Less a show than an activation, this afternoon Boss and Russell Athletic played out the second inning of their collaboration on a Milanese baseball field. In blazing sunshine and under floodlights too, for good measure, the folks filing in were served hot dogs, beer, and popcorn from an Airstream and a Kombi before they settled into the bleachers. Then came an entertaining ersatz ball game that contained everything but the game: Players warmed up; a marching band blared and stomped to Outkast; and there was an awesomely acrobatic troupe of cheerleaders. In one corner of the field, a section of the crowd dressed in blue and orange Boss x Russell Athletic sweats danced and cheered throughout, even during lulls in the action.

Photo Courtesy of Boss x Russell Athletic

All of this social-genic visual fabric had been craftily woven to maximize phygital amplification. Phone-screen aristocracy including Chiara Ferragni and her Italian television-personality husband, Fedez; Fai Khadra; and Benji Krol were among an audience organizers put at 200 creators and influencers. Tip-top TikTok content crafters Elevator Boys, Younes Zarou, and Elisa Maino were also on the team for what Boss’s release called its “debut social-first event.” Arguably the event’s MVP was Khaby Lame, who has become a global sensation—and a source of pride here in Italy—thanks to his shrug-heavy skewering of histrionic social media attention seeking. This was his first fashion partnership, which is a canny signing indeed by Boss.

Photo Courtesy of Boss x Russell Athletic
Photo: Courtesy of Boss x Russell Athletic

Sprinkled in among all this were the garments and accessories from whose sale Boss is seeking to monetize the collective social firepower of its multi-platform armada. It was a handsome unisex arsenal of cursive-logoed sweats (of course), T-shirts plus knitwear, varsity jackets, small leather goods, and sports socks. The looks were bolstered by pieces plucked from the main line pre-spring Boss collection produced by Ingo Wilts and his team. Whether this social-first event produces a commercial home run will become clear super soon: The collection went on sale as the band started marching.

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