Francesco Ragazzi titled this collection Welcome To Miami, delivering an irresistible prompt to drop Will Smith in the intro: you ask how I know I have to plead the fifth.
Palm Angels made his mark selling Ragazzi’s underdog, a Made in Italy aesthetic approximation of Californian skate-luxe on a global scale, but as he observed on a Zoom, he’s as much a sucker for charms Miami neon as the Fresh Prince. In turn, Miami itself has embraced a healthy dose of Italian design sensibility over the years: primarily the signature Memphis Milano that continues to act as a signpost for Florida flesh 40 years later.
There were plenty of brash pastels and angular Memphis shapes, mostly in the background, from a collection that carefully and overwhelmingly avoided obvious Grand Theft Auto and Tony Montana references. Instead, Ragazzi used his photographer’s eye to piece together a series of character studies in clothing via oversized minimalist tailoring, carefully rendered workwear pastiches, and inevitable kitsch (because when in Miami.. .) shop for tourists. Shark print pants, a Miami Vice-ish print jersey dress, pastel palm tree totes, terrycloth hoodies and excellent jelly shoes with spaghetti straps were all part of this elevated off-duty aesthetic. . Especially meta-Miami were the coins printed with watermarked vintage photographs, money, a terrified face (which escaped the reverse lookup), and a starry muscle ship offshore.
Ragazzi said: “As a passionate photographer, somewhere between committed amateur and semi-professional, Getty Images represents the very essence of that passion. This archive, covering editorial, historical, vintage, everything, is incredible. So I approached them for a collaboration. We wanted to tell part of Miami’s story through their archival footage, and it was important to me to keep those watermarks – like an imprint for the collection – because…”
“Because Getty photos get stolen and posted on social media all the time?”
Another nod to digital was evident in the Palm Angels trademark inverted waistband of his khaki shorts, a remix of the TikTok trend to twist Dickies from skate staple to hip statement piece. Ragazzi’s latest was a sweet remix of portable codes enriched by this ode to the alchemy of Magic City.