How do you brand someone a hopeless outcast? If you’re directing a coming-of-age movie, making a character sport Clark Kent glasses, cystic acne, and snaggle tooth might do the trick. But nothing tops the unfortunate back brace, which, in a cruel teenager’s eye becomes an unmistakable target for merciless bullying. But, according to Francesca Lanzavecchia, that needn’t be the case: In a series of “proaesthetics,” the Italian designer has reinvented medical accessories into vehicles of beauty and self-expression.
Using the basic forms, Lanzavecchia plays with texture (with lace and leather details) and utility (incorporating pockets for accessories) to personalize back and neck braces into expressions of sensuality and individual lifestyles and interests. She even envisions them as a second skin for experimenting with piercings and body modifications, turning erstwhile symbols of the totally uncool into covet-worthy fashions.