Stone Island and CP Company’s Massimo Osti Exhibition

Stone Island and CP Company’s Massimo Osti Exhibition

Massimo Osti, founder of Stone Island and C.P. Company, is the Godfather of Sportswear. On the 26th and 27th of January, Jacket Required – a trade show for buyers and members of the press – put on an exhibition in conjunction with Proper Mag showcasing Massimo’s design philosophy using unique pieces from the Osti Archive, plus an exclusive interview with his son Lorenzo. Though Massimo died in 2005, his legacy lives on. We spoke to Neil from Proper Mag to discover the story behind the exhibition.

How did the exhibition come about?
For Issue 19 of Proper Magazine we flew over to Bologna and did a feature on the Massimo Osti Archive and an interview with his son, Lorenzo Osti. In between trying on priceless Stone Island capes and ski boots, we discovered that Lorenzo was keen for the archive to be seen by more people and for the work of his father to be acknowledged and appreciated by a wider audience. A few months after the issue came out, we were discussing ideas with the team who run Jacket Required and pitched them the idea of putting on an exhibition featuring key pieces from the Osti archive.

When did the passion for Osti design start and what drew you to his designs?
I think for me it started around the late 80s and early 90s when a lot of the bands I was into wore Stone Island and C.P. Company. Though it wasn’t something I could necessarily afford or find back then, it certainly sewed a seed from an aesthetic perspective and created a lifelong love of well-designed Italian jackets that cost at least a week’s wages.

Tell us about the collection. When do they date from?
Some of the military pieces in the collection in Bologna date back to the 1940s, possibly further, though. I think the oldest piece we featured in the exhibition was probably the deerskin C.P.  Company down jacket which came out in either 1979 or 1980.

What are your stand out pieces?
It might sound weird, but the overalls he made for Volvo never fails to blow my mind. Just because it’s so good and not what you’d expect – which is what makes it stand out. It’s too hard to choose anything else as literally everything in that archive is noteworthy. We could have done an entire exhibition on the Stone Island Marina range which is a personal favourite of mine.

Are there any elusive pieces that didn’t make it to the exhibition?
Literally hundreds. It was a difficult task, but in the end we went for the crowd pleasers as we knew that most people would appreciate them and only a handful of collectors would complain. Which of course they did! You can’t please everyone, can you?

If Massimo was around now what would you like to ask him?
I’d like to ask him how he feels about his clothing being such an important part of British culture. When he was designing, he was far too focused (on designing) to be aware of the impact that his designs had on us.

Any plans a foot to take the exhibition elsewhere?
We’d like to bring it to Manchester, then maybe New York.

Shop our Stone Island and C.P. Company collections here.

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