Meet the designer – Pierluigi Rolando – 10
At the end of the Seventies, FILA’s popularity was confirmed by commercial achievements and athletic feats, whether it be tennis (Björn Borg was a constant presence in world ranking’s Top Ten) or alpinism, with Reinhold Messner climbing the highest peaks one by one.
Talking about Italian hiker, Pierluigi Rolando referred – not without self-satisfaction – when, back from climbing, he revealed that he loved the horizontal white line placed knee-high on a blue suit, ending up with green detail. As the designer underlined, ‘colors had to deal with the environment. I was amazed by thinking how the palette I chose for Reinhold could melt with ice and snow’.
However, although FILA’s success was confirmed was not over and the early Eighties marked the launch ok a ski collection. Enrico Frachey, up-to-date with everything was about mountains, also had the perfect testimonial in his mind: Ingemar Stenmark, winner of the World Cup and slender man for whom realize something completely new. Rolando in person declared that since the very beginning ‘Ingo’ was supposed to wear a blue and yellow suit, according to the colors of the Swedish flag witnessing his origins. Such occasion was crucial also to deal with the challenges related to technical equipping: above all, the realization of suits with specific protections for elbows. The fashion designer started working on a component able to kick away the plastic sticks on the slopes, also protecting the body from the backlash. Rolando knew that such performance couldn’t be guaranteed by wool, but rather by the new synthetic fabric the brand was starting to experiment with at those times.
Once again, inspiration came from DNA: it was the birth of the so-called F-BAR, the ‘cookie’ shape borrowed from the company logo, put arm height on the jacket developed for Stenmark. The FILA team chose aluminum, light and resistant at the same time, juxtaposed to a minimum thickness made in rubber. The final result was appealing (‘a medieval armor’, Rolando wrote); however, the most important matter was the technical one, and this justifies the numerous tests in Val Senales, in Trentino Alto Adige’s valleys, where the Swedish champion and his team used to train. Despite the production efforts, the Stenmark jacket remains an isolated case in FILA’s history, which wasn’t done again because of such objective difficulties in realization. Anyway, perhaps it’s this detail to set off its ultimate destiny as a museum piece.