We caught up with the new owners of Fiorucci following the brand’s viral relaunch and CÎROC collaboration.
As joint owners, Janie and Stephen Schaffer, begin to wrap up another successful year for the recently relaunched Italian pop-culture brand, Fiorucci, we are reminded of the essence of fun and partying that epitomised the fashion brand in the seventies and eighties with a CÎROC collaboration that launched on November 12th. The two party-centred brands came together to create an exclusive bottle design as part of CÎROC’s on-going limited edition collectable bottles. It comes as an almost natural pairing, says joint founder Janie Schaffer who sat down to ponder the spirit of Fiorucci, fostering creativity and the relevance of Fiorucci today.
Collaborations are nothing new for either brand but as Fiorucci’s first real party-oriented collaboration, Schaffer notes, it was particularly important that CÎROC “absolutely summed up the fact that we’re a party brand; and that was always what was the biggest essence of Fiorucci.” From hosting a relatively unknown Madonna’s first performance in 1983 to a shout-out alongside Gucci in Sister Sledge’s ‘He’s the Greatest Dancer’ in ’79, Fiorucci has always been about a party, and sometimes been the party. The brand globally accommodated and fostered the talents of Keith Herring, Andy Warhol and a young Sofia Coppola. Today is no different, the inclusivity and optimism nurtured by Elio Fiorucci from the sixties is kept alive. “There is something so joyful about an artistic brand and being able to promote creative talent.”
This artistry is displayed atop a gold CÎROC bottle adorned with various Fiorucci logos from their extensive archive. As a sort of “anti-brand”, according to Schaffer, Fiorucci’s ever-changing logos referenced the fact that the brand wasn’t tied up. “It’s something that can always have huge creativity around it.”
And yet, while we spend a lot of time remembering Fiorucci’s steeped past, Schaffer is quick to ensure the distinctiveness of the “new” Fiorucci. “There’s nothing retro about the brand. I think what we’ve taken are the philosophies that the brand had more than anything else.” With almost 10,000 pieces of original artwork still sitting in the archives, the focus is really on building a strong modern brand in its own essence. Most importantly, the brand’s founders promote an authenticity that they hope, and have quickly seen, rapidly invites a young crowd. As one of the older fashion inhabitants of Brewer street today, the brand was able to build a new image within an emergent hub for young people that includes other popular pop-culture brands such Palace Skateboards and Eytys.
Schaffer describes the brand as, simply, “true lifestyle”; an amalgamation of art, music and fashion that finds its home in the buzzing two-storey flagship store on Brewer Street. “To recreate the spirit, this wasn’t something that could be online, or just online or in department stores. It felt like it had to have the spirit of the store”, says Schaffer. Surrounded by neon lights, plush velvet seating and a bar fully stocked with CIROC x Fiorucci white grape vodka, the brand’s attempt at fostering a lifestyle physically comes to life once again in the 21st century. People move around the store setting up for the evening’s festivities, a launch party for the new bottle, whilst customers simultaneously sift through racks. A moment stands out as two young shoppers walk through the interview and share a short and friendly exchange with who, they probably don’t know, is the reason this hub exists today. In this interaction, Schaffer affirms her exact sentiments of the brand as a welcoming hub for young people, representing Fiorucci, her “sleeping beauty” as she fondly calls it, as the successful bridge between past and present that many of us are beginning to realise.