Retro pop culture always seemed to predict a future world of jumpsuit-clad he men, but around 1920 Italian Futurist artist Giacomo Balla designed and constructed a two-piece suit that looked like something Elton John might have worn on tour in the 1970s. Click through for a closer look, along with a picture of Balla wearing the suit, and a taste of the theory behind it.


In The Antineutral Suit: Futurist Manifesto (1914), Balla railed against "neutral, 'nice,' [and] faded" colors, not to mention "stripes, checks, and diplomatic little dots." Instead, Futurist attire would be "Dynamic, with textiles of dynamic patterns and colors (triangles, cones, spirals . . .) that inspire the love of danger, speed, and assault, and loathing of peace and immobility." Balla also predicted Diana Dew's light-up fashions of the 1960s when he called for "Phosphorescent textiles that ... spread light around when it rains, and meliorate the dimness of twilight in the streets and in the nerves." Tim Gunn would be proud of the way Balla incorporated the tenets of his manifesto into the cut of suit—though probably less so of the way the Futurists went on to ally themselves with Mussolini's fascist government.

Here's Balla in his suit, almost perfectly camouflaged against a background of Futurist art and architecture.The Antineutral Suit: Futurist Manifesto quotes from Emily Braun, "Futurist Fashion: Three Manifestoes," Art Journal (Spring 1995).


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