELL

HUGO BOSS

Photography Joe Lai 

Set design Jade Boyeldieu d’Auvigny 

Styling Lune Kuipers

This article is taken from Port issue 30. To continue reading, buy the issue or subscribe here

Words Become Things

Continuing our partnership with Giorgio Armani, we have teamed up for a four-issue Commentary special. Working with leading contemporary writers to bring you incredible original work, we present here, for the third instalment, a new piece of writing from award-winning spoken word performer George the Poet. Specially commissioned for Port, the issue 30 cover star offers 10 reasons why everyone should write, celebrating how the act of articulation brings clarity, closure and coordination of intent, touching something deep within ourselves as well as those around us

GEORGE THE POET WEARS GIORGIO ARMANI SS22 THROUGHOUT
 

I’ll be honest, I’m not that articulate – especially for a poet. I’m alright when I find my rhythm, but in real conversation I spend a lot of time struggling for the next word while my sentence hangs in the balance. It’s because I’m obsessed with getting everything right. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll know how much this obsession can slow a person down.

So, I’m going to share with you 10 reasons why you should just write what’s on your mind.

   

1. You Matter

Hopefully this is obvious, but you do matter. You affect the world every day, and even if you completely avoid everything around you, your thoughts and actions still have an impact on one very important person: you. Honestly, you couldn’t lose this power if you tried. By writing what’s on your mind, you acknowledge yourself in a safe and intimate way. No one even has to know. The process of writing can often remind us of school or work – something functional, with rules. Because of this it’s easy to second-guess yourself. Is that the right wording? Am I interesting enough? Do my thoughts make sense? The truth is you can’t go wrong. Just write.

2. Writing Brings Clarity

Have you ever tried to picture a moment that hasn’t arrived yet? Something you’ve anticipated for a long time. Do you remember when that moment finally came, and you could see it up close for what it was, not what you thought it would be? That’s the same closure I get when I write. Before my words touch the page, I can only hear them internally – often half-formed and uncertain. My mind flicks through images faster than I can put words together, and a lot of these images are maybes and what ifs, but when I write, they become real. Writing allows me to turn the pages of my thought process slowly, backwards and forwards. I can really see my thoughts, and I’m thankfully reminded that they’re just moments: snapshots of my life that are as big or as small as I want them to be.

 

3. Nothing Lasts Forever

It can be hard to appreciate how temporary everything is, especially when you feel stuck, or rooted in something. But in reality, life is a process of constant change. Waves of emotion rise and fall. Seasons run their course. Ideas come and go. As intelligent beings, we are blessed with awareness and communication. That means we can feel this temporary world and capture the sensations it takes us through. Some people paint, others make music. Personally, I write. That’s the only way I can do justice to this life – I’ll never be able to make it mine forever, so I express my infatuation by writing love letters to the world called poems. Imagine a book of existence, containing everything that has ever happened. We’re in that book, and anything we write is a direct quote. Your lines immortalise the moments you couldn’t capture; your writing is the closest thing to your momentary truth. 

4. You Know More Than You Know

There is knowledge in your body that your mind can’t explain. Think about it: You don’t make your heart beat; you can’t even make yourself sneeze. From the minute you were born you started breathing, despite never having done that before, and to this day you haven’t missed a breath – even when you’re sleeping. Your body carries intuition that you don’t have to think about… so how far does this go? What else is coded inside you that your conscious mind can’t reveal? By writing, you are embarking on that journey of discovery. You might think you know what’s on your mind, and how to get it across, but the process of writing will often reveal things that you couldn’t have foreseen. Just consider that your dreams are formed by your sleeping mind sorting through your memories – long term and short term – finding random connections. It’s amazing: A whole movie occurs in your head using only your experiences, without you trying. That’s how much potential you tap into every time you write.

5. Writing Is a Way of Trusting Yourself

You’ve got this. But every time you shun your own ideas, or put off the urge to express what’s on your mind, you deny yourself. Stop it. Give yourself permission to release. Personally, I need this reminder every now and then, because, as I mentioned earlier, I always want everything to be perfect. Sometimes I have an idea for months and I basically hide from it out of fear that I’ll get it wrong. My number one way of doing this is by distracting myself with other media; TV, books and music give me a window into someone else’s world, and I stay there for as long as I can, immersing myself in other people’s thoughts to avoid my own. I usually tell myself that I’m looking for inspiration, and to an extent that’s true, but there’s a time to listen and a time to speak; a time to watch and a time to act; a time to read and a time to write. Don’t be passive; make that time by trusting yourself.

6. Words Become Things

When you write, you create. Literally, you bring something into existence – something that wouldn’t be here if you didn’t deliver it. What’s even more amazing is that this process is just the beginning. Words on a page can be the start of a plan, a story, a bucket list, a mission statement, a script, a poem – anything. I’m not just talking about artistic writing; I also mean personal, even purpose-free writing. Your words can be as public or as private as you want, the point is they lay out the blueprint for action. They coordinate your intentions by directing your thoughts down a particular path. Before you know it, you’ll notice things within you and around you that align with your writing. It could be as simple as a change in behaviour following an insight you stumbled upon while penning a diary entry. Or it could be as elaborate as an imaginary world springing up around a character you thought up. I’ve seen all this and more in my own life, so I recommend the habit of writing, because you never know where it can take you.

7. It’s Good to Let Go

We all carry things that no one else can see. Sometimes we’re aware of these things, but often we’re not. The heaviest loads usually come from events, relationships or feelings that we’re struggling with. But there’s also the stuff that builds up over time, simply because we haven’t found the right outlet for it. Writing can help with it all. By expressing yourself on paper, you start the process of laying down your baggage. It might not bring instant relief – you might need more time and additional support – but it is a self-empowering way of letting go, slowly, at your own pace. Also, for the creative within you, writing can allow you to ‘let go’ of an idea. Keeping it bottled up inside isn’t good for you or the idea; you need headspace, and your idea needs to breathe. Release it into the world and see what happens.

8. You’re Human for a Reason

Right now, we are as alive as the trees, but we live nothing like them. It’s not just the trees, though; we share this time with all sorts of life forms. They each play their part in our ecosystem – we can’t pollinate flowers like bees, or regulate the fly population like spiders. But what we can do is envision things that don’t exist yet, and bring them to life through sheer creativity. This is how humanity has grown beyond the limits imposed on our ancestors by the natural world. If we as humans didn’t lean into that instinct – that urge to chase our own imagination – then we wouldn’t have survived this long. The horseshoe crab has been around for 445 million years, and in all that time its lifestyle hasn’t changed much. Yet in just 200,000 years, humanity has transformed its prospects so drastically that we are now the only thing standing in our way. How will you contribute to this journey? You didn’t end up as a tree or a horseshoe crab… you were born into the most creative species on the planet. Feel that power and do something good with it: Write.

9. It Will All Make Sense Later

The purpose of your writing isn’t always apparent, and that’s OK. Don’t feel any pressure to make it epic every time, just have fun with it. Eventually, when you revisit your words later down the line, you’ll see something that wasn’t clear to you before. It’s an inevitable consequence of time passing: We grow and discover new parts of ourselves that reveal things about our past – things that can only be seen from a distance. This happens to me regularly; I go through old notebooks and find the seeds of thoughts, ideas and character traits that went on to shape my life. On that note, here’s a tip: Always date your writing – it helps you keep track of your evolution.

10. You Never Know What Your Words Mean to Someone Else

Let’s say you don’t share a single thing you’ve written with anyone else for as long as you live. OK. But what about after? You won’t be here forever, and you’ll leave behind people that care about you. Sorry to get dark for a second, but this is one of my deepest motivations. When your loved ones can’t speak to you anymore, they’ll want anything that connects them to your memory. I strongly believe that your (preferably handwritten) thoughts are some of the greatest gifts you can leave behind. You might even reach a generation that you’ll never meet. Personally, every time I write, I think about my unborn audience. Future eyes that will pass over these words, maybe amidst a frustrating search for answers, or maybe just out of pure curiosity. At the same time, there’s also the chance that you’ll join me on my journey. You could decide to share your writing with the world while you’re still here. This can be a beautiful thing, but the magnitude of it may not hit you until your words reach a stranger. People often ask me what my greatest achievement is, and honestly, it’s the constant connection I feel with those who reach out to tell me that my words have improved their lives. That’s my highest contribution to the world, and I wish that feeling of completion on everyone.

George the Poet wears Giorgio Armani SS22 throughout

Photography Jessica Madavo 

Styling Carolina Augustin

Grooming Tyler Johnston at One Represents using Harry’s and Babyliss Pro

Assistants Ed Philips, Adam Lin and Sakura Belkin

Production The Production Factory

Special thanks to Sarah Dawes

This article is taken from Port issue 30. To continue reading, buy the issue or subscribe here

Milan Fashion Week 2018

Port‘s fashion editor picks the best looks from Milan’s Spring Summer 2019 show

There was as much talk about the mosquitos as there was about fashion this year in Milan, which suggests the agenda and collections were perhaps not as engaging as they have been. Yet, as a relative newcomer to the Milan schedule, I still got my kicks, with Neil Barrett and Ermenegildo Zegna being particular favourites. For me, these two shows are up in the highlights of season that, in Milan, was characterised by the use of yellow, a sophisticated backlash to street-wear, and Zegna’s ‘new suit’.

Neil Barrett – LOOK 26

A pioneer of sports-luxe and the go-to for directional tailoring, Neil Barrett this season moved away from his predominately monochrome shows of the past to explore ‘Sea/Flowers’ in a precise collection that was punchy with yellow and print. The colour play was apparent from the start as guests entered the space through yellow rubber strips hung from the ceiling, diffusing the light in the industrial space and creating a sensation of being underwater. Florals were managed in a modern and masculine way – some printed as if medals and here magnified to create an all over-print on this beautifully laid-back coat. 

PRADA – LOOK 29 

Taking the mundane and making it desirable, Prada played its card for the reserved rather than the flash-pack this season. Sat on inflatable cubes that were lit with futuristic purple hue, guests saw an army of nerds descend. This zipped knit – reminiscent of retro skiwear and alpine adventures – was paired with the collection’s signature high-waisted belted trousers in vivid yellow and an oversized trapper hat, and perfectly captures Miuccia Prada’s playful exploration of both character and form. 

ZEGNA – LOOK 25 

Blurring the line between sophistication and streetwear, Ermenegildo Zegna reached out to the post-millennials without leaving its core audience behind. Set against the often-overlooked grandeur of Palazzo Mondadori – conceived by Brazilian architect Oscar Nieymar – both collection and setting told the story of how sharpness could be married with functional ease. Alessandro Satori’s cuffed trousers were once again present, paired here with a printed boxy shirt over a hardly-there mesh top, giving the sense of weightlessness that Satori desired. 

GIORGIO ARMANI – LOOK 71

Proving he is a veteran designer who will not be deterred by the banging of the trend drum for streetwear or influencer-friendly clothes, Giorgio Armani delivered a simple yet fluid collection, which was easy to understand and trust. Taking place in the familiar setting of the Armani Silos, on the usual cast of statuesque models, we saw the return of the double-breasted jacket and a perfect wardrobe for modern nomads, including this relaxed ethnic-printed silk shirt and easy to wear board shorts. 

DSQUARED2 – LOOK 32

Maintaining their maverick reputation, the Caten Twins combined an unlikely mix of athleisure, military and undone corsetry to create a collection that felt both very on-trend and very them. Set in industrial warehouse space, with it’s ominous red-light runway, it were as if we had been transported to the heart of clubland in some dystopian future, watching the club kids walk by in their heavily layered attire. More subtle looks such as this oversized track-top and pants in heritage checks (which would usually be reserved for tailoring) with highlighter neon stripes, made it both interesting and wearable. 

New Talent

For years Milan has been resolutely focused on the established fashion houses, with fresh graduates in the city being encouraged to quickly join the most esteemed brand they can find. So it was satisfying to see the capital of luxury fashion begin to offer support for emerging talent through initiatives set up to nurture new designers and their labels. There is a new spirit of youth in the city. 

One such initiative is the Camera Nazionale della Moda prize, now in it’s fourth year. This season Port sat on the judging panel alongside leading industry figures – including Diesel founder and chairman of OTB Renzo Rossi, Angela Missoni, the creative director of Missoni, and Sara Sozzani Maino, deputy editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia – to decide that Mauro Muzio Medaglia of Accademia Costume and Moda was to receive the mentorship scheme and 10,000€ towards his brand. 

“The prize I received took me by surprise,” Medaglia said after the presentation. “It has been an honour to receive it and I will work to transform this opportunity in a solid base for my future. The support I received from Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana was very important, not only because it helped me in the development of my collection, but also because it is an endorsement for my career.”

Medaglia’s sculptural touch and attention to tailoring swung the decision in his favour. A palette of soft-hues in contrasting fabrics were delicately layered with a finesse the excels the experience of this designer, and the silhouettes, with their exaggerated form, added the final contemporary note to the collection. 

“Growing new talents is part of the mission of the Association and this event has a key role to confer visibility to the work and talent of the future generations,” said president of the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana, Carlo Capasa. “This year the CNMI celebrated the 4th edition of Milano Moda Graduate and had the privilege to open the Men’s Fashion Week. With this, we wanted to underline the importance of supporting new talents, promoting the creativity and capacity of the most merit-worthy students in the Italian fashion schools that are the future of fashion. The event fulfils the CNMI’s desire to stimulate a dialogue between the most important luxury brands and the new generation of designers, who bring fresh perspectives to the fashion system. “

Runway illustrations Jayma Sacco

Reflections

As Bottega Veneta launch the fifth and sixth instalment in their series of films for Spring/Summer 2018, Port speaks to the man behind them – one of the most experienced art directors in the business, Fabien Baron – about the ever changing nature of media

Reflections, a six part film anthology for Bottega Veneta’s Spring/Summer 2018 campaign, is the latest chapter of the ‘Art of Collaboration’, a project set-up by the fashion house’s creative director Tomas Maier in 2001. Designed to promote partnerships between Bottega Veneta and great artistic talents, their latest collaborator – following in the wake of Jurgen Teller, Ryan McGinley and Nan Goldin – is the celebrated French art director and editor, Fabien Baron.

Baron began his media career in 1982 as art director for Barneys in New York and has gone on to direct celebrated campaigns for Calvin Klein, Giorgio Armani and Burberry, as well as working at Italian Vogue, French Vogue, Interview Magazine and Harper’s Bazaar, during the vital time when publications began to make the painful shift towards digital media. Now CCO of Baron & Baron, a boutique advertising agency, Baron spoke to Port from his office in New York about the collaboration with Bottega Veneta, how media has evolved during his time in the industry, and what images mean in the age of Instagram.

Fabien Baron. Photography Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott

How did the collaboration with Bottega Veneta come about?

We wanted to see how we could communicate a fashion brand in the technological age. We decided the best approach would be film. Fashion is always communicated through print, which is still effective, but I think it’s important for fashion to be accessible in other media. Bottega Veneta is about storytelling and film is the best medium to develop narrative.

Digital media has emerged during your career. How have you seen things change?

I think with social media the quality has gone down. Everything has to be accessible, everyone is posting selfies. It feels like all the brands are posting really low quality content. Now some are turning around and starting to realise they need to put in the same effort as with print. When communication was about print, luxury brands used it to make a big statement for the season and it was the way they built their DNA. Image was really important and everything was so carefully presented. On social media, people want ‘real things’ so now the brands are showing a side of themselves that is different and not always the best. But they feel that that’s what they have to do. If it continues that way they will lose their own DNA.

Aurora

Have you had to adapt and change, or are you essentially doing the same as you did before?

I’ve always been someone who works with different mediums anyway. I was doing film twenty five years ago, while others have only just begun to use it because they realised that’s what people want now. I know what I’m talking about with film. I know what’s possible and what doesn’t work.

I’ve also adapted to digital because I’m very curious. Early on I looked at it as a thing of the future and predicted that print would lose power to digital. I’m not surprised that’s where we are now. We can tweak a concept slightly to fit different platforms, so with Bottega we wanted to make a narrative through film but when you look at the prints it still feels like film because of the way it’s presented in strips.

Vertigo

How do you see the relationship between print and digital going in the future? 

I think digital is only an addition and I don’t believe that print is dead. I think it will stay pretty much the way we are now. Maybe print will get a bit smaller and more specific, more classic. Print will always have a certain quality because it’s a still image, but we need to be careful that these still images retain an iconic presence because nowadays we are bombarded with imagery.

The images should be consistent and recognisable – brands are too quick to try different things for a new trend on Instagram but is that the smart thing to do? Everybody and their mothers can do the back and forth Boomerang effect, it’s not really very smart. What is the brand’s message? And how can they communicate it in the best way possible that’s adapted to multiple channels of expression? I’ve been thinking about that a lot.

bottegaveneta.com

Giorgio Armani SS17: Photo Essay

A classic Armani collection of relaxed tailoring and leisurely summer attire in shades of blue, grey and sand brings the Milan shows to an end

Photography by Claudia Zalla