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In Profile: C.P. Company X Kasabian's Sergio Pizzorno

In Profile: C.P. Company X Kasabian's Sergio Pizzorno

To mark the launch of an exclusive collaboration by C.P. Company and Sergio Pizzorno with FLANNELS, we talk mysticism, ponchos and headliner performances with the man himself.

When we meet, Kasabian’s Sergio Pizzorno is chilling out in the palm court of a pretty swank hotel in central London, preparing for a gig later that night at one of the city’s most iconic music venues, the Brixton Academy. Chatting a bit about the Academy’s intimate atmosphere (and what he plans to wear that night), his rock ‘n’ roll presence and iconic shaggy hair provide some relief from the ultra-polished surroundings – a reminder that you’re talking to a man who’s headlined Glastonbury and is responsible for indie anthem ‘Fire’.

Recently, Pizzorno headlined that other giant of the British festival scene, Isle of Wight, where he stepped out on stage wearing a purple C.P. Company poncho designed in collaboration with the Italian sportswear brand. Part of an exclusive capsule collection that includes sweatshirts and Tees, the limited-edition garments riff on C.P. Company’s iconic Mille Miglia jacket and their signature goggles.

In inimitable rock star style, Pizzorno has reinterpreted C.P. Company’s design codes through the lens of his music and performance philosophy of ‘The Mind’s Eye’. He explains its meaning. “The reason we did this was to design something that could be worn on stage as a sort of tribute to C.P. and psychedelia – so vivid, big colours and a play on the concept of the ‘third eye’. The idea that when you’re on stage you feel like you can second guess the crowd. It’s like knowing the next move, seeing it before them and knowing how to take them on the next bit of the journey. You’re scanning the area – it’s like having an extra sense.” C.P. company jackets are usually defined by technical fabrics and practicality, but this poncho has a mystical quality unique to rock ‘n’ roll legends like Pizzorno. This is not your average anorak.

Music and fashion go hand in hand, and Pizzorno is no stranger to either – he’s featured in GQ magazine as much as NME (nearly) and his distinctive look has been the subject of much journalistic hype. “Fashion is just another element of being in a band.” Significantly, C.P. Company has been a constant in his life from a young age – it’s a collaboration that makes sense. “My dad had a T-shirt, and I always remember the label in the back had a sailor on it, I might be wrong, but it was a figure anyway. It was a mad colour, like a mustard yellow, so I remember C.P. . . . then during my teenage years I saw jackets here and there on the older lads, thinking like ‘what is that?’” He got his first jacket whilst working his first job at a shop in his hometown of Leicester, before graduating to the big boy pieces. “I wore my first goggle jacket on stage at T in the Park, I think we headlined that night.” Pizzorno and C.P. Company go way back.

From childhood memories to stage appearances, C.P. has a special place in his wardrobe. After being asked to collaborate, Pizzorno went to the brand with a clear vision of what he wanted his own goggle jacket to look like. You need that sort of creative assurance when you go to a design behemoth like C.P. and suggest messing with their stuff. “I went to Italy and I wasn’t really interested in going to choose the colour of a jacket or something. Obviously, that would be amazing, but I don’t really work like that. I went with a real idea of exactly what it would be and what it would look like.”

Humble but assertive, Pizorno applied the same rigour to the jacket’s design as he does his music and was well aware of the stakes “I didn’t know how they would respond, just some kid talking whatever” – unsurprisingly, the reaction was unanimously positive. “I explained what it was about and Lorenzo (Osti) and Paul (Harvey) were so nice. They were sort of instantly like ‘oh this is good, this could work’. So we just talked about fabrics and how we could actually physically make it and I left some mad designs with them and they made a prototype, which was kind of incredible.”

A video accompanies the collection’s release, shot by Ozzie Pullin. Drifting dreamily between Pizzorno in a recording studio, a park in Leicester and on stage at Isle of Wight, he describes it as an “ethereal, electronic, machine-like process.” Set to a bespoke track and voiceover by Pizzorno, the video captures the juxtaposition between intimacy and performance, the private and public spaces that he inhabits as a creative and a performer. “It’s tranquil, and then it flashes to 50,000 people going insane. It’s kind of the story of the two worlds.” It’s a glimpse into a rarefied world, matched only by the rarity of the jackets themselves. Only 99 ponchos have been made, and those fast enough to cop one will find that it also comes with a book featuring exclusive photographs shot by Kasabian’s photographer Neil Bedford.

C.P. Company's Britpop and subcultural associations go some way to explaining the rock ‘n’ roll star’s interest in a brand more commonly associated with sportswear than stages. But alongside the nostalgia, Pizzorno cites functionality and design as reasons for its appeal. “It’s always fascinated me and interested me – it just always feels like the future, it’s based on things working. Nothing is put there because it’s cool. It’s designed so it all has a purpose and a job, and it always looks like sci-fi – you know it’s a vision of what everyone’s jackets are going to look like in 20 years.” This chimes with Pizzorno’s philosophical approach to music and performance – of 'perception beyond ordinary sight'. He tells me that he's “always seen the theatre in it and the drama in it”. It must be that extra sense.

C.P. Company X Sergio Pizzorno is available to shop online and in selected stores now.

Words: Florence Trott