What will the future workers of the world wear? Milan's Triennale Museum aims to find out with Workwear, a new exhibition curated by Alessandro Guerriero, charting uniforms conceived by 40 Italian and international creatives chosen from the fields of art, architecture, design and fashion.
'It used to be that when you saw a blue jumpsuit you immediately thought, "Oh, that's a mechanic," or a pinstripe navy blue suit and tie, "He's in finance,"' says Milan-based architect, designer and artist Guerriero of the increasingly blurred lines. 'But it seems that things will not be quite so consequential in the future. You won't be able to tell from someone's clothes what they do for a living.'
Each creative was asked to create a work uniform for a job that will - or should - exist in the future. The results range from the basic - think outfits for a set designer or lumberjack - to the more quixotic, such as Tarshito's cape for 'The research of the Divine' and Alberto Aspesi's 'Workshirt to paint dreams'.
Most intriguing of all were the pieces inspired by entirely fictional jobs. Angela Missoni created a knit dress for a dreamer, Antonio Marras presented a look for a cloud hunter and Gentucca Bini fashioned a completely sheer dress for a chaste pornographer, complete with strategically placed panels in the erotic areas of the woman's body.
Faye Toogood, a veteran of workwear dressing, crafted 40 different hand-painted coats each named with a separate profession. Issey Miyake, meanwhile, designed a gold foil coat and matching pants expressly for the immigrants who arrive shivering on their rocky boats from Africa in Lampadusa - an outfit which Guerriero heralds as 'the most profound and important piece in the whole project'.
For the installation inside the Triennale, Guerriero collaborated with designer Alberto Biagetti, with whom he has worked on past furniture design and art projects. 'The idea was to create a gallery effect, but at the same time I wanted it to feel like an imaginary boutique,' explains Biagetti. To wit, he devised a thick gold hanging rail that spans through four rooms in the Triennale, from which all of the clothes are suspended on invisible thread.
'The clothes look like we've gathered butterflies together in a barrel,' remarks Guerriero. 'But the goal of this exhibition is for people to leave and to ask themselves, '"Did I just see art, design or fashion?" If you've got questions, I've done my job.'