FLORENCE, ITALY — Tanya Dukes, Style Editor, Exclusive Elite Traveler report from Pitti Uomo.
While the rest of the world is still looking forward to spring, the menswear world has already figured out its collections for winter 2010. For Pitti Uomo, one of the critical appointments on the annual men’s fashion calendar, designers, buyers and the press have converged on Florence to see the looks that will define next Fall/Winter season.
With a mood that’s notably brighter than the preceeding season, brands at Pitti are betting that the right emphasis on quality construction, upbeat color and imaginative innovations, will get consumers excited about adding to their winter wardrobes. Don’t be surprised to see the following trends make an appearance in stores months from now:
Rather than cutting back on quality to keep prices at bay, many brands will hold on to loyal clients by amping up the craftsmanship and detail in their garments. It’s a surefooted measure meant to cater to those that understand that value doesn’t always carry the lowest price tag. Oxxford Clothes just introduced the new Highest Quality collection. With an opening price point of $4,000, the suit line boasts tailoring touches like cape lined jackets, pinstripes and plaids that match at the seams with more than two hours of hand workmanship just on the waist of the trousers.
Belvest has ramped up the sartorial touches in its trademark deconstructed suits by adding linings to jackets and micro touches that feel super luxurious, like plus under-collar lining. And Zilli, celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, shows no signs of cutting back on the fur and leather fabrications that made it famous. Thanks to exacting fabric research, the brand claims to be the first to combine cashmere and chinchilla, which it used in jackets, boots, and even luggage.
The mania for designer collaborations has thankfully slowed leaving the most successful pairings to take center stage. After a successful first outing last season, British luggage brand Globe-Trotter has once again teamed with insider fashion favorite Erdem on a line of new suitcases. This time, inspired by the colors of New York City’s iconic taxi cabs, the exterior of Globe-Trotter’s Vulcan Fibre and leather cases will be done in yellow and black and lined by Erdem’s signature floral print in black and white. The graphic combination is a punchy hybrid of fashion and function.
For the third consecutive season, Barbour, another Brit brand, will launch a range of limited edition jackets created with cult Japanese label To Ki To. While tapping into Barbour’s outdoorsy heritage, the new capsule collection borrows from the guest designer’s workwear aesthetic for a range of jackets that has a tough, urban-meets-country sensibility.
Solid colors will have to cede some retail space to garments loaded with all manner of pattern come fall. Prestige shirt brand Lorenzini, has expanded on its collection to outerwear, of sorts. By using roomy cuts in hefty woolen fabrics, its classic shirt silhouettes transform into jackets; the newest range brims with countrified checks in bold statement colors, including one combining turquoise and pink.
Brunello Cucinelli’s hallmark look of soft layered separates featured shirts and knits loaded with plaids and checks. haracteristically, the palette was muted, with purple and a just-right shade of green the primary accent colors against a backdrop of khaki and navy.
The Dot collection from cashmere giant Avon Celli punctuates its signature luxury knits with a constellation of irregularly placed polka dots. Look for more from the newly repositioned brand, including exclusive projects for Colette, Opening Ceremony and Steven Allen, starting in 2011.
Even jewelers are getting into the act. Deakin & Francis, a two centuries-old English luxury house specializing in cufflinks, has launched countless new editions sporting loads of bright color, from Technicolor variations on the Union Jack that the commonwealth never intended to delicate florals.
Whether it means revisiting vintage designs or simply giving a worn-in appeal to brand new pieces, much of fall’s fashion and accessories feel plucked from an earlier time. Named in honor of Kiton founder Ciro Paone, the Neapolitan tailoring powerhouse has dipped into its archives to develop the CI.PA jacket,a collection highlight. Done in a thicker wool than has been used in recent seasons, with two buttons and a peak lapel, jacket recalls the dapper 1960s era when the company was founded.
At Isaia, the new Cortina jacket has an abbreviated length (72cm) that hasn’t been seen since the Kennedy administration but feels surprisingly fresh. In another retro-inspired nod, the brand is putting emphasis on vests, plus hip- or full-length capes, for the most adventurous fashion acolytes.
Prada-owned Church’s has revisited a 1920s shoe design with buckles and brogue detailing. To complete the vintage aesthetic the shoe comes in an already creased, broken-in leather. Santoni’s popular Shabby Chic collection looks similarly well-loved. While first launched in just a handful of styles, the ultra soft leather shoes with elegant patination are available in more than 30 styles of oxfords, brogues and boots.
Fratelli Rossetti, the brand that originally brought the tasseled loafer to Italy, wagers that it still has currency. The standout styles feature tassels that contrast with the rest of the shoe.
Home Is Where the Heart Is:
Florentine designer Stefano Ricci has expanded his namesake brand full throttle into the home category using his flagship store here to showcase linens, bedspreads, pillow cases, fine china, hand crafted utensils, limited edition blankets, humidors covered in exotic skins an a unique take on Faberge eggs which open to serve as an elegant Caviar service. And when home takes to the skies, the designer is now taking on assignments for custom interiors for private jets.
Based on the news heard here at Pitti, 2010 may yet be a banner year for boutique openings. Stefano Ricci is doubling down on Shanghai. The artisansal luxury menswear brand will unveil an enlarged and revamped Shanghai flagship that will be nearly six times the size of its predecessor, plus a new 400-square-foot boutique will bow in the city’s Peninsula hotel—perfect showplaces for its exacting tailoring and growing home collection.
Look for Brunello Cucinelli to crop up on New York’s Madison Avenue, in Bal Harbour in North Miami and in Las Vegas’ new City Center development. And Harrys of London shoes, with a winning combination of English style and tennis shoe comfort will open in Kuwait in 2010. The brand plans to open in points elsewhere in the Mideast—starting with Qatar and Dubai come 2011.