Subscribe to the NewsletterSubscribe to the Magazine
Go inside the worlds of art, fashion, design, and lifestyle.
By Eliza Jordan
February 28, 2023
Canada Goose’s limited-edition capsule collection designed in collaboration with the contemporary Italian artist Paola Pivi launched yesterday. As a longstanding partner of Polar Bears International (PBI), the brand and Pivi have many things in common, beginning with their shared love and respect for the hyper-carnivorous bear. Commonly seen in her work are playful polar bear sculptures, crafted in bold colors and shaggy materials, honoring the beauty of the vulnerable species. For the seven-piece collection, released in celebration of International Polar Bear Day, sculptures seen in Pivi's 2019 solo exhibition “We are the baby gang” at Perrotin New York were used for inspiration to create collaged patterns.
The Alaska-based artist is privy to cool climates known to the company, too, enforcing the importance of layering garments and respecting the Arctic’s changing climates. Seen in the collection are an array of styles—including Pivi’s favorite, the Ripstop Down Scarf, as well as the Atwood Vest, the Minden Jacket, the Paola Pivi Fleece, the Muskoka Crewneck—that make getting dressed for the challenging environment safe, fun, and fashionable.
Most items are made of recycled materials, and many feature details to keep the wear extra warm, including breeze-blocking panels, adjustable sleeves, drawstring waists, zipper chest pockets, tall collars, and detachable hoods. The collection also introduces a brand-new product category for the brand with its Muskoka Shorts—a relaxed style available in three different colors, designed for durability and versatility.
In celebration of the vibrant collection, Pivi shared with Whitewall how her love for both art and fashion culminated in this new collection, and where you can explore her work next.
WHITEWALL: How did this collaboration with Canada Goose come about?
PAOLA PIVI: When I got the invitation, I jumped at it, because I’ve loved Canada Goose since 2005 when I traveled to Alaska to follow the Iditarod race, the epic sled dog race, 1000 miles long across rural Alaska. Whilst there, I acted as a photojournalist and wrote articles about it. To survive the challenge of the cold, I purchased my first Canada Goose endurance parka and completely fell in love with it, especially the pockets. I was told that I could sleep in it outside if I had to, the coziness is one of a kind.
WW: What was your starting point?
PP: Even though I am Italian and Canada Goose is an Arctic-based enterprise, we have a lot of points in common. First, the love for the Iditarod race (Canada Goose developed special gear for the endurance race). Secondly, I live in Alaska, and we both share a strong passion for the Arctic. Lastly, fun is also a common point. I like to live in a fun way and the clothes of Canada Goose allow people to have plenty of fun. One year, I bought a Canada Goose parka for my husband to celebrate New Year’s Eve on Flattop mountain, outside in the freezing cold in Alaska! We both also share a passion for the beauty of bears and are very sensitive to what is happening with global warming, and to how polar bears are making it evident for all of us to see.
WW: Your collection with Canada Goose is created in partnership with its longstanding partner, Polar Bears International. In your work over the years, we've seen many polar bear sculptures that embrace human characteristics. Why has this animal been important to you?
PP: I live in Alaska, it is the land of bears. They are my landlord. As we move forward and we see the effects of climate change more every day, I find that raising awareness of what is truly happening around us is a duty. Anything we can do towards increasing awareness should be done, in all fields of life. Climate change affects my inner self and the unconscious terror of what we hear could happen. My polar bear feathered sculptures are key figures throughout my artwork and are prominent throughout the collaboration, which highlights the urgency to continue and further the conversation about global warming.
WW: How are you honoring them in your new designs with Canada Goose?
PP: Canada Goose immediately asked me to start with the feathered sculptures of my baby bears and I loved the idea, colors, and shapes. The “bear camo pattern” was soon developed in a very playful and natural way.
This collection has many layers of content: combining art and fashion, the connection to my sculptures of bears covered in colorful feathers, research on design, focus on polar bears and, at the same time, their amazing beauty and also their suffering in the current climate.
WW: How do you feel your art translates onto wearable canvases?
PP: Whilst designing the collaboration, I felt I was a natural at it, then I realized I am from Italy. I was born in Milan, the fashion capital, and my best friend is the fashion designer Maurizio Pecoraro. I was always surrounded by clothes; I love clothes and fashion.
The collection is aimed at GEN-Z, people of all ages, and those who embrace life. It is a fun, playful collection. As soon as one sees the colors, it is impossible not to feel joy, which is the same reaction that many people have when they see my sculptures of bears covered in colorful feathers. From this point of view, the collection is exactly in line with my artworks. Additionally, I would like to add that the colors are so strong that they break a sort of boundary just with their flashiness.
WW: As an Italian-born woman who has access to varying climates in your home country, how did you approach collaborating with a seasonally diverse brand with the weather in mind?
PP: The use of color and the elegance of lines are definitely in my roots. But I must say, I belong to the Italians who travel the world, I am nomadic at heart. I live in Alaska now, and I know the versatility of a climate well, so creating a collection that could allow people to have fun in any season was important.
WW: The capsule collection features seven new pieces. What is your essential product? How will you be wearing it?
PP: I love them all, but my hero piece would be the scarf: it is at the same time a cozy sporty fun warm scarf as well as a shiny fancy jewel-like accessory for a special evening, resembling a silk foulard. I also love the fleece with bear camo pattern paired withbear camo vest on top! Same camo, different textures!
WW: What are you working on in 2023? Any new shows we should keep on our radar?
PP: On March 2, I will present my sculpture Milano at the designer furniture store Moroso in New York, which commissioned Milano within their project "More." I will open a large solo show in Marseille at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC) on March 23 for the reopening of the museum after being closed for years for extensive architectural renovations. I also will unveil “All In,” the special edition artwork box of my catalogue Paola Pivi published by Phaidon in New York on April 4, on the occasion of the finissage of my public artwork “You know who I am,” which was on display for one year on the High Line in New York.
Go inside the worlds of art, fashion, design, and lifestyle.