Ermenegildo Zegna Couture bridge astrophysics and aesthetics in a spectacular 23-window takeover at Harrods

Ermenegildo Zegna Couture's creative director, Stefano Pilati, worked in collaboration
3817418475001 Ermenegildo Zegna Couture's creative director, Stefano Pilati, worked in collaboration with Dr Fiorella Terenzi and the Hayden Planetarium’s Professor Neil deGrasse Tyson to create a virtual space travel video experience for the fashion house's autumn/winter 2014 show. Click to watch the film here
(Image credit: Press)

With fashion houses and their bright spark designers searching further and wider than ever for inspiration, it’s little surprise when they suddenly look skywards - threading some of the magic and mystery of celestial exploration into their catwalk creations.

At Ermenegildo Zegna Couture, creative director Stefano Pilati’s mission has been unfolding along a somewhat more pragmatic route, that was until his autumn/winter 2014 men’s collection walked out this January backdropped by a monumental video experience of virtual space travel (opens in new tab). Today Harrods (opens in new tab) unveils a 23-window 'takeover' of their London storefront with Zegna's film taking pride of place.

Despite the aesthetical leaps and bounds of fashion film in the past decade, Pilati’s commission takes the genre to another level. He worked with renowned scientist Dr Fiorella Terenzi (opens in new tab), an astronomy professor at Florida International University, who both crafted the soundtrack and plotted the film’s precise, earthbound astral journey with the help of the Hayden Planetarium’s Professor Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Their arresting visuals send viewers spinning through space. The journey starts with an abstraction of cloudy nebulae shooting through the Earth’s solar system, before zooming at breakneck speed down towards Earth, then Europe, and finally into Italy’s boot-shaped terrain to arrive within Zegna’s fall show venue, the Milan CityLife Palace.

Whilst visually stunning in its own right, it may well be Terenzi’s sonic accompaniment that takes the cake here – a soundscape she created by layering Tchaikovsky with ‘acoustic astronomy’ - an element of her research that she explains 'turns radiation from space into an acoustic signature reflecting the chemical, physical and dynamic properties of the celestial object in question'.

'The natural, raw sounds of radio waves from space wash over our planet constantly,' explains Terenzi, whose appreciation for fashion and the arts spurred this unlikely pairing forward. 'I am both an astrophysicist who is moved by an artistic sensibility, and an artist who relies upon technology to express myself,' she continued. 'I want these discoveries to swim in our imaginations, to open our hearts to new ways of thinking and feeling about daily life, whether it be music, fashion, aromas, or even food. If we promote the collaborative mind, bridging astrophysics and aesthetics, we can both objectively learn about the universe and commune with it.'

The astronomical film was unveiled as the inspiration

Today, the astronomical film was unveiled as the inspiration behind the label's 23-window 'takeover' of Harrod's London storefront.

(Image credit: Jamie McGregor Smith )

The film's frenetic energy is translated

The film's frenetic energy is translated into the storefront through the use of angled mirrors, rotating mannequins and interactive digital displays.

(Image credit: Jamie McGregor Smith )

The store has employed 'Whispering Window

The store has employed 'Whispering Window' technology to share the 'sounds of space' and of the Tchaikovsky music that is featured in the original video with pedestrians on Brompton

(Image credit: Jamie McGregor Smith )

A digital 3D model of Zegna's 'Double Monk

A digital 3D model of Zegna's 'Double Monk' shoe rotates in response to the movement of passers-by on the street, providing viewers with a 360 degree view.

(Image credit: Jamie McGregor Smith )

ADDRESS

Harrods
87-135 Brompton Rd
London SW1X 7XL

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