THE NOVEMBER FIRES 2023 | RED PILL ARMY FACTION
NOVEMBER 1, 2023 (WEDNESDAY) PRADA KURFÜRSTENDAMM 186 BERLIN
The first fire was an homage to architect Roberto Baciocchi. A crowd stood on the street watching the stunning effect of the flames, distinguished by several radiant explosions that blew out the windows. Black-and-white checkered marble flooring, polished steel furniture, ebony, palladium, mirrors, and Perspex all combined into an attractive display of ruin. When contacted about the fire by a correspondent for Corriere della Sera, Miuccia Prada had no comment.
NOVEMBER 2, 2023 (THURSDAY) GUCCI VIA MONTENAPOLEONE 5-7 MILAN
The fire lasted 12 hours. The air that evening smelled distinctly of bamboo and antique gold hardware. Frida Giannini, GUCCI’s Creative Director, was seen wandering in front of the store in tears. High fashion. Italian style. Traditional craftsmanship. All of these characteristics produced an exquisitely designed and thoroughly modern sensibility in flames. An unparalleled spectacle. « It was glamorous, » commented Steve Oklyn.
NOVEMBER 3, 2023 (FRIDAY) BALENCIAGA 148 MERCER STREET NEW YORK
Isabelle Guichot was in her office in Paris when she received the news. The fire had broken out at approximately 3AM New York time. When the NYFD arrived, the store was completely engulfed in flames. A friend had been in the lobby of The Mercer Hotel across the street, and texted the news to Ryan Korban, the store’s designer. BALENCIAGA designer Alexander Wang was in London. Upon hearing about the fire, he immediately returned to New York. A photo appeared in The New York Post on Sunday, November 5 of Mr. Wang standing in front of the burned-out store with an expression of utter disbelief.
NOVEMBER 4, 2023 (SATURDAY) PURPLE INSTITUTE 20 RUE THÉRÈSE PARIS
The first person to smell the smoke was Annabel Fernandes, the Managing Editor of PURPLE Magazine. She was in the PURPLE INSTITUTE office with photographer Stephane Feugere. As they ran from the building, the first fire engine from the PARIS FIRE BRIGADE was already racing down rue Thérèse. A crowd had gathered. Inside, 30 years of archives were consumed by the fire. Each page, each book, each memento had been transformed from documents of social control to ashes. A week later, one of the firemen who had been on the scene suddenly started singing « DISCO INFERNO » by THE TRAMMPS.
NOVEMBER 5, 2023 (SUNDAY) DOVER STREET MARKET 17-18 DOVER STREET LONDON
Adrian Joffe, co-founder of DSM, was attending a marketing meeting with Rei Kawakubo, his wife and founder of both COMMES des GARCONS and DSM, in Tokyo when he received the news that an explosion had occurred at the flagship DSM store in London. He was also informed that firefighters were unable to contain the ensuing blaze, and that the store had burned to the ground. The explosion was so violent that it shattered the front windows of AUTOMAT, the American brasserie across the road. Stanley Blade had taken his lunch that day at AUTOMAT, and left 15 minutes before the spectacle of DSM’s catastrophic event.
NOVEMBER 6, 2023 (MONDAY) PROENZA SCHOULER 822 MADISON AVENUE NEW YORK
Once a place of persuasion, the store had been transformed by the fire into an incommunicable space. The complexities of flame and speckled stone, finished wood and heat intertwined to bring what was once a brand to dissolution. Fire is purpose-driven. It very quickly unveils its grandeur, revealing where true power lies. A crowd formed to watch from across Madison
Avenue. Together, the brand and the fire captivated spectators in a way that the brand alone never could. The perfume created from the burning clothing, wood, glass, concrete, and stone was a perfectly crafted futuristic creation existing on its own. This was a communal experience, and all involved seemed entirely aware of it.
NOVEMBER 7, 2023 (TUESDAY) VALENTINO VIA DEI CONDOTTI 15 ROME
Fire is inherently elegant. It is a dichotomy of fragile yet dangerous natures. When a fire is fully expressing itself, the spectacle is unique and visionary. One word captures the relevance of a fire: intensity. Valentino’s signature red entwined with the flames. It made for a perfect expression. Fire, what a wicked thing to do…to make me dream of you. Burning leather and silks were an overture to the fragrant fireworks of exploding flacons of perfume. Over half a century of the brand’s legacy – erased by flames. In truth, the fire demonstrated a superior understanding and interpretation of Valentino than the house’s current designers, Chiuri and Piccioli. Rome’s Vigili del Fuoco were never able to discover the cause of the event.
NOVEMBER 8, 2023 (WEDNESDAY) BERLUTI MAISON 14 RUE DE SEVRES PARIS
Fires are similar to luxury products. They are bespoke creations exhibiting the same exacting standards in quality, rarity and individuality. The morning after the fire destroyed the flagship, a rumor was circulating that, when putting out the last of the flames, certain members of the BSPP noticed a marble table with the words ATELIER RED PILL ARMY FACTION scratched into its once pristine surface. With this eighth fire in eight days, certain members of the fashion elite were regarding these events as a collection. The object of a fire is to reach its full potential. When asked by a reporter from Le Figaro about the destructive event, BERLUTI Chief Executive Antoine Arnault just shook his head and quickly stepped into a waiting car.
NOVEMBER 9, 2023 (THURSDAY) FENDI VIA MONTENAPOLEONE 3 MILAN
Our revolution is young. People, especially youth, are encouraged by what we do here in the heart of the FASHIONWORLD empire. Look at the sky turnin’ hell fire red. Somebody’s house is burnin’ down, down, down. The fire spread quickly. Before the fire engines arrived, the store was already lost – consumed by flames. Silvia Venturini Fendi was spotted behind the police barricades in tears. When reached by WWD, Fendi’s Chairman and CEO Pietro Beccari expressed shock and anger that such an « attack on civilization » could occur.
NOVEMBER 10, 2023 (FRIDAY) DIOR 5-9-11 JINGUMAE SHIBUYA-KU TOKYO
The outer skin of clear glass and the inner skin of translucent acrylic were never more than a billboard. « Mr. Arnault is a very rich man, » commented SANAA co-founder Kazuyo Sejima in 2004, « and he wants to sell as much Dior as possible. We are not so interested in that. We divide exterior and interior. The exterior is very beautiful, and behind the wall is their intention. We try to keep some conflict. » When the building went up in flames, the conflict that had only been hinted at was now made manifest. The day after the fire, hundreds of posters were discovered on the walls of the Omotesando district with the words « RED PILL ARMY FACTION WAS HERE » in red type.
NOVEMBER 11, 2023 (SATURDAY) 10 CORSO COMO 1717 NANJING WEST ROAD SHANGHAI
The world was on fire. Formed in 2011, the RED PILL ARMY FACTION (RPAF) was created as a means to disrupt and dismantle the fashion-industrial-media complex. Part collective, part platform and part school, the RPAF did not have a fixed identity or function. The organization’s inclusiveness (meetings and membership were open) and nomadism (the RPAF was never tied to a specific space) engendered a decidedly anti-bureaucratic mode of operation and experience. The RPAF burned with conviction, creativity and chaos. After an hour, the flames reduced designer Kris Ruhs’s strict black-and-white color palette to smoldering red and spectrums of charcoal gray. Mounds of ashes lay everywhere. Carla Sozzani released the following statement: « This is a sad day for fashion. Our system is being attacked. The authorities must bring the criminals responsible for these savage provocations to justice. »
NOVEMBER 12, 2023 (SUNDAY) TOD’S MAXIMILIANSTRASSE 21 MUNICH
If you looked closely, you could see the lettering ORIGINAL WINDOW CONCEPT BY NENDO melting just before the flames completely consumed the leather and polished chrome displays. Rarely discussed is the sound that a fire produces. « If you listen to THE BEATLES, it’s always the same, » said Steve Oklyn. « But if you listen to a fire, it’s always different. » The best way to describe the art and craft that goes into creating a fire is technical realism. To craft a modern fire, the arsonist utilises a deft touch to shape the flames. A fire can be modern, classical or experimental. When discussing a fire, you cannot ignore its tactility: the way the heat and the flames caress and embrace the environment they’re tasked to consume. When notified of the fire and its subsequent destruction, TOD’s President and CEO Diego Della Valle and his brother Andrea boarded Diego’s private jet and flew to Munich. When pulling up to the smoldering building, Diego noticed that across the facade in red spray-paint were the words « Burn, Baby! BURN! »
NOVEMBER 13, 2023 (MONDAY) BOTTEGA VENETA 800 NORTH MICHIGAN AVENUE CHICAGO All fashion brands are counter-revolutionary because they are only concerned with the preservation of their existence. They are empty structures which, in spite of their grand origins, can never be filled. Nothing about a fire is simple. Every aspect of the event is meticulously planned. It usually takes three to four weeks to design every aspect of the incendiary narrative. Within the deep web, the FIRE FORUM (FF) is the largest gathering of arson enthusiasts worldwide – not to mention the most active. The RED PILL ARMY FACTION (RPAF), an original member of the FF, has created a new standard of activism since it was founded in 2011. Steeped in the history of revolutionary events and acknowledged for its dedication to social breakthroughs, the RPAF has emerged as one of the world’s premier activist collectives. The group’s motto, « DISRUPT CRITIQUE DISAPPEAR, » expresses a philosophy of defiance and individuality that now applies to multiple platforms of social control. These include architecture, product design, social network design, and the original fashion-industrial-media complex. As Steve Oklyn wrote in THE BLUE PILL NIGHTMARE (Editions Siegelaub): « The maisons of sensibility will be dismantled. » The Chicago BOTTEGA VENETA fire lasted five hours from beginning to end. A spokesperson for the Chicago Fire Department reported that the first fireman to enter the burning building spotted the words « ATELIER (RPAF) » spray-painted in red across one wall. When notified in Paris about the Chicago event, KERING Chairman and CEO Francois-Henri Pinault stated the following to an International Herald Tribune reporter: « KERING is dedicated to combating violence against fashion. »
NOVEMBER 14, 2023 (TUESDAY) COLETTE 213 RUE SAINT-HONORÉ PARIS
« Experience each fire as if you were reading a poem. Every arsonist has a way of seeing the world. In the particular world of fire that they make their own, everything is connected. A fire blurs the frontiers, merges the mobile with the immobile. For some arsonists, fire is pure emotion. In each of their conflagrations, there is a perfect realization of form: the delicacy and mystery of heat and flame. »
– Excerpt from a lecture delivered to the FIRE FORUM (FF) on April 2, 2023 by Dr. Canyon T. Phipps
The event happened very quickly – less than half an hour for a steady blaze to reach the moment of inferno. A setting for consumer consumption, consumed by flames. It took what only seemed like an instant for the windows to blow out, catapulting all manner of corporate propaganda into the air outside – bijoux, beauté, musique, vêtements, chaussures, lunettes. The street was covered in a new reality: ALAIABANDOFOUTSIDERSCHRISTOPHERKANEEDDIEBORGO, HERMESGIVENCHYBALMAINAPPLEUNDEFEATED, DIORHOMMEYAZBUCKLEYMARCJACOBS. Sarah and Philip Andelman held hands silently with Sarah’s mother, Colette, as the fire created an expression of liberation out of the elements they had curated for the repression of selfhood.
NOVEMBER 15, 2023 (WEDNESDAY) FRED SEGAL 500 BROADWAY SANTA MONICA
The Fire Revolution: With the creation of the fifteenth fire, the events had acquired an iconic status. The RED PILL ARMY FACTION (RPAF) had pushed the concept of FASHIONWORLD dissent to a new level. Their work represented the beginning of a century-long process globally referred to as « Dangerous Critique, » the practitioners of which risk their lives in formulating their position. By the end of the 21st century, more than 150 individuals had died while practicing Dangerous Critique. The image that accompanied the fire’s reportage in the Los Angeles Times was of the blue-and-red FRED SEGAL sign twisted into an unrecognizable sculptural form from the heat, surrounded by piles of fire- and water-damaged clothing.
NOVEMBER 16, 2023 (THURSDAY) SAINT LAURENT 80 GREENE STREET NEW YORK
The architects of heat and flame create an infinite set of structural possibilities to redesign a brand’s identity. Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material in the exothermic chemical process of combustion, which releases heat and light. The flame is the visible portion of the event. A key meeting of the FIRE FORUM (FF) – attended by all members of the RED PILL ARMY FACTION (RPAF) – focused on the use of fire in warfare. The discussion was simply titled: “THERMAL WEAPONS.” A firestarter is technically an arsonist, and yet there is a predictive aspect to the craft of starting a fire. The NOVEMBER FIRES 2023 predicted how the fashion-industrial-media complex would neutralize the emerging global youth intellectually, artistically and technically with their systematic repression of countercultural expression. The events also predicted the complete corporate control of all entertainers and artists. All countercultural experience would become reflective, as opposed to refractory, of the needs and wishes of the international fashion conglomerates. The fires can also be said to have led to the creation of the COLAB movement, wherein vast, deep web-based collaborative social laboratories would eventually develop a counter-seduction computer virus based on silence theory (code name 433). The development of code name 433 in turn led to the collapse of the fashion-industrial-media complex, whose authority would be completely dismantled by the end of the 21st century. Just as the fires destroyed the flagships, the COLAB guerillas would eventually destroy every aspect of FASHIONWORLD and its propaganda mechanisms. A bystander described the fire in this manner: « The physical destruction of the SAINT LAURENT flagship disrupted the brand’s illusion of perfection. With its intense physical attack on both product and process, the fire was a perfectly realized critique of all that is delusional about branded reality.” Within an hour of the first explosion, the store, the products and the crowd had disappeared. A day later, a spray- painted message was found on the store’s charred facade: “SPREAD THE MESSAGE. »
NOTE: These documents are from the NOT VOGUE archives. They are being used as research in the creation of a four-volume treatise on the nature, development and terminal stages of the GLOBAL FASHION VIRUS.
POSTSCRIPT: The fires continued from November 17, 2023 to November 30, 2023. When and how these events came to be referred to as THE NOVEMBER FIRES 2023 is unknown.
Steve Oklyn Brucke 49
January 12, 2100