Since its inaugural presentation at Pitti Uomo 90, MINI Fashion has been combining its roots in travel and exploration with a sartorial edge to find new perspectives on contemporary life and travel.
For its latest outing, MINI Fashion teamed up with The Woolmark Company to invite a number of the fashion world’s up-and-coming designers to create capsule collections using Woolmark’s trademark Merino wool fabric.
From Shanghai’s STAFFONLY to New York’s PH5 and London’s Liam Hodges, the project has seen a broad range of experimental and innovative approaches used to subvert Merino wool’s typical delicate and particular qualities.
For MINI Fashion’s latest presentation, entitled “Field Notes”, the project turns its attentions to travel, memory and experience, challenging participants to present their own interpretation of these broad themes.
For their final collaborative partner, German hat designer Rike Feurstein, the project was an opportunity to transform the soft and unimposing fabric into structured, minimalist headwear, as well as to pay homage to the intense sensory experience of a Russian palace she visited in recent months.
Having garnered a reputation for her minimalist and oft-understated approach to headwear, Feurstein maintained her penchant for softly-spoken design for this project. The two caps created for this collection offer familiar silhouettes constructed from a singular pieces of Merino fabric felted into a clear structure. The resultant pieces create an impression of a universal silhouette despite minimal decoration or ornamentation.
The two colors used by Feurstein present a more ostentatious reference point, however, taking inspiration from the lavish Catherine Palace near St. Petersburg in Russia, an enormous Rococo palace originally built in the 18th century which was a popular holiday destination for the country’s ruling Tsars.
The turquoise color of the first hat is a reference to the distinctive color that decorates the entirety of the palace’s exterior, while the other hat’s golden amber colorway nods to the palace’s elaborate interiors, decorated throughout with golden details.
As a textile better known for its warmth and delicacy than its structural integrity, Feurstein’s use of felting techniques subtly subverts common conceptions of Merino wool as a fabric reserved for featherweight sweaters and scarves, creating headwear shaped, quite literally, by nothing but the fabric itself.
Not only that, the subtle collision of minimalist design with the influences of one of the most opulent buildings on the planet is an effective note on how travel and new experiences can alter the way we perceive the world. Travel is often something that takes us out of our routines and places us in new and unexpected scenarios; in these two designs, Feurstein appears to have done just that, both to the textile with which she was working, and her own creative process.
Shop Rike and Mini Fashion’s “Field Notes” pieces exclusively at highsnobiety.com.