A unique visit to the Massimo Osti archive
Tucked away within the houses of Bologna stands a glorious building which houses thousands of pieces of Massimo Osti’s life work. From 1982 Camouflage Tela Stella Smocks to 1987 Burgundy Ice Jackets, the Massimo Osti Archive is a truly mesmerising place.
I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Osti Archive in late July, where Agata Osti, Massimo’s daughter, guided me through the holy collection of garments. Since Massimo passed away in 2005, his children, Agata and Lorenzo, have been running the archive, which is home to a number of his projects from Stone Island, C.P. Company, Navy Arctic and Massimo Osti Production to just name a few! It was an honour to speak to Agata about her father’s work as it gave me a better understanding and insight into his creative direction of Stone Island.
His work focused on being truthful to the materials he used as well as developing advanced clothing technology. These revolutionary techniques can be seen in the 1992 Reflective Marina Jackets, which are proudly presented in 6 different colourways at the archive.
Massimo’s love for golf, sailing, skiing and tennis is beautifully immersed in many of the pieces and collections he created. I was genuinely in awe at the vast and unimaginable pieces he had designed, from ski boots to golf bags and sailing goggles! One corner of the archive is dedicated to every single material he ever used or experimented with, some of which were samples of different corduroy colours as well as pieces of camouflage and Tela Stella materials. Additionally, there were a number of design sketches dotted around, which gave me an in-depth understanding into the way Massimo liked to work. The archive seemed to hold hundreds of hidden secrets and ideas that many people will probably never get to experience.
The Osti Archive is somewhere I had dreamt of visiting for years, so to get the opportunity to spend time there was very surreal. I was able to try on a number of the pieces I had longed to wear and touch in person, which was an incredible feeling. One of the maddest pieces I came across was a pair of baby pink shorts, which had heavy embossed silver buttons holding in place the signature Stone Island badge – one my girlfriend’s favourite pieces! In fact, Agata revealed a few skirts and dresses that were produced for a women’s Stone Island Marina Range in the late 80s! I think that must now change people’s view that Stone Island was only made for men to wear!
Visiting the Osti Archive is an experience that will never leave me and I feel that my knowledge of the brand’s history and intimate design techniques has been further enhanced. I’m sure I’ll be returning very soon!
Words by and photography by Archie Maher
Edited by Daniel Hawksworth