ERL opened up Pitti Uomo 104 giving us California dreams with a cinematic installation “Make Believe” reminiscent of something straight out of Planet of the Apes. Eli Russel Linnetz is just as much a storyteller as he is a designer and there was great anticipation for his runway debut. While everything is still designed in Venice, California the spring summer 2024 collection sees luxurious tailoring and suiting handmade in Italy.

The show opened up with Disney’s “When you wish upon a Star” from Pinocchio, a perfect juxtaposition of Tuscan and Californian heritage. It was not hard to see the Disney influence as two different models walked out in sequenced top hats like John Darling or the magical Mickey. On the feet, we got to see the first ERL shoe recalling skating and surfing on Venice Beach. Surfer luxury extended throughout the accessories including futuristic goggle-like eyewear in thick rubber for the rough and tumble.

In the year 2176, the sea levels have risen. Florence is underwater and California surfers have flocked to Italy, chasing waves,” Eli explained to us backstage before the show. “A group of young American surfers masquerading as rich kids sneak into a surreal ball… they go upstairs and raid the ambassador’s closet, discovering opulent eveningwear, present-day 2176 pieces, antiques from Japan and the Roman empire.”

Beyond the form-fitting, oversized couture, and new Lady Liberty, the tour de force was a sci-fi take on the ERL quilt hand knitted in transparent tape by artist Olivier Herring using the most common of today’s materials that could be from the future as much as the past.