The work of Felix Gonzalez-Torres served as the foundation for PIETER this season, specifically Untitled (Go-Go Dancing Platform), 1991. The piece is composed of a square wooden platform that is erected in a gallery space and adorned with glowing light bulbs. Each day, a go-go dancer wearing sneakers, headphones, and a silver lamé swimsuit mounts the platform and dances for five minutes while listening to his own music. As in Gonzalez-Torres’s other work, meaning is created through participation, with intrigue and curiosity in the viewer inviting physical or emotional engagement.
This hustle, both explicit and implicit, is key to the SS17 collection. Particular attention has been paid to the midriff, which, for the PIETER man, begins just below the chest and stops just above the crotch, much like Tony Ward’s character in the film Hustler White. Ultra-low-rise wool trousers, for instance, are worn over silver lamé speedos – a slit of skin between the swimsuit and waistband visible at the hips. It’s a bodily awareness present in previous PIETER seasons. Linen tops are backless and the seams of the sleeves are split so that skin is always on show.
The palette is equally suggestive. Taking inspiration from the sun-drenched beaches of Miami and California, like those in Lana Del Rey’s ‘High by the Beach’, pastel blue, green, pink, and purple sit beside the PIETER mainstays of navy, black and grey, a nod that something more sordid lurks below summer’s sun and fun. A pair of shorts and hooded jacket rendered in pink semi-transparent parachuting nylon, for instance, leave little to the imagination. Metallics also play a central role this season. Boxy, cropped button-up shirts in giro inglese – a cellular cotton mesh – are embroidered with metallic pills and candy wrappers, a subtle allusion to contemporary gay culture as well as Gonzalez-Torres’s work. The artist often made use of everyday objects to explore love and loss, sickness and rejuvenation, gender and sexuality in those around him. A knit dress in grey and silver polyester viscose clings to the centre of the body, not unlike the metallic candy wrappers in Gonzalez-Torres’s installations.
Jewellery continues to play a central role in the PIETER man’s identity, as well as the PIETER brand. Phrases such as ‘rent boy’, ‘come down’, ‘chill out’ and ‘fun now’ are found in sterling silver chain necklaces that can be broken in two and worn as bracelets, each containing a single word in the pair. Earrings and pins bear the outline of a male torso wearing a speedo, which for PIETER is very much a part of how modern men dress.
Shop the SS17 collection here.
Learn more about the work of Felix Gonzalez-Torres here.