Last year, that meant picnic tablecloths and plastic buckets printed with imagery from Mr. Cattelan’s subversively jolly publication “Toilet Paper.”
This time, it was a special-edition scarf celebrating the new Costume Gallery inside the Palazzo Pitti. In what may have been an ironic use of creaky verbiage from post-structuralist critique, a statement about the project explained the artist’s aim of “contaminating unexpected and unusual places” with art.
It’s difficult to gauge how much of an aesthetic contaminant is a loud wool stadium scarf woven with the name of a museum, but the flip side of the neck warmer ought to make a best seller for the museum shops that have signed on for Mr. Cattelan’s project (MoMA, the Guggenheim and the Whitney among them). Against a background of red and purple, large white capital letters in a Gothic font spell out “magnificence.”
Unlike any other city where fashion is displayed, Florence is lavish with its civic magnificence. It is not only projects like the one that saw Michelangelo’s David being clothed for an evening in video projections of fabric woven at the Ricceri mills here, or the Gucci Garden museum installed in a Renaissance guild hall, or the bicentennial Brooks Brothers fashion show held inside a 700-year-old city hall.
Even events like the modest debut of a men’s wear line created by the people behind 032c, the influential Berlin-based culture and fashion journal, benefit from the unparalleled backdrop of a palace designed by one of Brunelleschi’s pupils in 1444.
“This is our first fashion show and I wanted do to it at Pitti because of this sentimentality I had about the fair,” the 032c founder and publisher Joerg Koch said before the first of three consecutive shows held in a gilded salon of the Palazzo Medici Riccardi.
“It’s very romantic for me, because Pitti is where I saw some of my first shows — like the first Raf Simons show for Jil Sander,” Mr. Koch added, referring to a magical twilight presentation held amid the parterres and umbrella pines ornamenting the gardens of a Renaissance palazzo outside the city limits.
During a break between presentations of tough, uniformlike streetwear in the slipcover proportions that have come to dominate men’s wear, Mr. Koch was asked how a serious publisher came to turn his hand to fashion. “I think of 032c as more like a platform than a piece of printed matter,” he said.
“Plus, I’ve gotten all the analytics you’d imagine working with Ssense,” he added, referring to the Canadian e-tailer where he also has served as editor in chief since 2015. “What is pretty obvious is that while you can’t make money from digital media people, especially millennials, are crazy for clothes.”
There was another reason. “My wife is a fashion designer,” he said.
In one of those flashes of Florentine serendipity, certain guests exiting the 032c show for the following presentation — an poetic and inspired collaboration between Jun Takahashi, the Undercover designer, and Takahiro Miyashita of the Soloist label — suddenly found themselves in a corridor opening onto Benozzo Gozzoli’s miraculous “Chapel of the Magi,” painted around 1459.
“The faces are supposed to be portraits of Florentines of the time,” Tiziana Cardini, a fashion editor and writer, said of the vividly rendered 15th-century Tuscans populating the fresco. In truth, they hardly look different from the Florentines you see every day on the street.