5 HISTORIC KNITWEAR BRANDS TO (RE)DISCOVER

Spells autumn, reads knitwear: with temperatures dropping lower and lower, we need to get ready with pullovers, preferably in warm and cozy yarns, and above all wool. The options are basically endless, from evergreen shades such as navy blue, black and grey to eye-catching, frost-proof textures or remarkably fine, almost intangible. In any case, it’s best to play it safe choosing brands with decades of heritage with certain quality and blazonry, such as the following five.

Missoni

When you say knitwear, the mind immediately goes to of one of the most representative dynasties of Italian fashion, the Missoni family. For the fashion house founded almost seventy years ago by Ottavio and Rosita, work and life partners, knitwear has always been the at heart of a company with strong family connotations, the gateway to a success able to encompass decades, as well as changes in clothing habits and customs. Thanks to jumpers bursting with colours and flamboyance, Missoni-mania exploded in the 1970s, on both sides of the ocean: it was impossible to ignore the extravagant, multi-coloured, hypnotic patterns weaved across the garments produced by the designer-entrepreneurs’ workshop in Sumirago, in a joyful blend of shades, stitches and motifs that the Americans called “put-together”.

Crowned “best in the world” in 1971 by none other than the New York Times, knitwear earned the brand the Neiman Marcus Award in 1973 for “daring to explore new dimensions and colour relationships”, features that still distinguish the brand’s collections today; the Fall/Winter 2021 collection is no exception, in which Missoni’s expressive zeal bursts onto jumpers, turtleneck pullovers and cardigans with slouchy lapels through the familiar jumble of lines, intricate patterns and graphic textures, including mottling, enlarged chevrons, stripes creating optical games, and colours that fade from dark to light, or vice-versa.



Ballantyne

Rising to fame in the 1950s thanks to “Diamond Intarsia”, a technique that made it possible to trace the typical elongated rhombuses on sweaters that made the Scottish brand’s fortune, Ballantyne celebrates its hundredth anniversary this year.

Admirers of the diamond pattern on its pullovers include royals, Hollywood stars and world-famous jetsetters (from Alain Delon to Jacqueline Kennedy, James Dean and Steve McQueen). Even Hermès and Chanel, impressed by the label’s ability to treat the finest fibres to perfection, entrusted them with their knitwear. In 1967, Her Majesty honoured Ballantyne’s signature knitwear with the Queen Award.

The company is now run by former artistic director Fabio Gatto, who, in order to bring it back to its golden age, has combined jumpers inlaid with the unmistakable argyle with a wide, varied range of weight and fineness, capable of satisfying lovers of ultralight under-jackets and of enveloping pullovers, as well as capsule collections from the Lab line, in which the production virtuosity of the house meets the fresh vision of young designers cherry-picked each time.



Drumohr

With roots firmly planted in Scotland, the land that originated this century-old brand (in business since 1770), Drumohr has been speaking Italian since 2006, ever since it was acquired by the Ciocca group.

The Brescian company has moved production from the United Kingdom to Italy, while paying the utmost attention to keeping intact the craftsmanship that, throughout the 20th century, had conquered actors, aristocrats and ultimate models of chicness, from the King of Norway to Prince Charles, from James Stewart to Gianni Agnelli; It was the latter, guardian deity of male elegance eternally imitated (with poor results, it goes without saying), who made Drumohr’s “razor blade” a must-have, renamed “biscottino”, a pattern consisting of small rectangles spread rhythmically on wool or cashmere.

Combining artisanal know-how and ceaseless research, the collections now include colour blocking, micro or macro inlays, embossing and precise reworkings of the pattern dear to the Avvocato, which do not disdain rather bold colour choices, matching, for instance, blue with pistachio, orange with burgundy, turquoise with burgundy.



Malo

A history that is approaching the half-century mark; an entirely Italian manufacture, concentrated in the factories of Campi Bisenzio and Borgonovo Val Tidone; an idea of understated luxury, which lets the quality of garments with exquisite yarns and exquisite craftsmanship speak for itself. These are the pillars of Malo, a brand founded as a producer of cashmere knitwear in 1972, when Scottish dominance over the sector seemed untouchable. Despite that, it managed to establish itself thanks to the rich, vibrant palette of its pullovers constructed to perfection, bien sûr.

The company reached its peak between the 1990s and 2000s, then started a decline, interrupted in 2018 by a trio of entrepreneurs (Walter Maiocchi, Luigino Belloni and Bastian Mario Stangoni) who took over ownership, handing back an absolute central role to the craftsmanship of the offer, centred on cashmere from Mongolia, sometimes mixed with equally precious materials, from alpaca to silk and vicuña, nicknamed the “fleece of the gods”.

Deluxe fibres are, of course, at the heart of the F/W 2021 Boulevard collection, in which the nuances, architecture and charms of the great metropolitan boulevards are transposed onto extra-soft wools, in cool colours (above all the different shades of grey, the true passe-partout of the collection) or bright colours, inlaid with tiny geometric reliefs or slightly distorted braids, ribbed or compact, for garments with measured, clean volumes that the brand defines as “timeless and urban-chic”.



Pringle of Scotland

When it comes to high-profile knitwear, thanks to its centuries-old traditions and incomparable wool varieties, Scotland is unrivalled, and this is even more true for a brand that refers to the country’s genius loci right from its name, Pringle of Scotland.

Founded in 1815 by Robert Pringle in the Scottish Borders, it is credited with at least two “patents” that were destined to have a profound effect on the fate of the wool industry: in the 1920s, it invented the argyle pattern, the iconic – it has to be said – lozenge pattern, promptly adopted by Edward VIII, Duke of Windsor, the unrepentant elegant and supreme arbiter of male good taste of the time, immediately imitated by the aspiring epigones of international aristocracy. Another feather in the label’s cap is the twin set, the combination of a crew-neck jumper and ton-sur-ton cardigan that has become a pillar of bon chic bon genre style. Basically an authentic national pride, it is not surprising that Queen Elizabeth, a distinguished customer of the knitwear factory, awarded it with the Royal Warrant in 1956, an honour certifying its status as official supplier to the House of Windsor.

Still made in the Hawick factory, Pringle of Scotland garments can be purchased from the comfort of home on the official e-shop, choosing from a fair range of relaxed fit models, from the ever-popular argyle jumpers to sweaters of vintage appeal, with the lion (a symbol retrieved from the archives) woven on the chest.



Translation by Zoran Trevisan

Reinvention is art: the multifunctional sales space Dover Street Market

In the early days of the department store, Dover Street Market CEO Adrian Joffe, and husband of Rei Kawakubo, the mastermind behind Comme De Garçons, was wondering: “Can Dover Street Market leave Dover Street?” The answer was yes, and years later, it can be found in London, New York, Tokyo, Singapore, Los Angeles, Beijing and the French capital.

In Paris, as part of the French government’s plan to renew the city, he decided to experiment with a new format named ‘3537’, a multifunctional platform named after the address of its headquarters in the city, at the Hôtel de Coulanges in 35-37 Rue des Francs Bourgeois. The project features entertainment activities that blend with shopping experiences, with the goal of hosting music concerts, exhibitions, ballets and film screenings.

Radical thinking has always been part of the duo’s working method.  

Suffice to say how, in 1999, they chose to open a store in the Chelsea neighbourhood in New York, at a time when few galleries were busy settling in the area. 


Rei Kawakubo founded Comme des Garçons in 1969, and in 1981, its first Parisian show broke all the canons of contemporary aesthetics in a whirlwind of chaos and creation. South African by birth, Adrian Joffe, is part of the brand’s evolution. While searching for a new location for the Comme des Garçons flagship store, Joffe came across Dover Street, former home to the Institute of Contemporary Art. Initially, the idea was to acquire just the ground floor, but “why not take the whole building and host a large creative community?”, just like how it happened in Kensington Market, the dearest place to Kawakubo’s London heart, where she first found herself in the 1960s. Kensington was a bazaar of unprecedented contaminations that had fueled London’s underground culture in the decades before. Named ‘The Best Shop in the World’, DSM was the turning point of their careers. Four names joined for the creation of exclusive products for the launch of the concept store: Hedi [Slimane], Raf [Simons], Alber [Elbaz] and Azzedine [Alaïa].  Other watersheds were the arrival of Phoebe Philo’s iconic Céline collection in 2009, Nicolas Ghesquière’s first collection for Louis Vuitton in 2014, as well as Alessandro Michele’s fresh visions for Gucci in 2015. And those were just a few of the stages that led to the leap that in 2021 has opened new horizons.

“We give people freedom, but with a fair share of rules,” Joffe has repeatedly stated. 

Supervision at each shop is manic. Rei takes care of the group’s image, its shared spaces and the Comme brands, delegating other responsibilities to Adrian. “If she was only approaching the things she likes, we would have nothing. Rei likes people that work hard and have something to say. That’s the only selection criterion”. It is a department store that places the role of the salesperson and its training philosophy at the centre of its universe. The company structure is horizontal, strategically enlightened and aimed at sustainable growth.

“And do you find this job fun?” “Fun is not really the right word.” Joffe replies.  “It’s exciting. It’s what I do. There’s satisfaction in working. There are a lot of problems – with designers and their egos, the dynamics with Rei. It’s a nightmare, really, but it’s what keeps us going. There’s no progress without fight. If it were easy, everyone would do it. It also means thinking about the future. There will be a day when she’s gone. We have to think about it… But that’s another matter.”

TOM OF FINLAND AND WE ARE SPASTOR REVEAL THEIR NEW SUSTAINABLE COLLABORATION

The collaboration between Tom of Finland and We are Spastor offers a limited edition jacquard knit twin set consisting of a sweater with a 70s silhouette and a scarf with the iconic “biker head”.

The Finnish designer is one of the most influential artists of the 20th century for the exceptional uniqueness and artistry of his designs that not only redefine the masculinity of the human being, but also offer a clear vision of the position of homosexuals in modern society. The master designer has changed queer culture with his proud, subversive and joyful expression of sexuality.



Each garment is made of the softest Italian fabric, sourced from a Tuscan mill with a blend of kid mohair and hand carding finished, creating a true charcoal effect. Each garment is woven with care, produced in the surroundings of Barcelona, in a workshop run by a young entrepreneur, made in the smallest details and hand-labeled with the special woven label “Tom of Finland + We Are Spastor”, made of 100% recycled polyester. In fact, the collaboration supports local production, actively engaging in a policy of social responsibility.

Finally, 10% of every purchase will be donated to the Tom of Finland Foundation for the preservation of the artist’s archive and legacy.


Freddy Carter – the mysterious Kaz Brekker in Shadow and Bone

Photographer: Joseph Sinclair

Stylist: Ella Gaskell

Groomer: Nadia Altinbas

If you are charmed by the fantasy genre, where a long series of events intertwines with the adventures of protagonists with a complex personality in unreal places, you cannot miss “Shadow and Bone“, a TV series adapted from the first novel of the fantasy duology Six of Crows, set in the world of Grisha, written by the American authoress Leigh Bardugo.  The novel is narrated in the first person by the protagonist, Alina Starkov, a teen orphan who grew up in Ravka, a fantasy world inspired by Tsarist Russia in the 1800s, with breathtaking costumes and special effects. 



On the occasion of its release on Netflix, Mondadori republished the novel with a new graphic and the title “Shadow and Bone” on 3rd November 2020. 

Freddy Carter, a film director, is also an extraordinary actor who plays the role of Kaz Brekker, a mysterious criminal, in Shadow and Bone. As you can perceive from his work as a director, with his short film “No. 89“, even in the guise of an actor, he can combine a subtle and sharp irony with tragic situations, with an unexpected rhythm that makes you feel dizzy. He stages stories and relationships among characters in the most innovative way possible. 



Mr. Brekker is a cold and detached individual with a mysterious charm who hides a past that turns out to be eye-opening and will reveal his temperament. His eyes unveil an unsolved pain mixed with a thirst for revenge. He is a clever criminal prodigy who does not trust even his closest friends. The eight episodes reserve many surprises about the characters and their evolution. 

Freddy was born in 1993, he spent his formative years at the Oxford School of Drama. His first theater experiences were followed by the first performance on the big screen in the movie Wonder Woman, where he played the role of a soldier. However, he got the fame he deserved when he played the character of Peter, called Pin, in Free Rein. 

We know you wrote and produced the short film “No. 89” with Caroline Ford and your brother Tom Austen. Would you talk about it? 

“I think that “No. 89” is one of the works that I am most proud of. Seeing a project developing from the initial idea, through the production, to its conclusion has been very fulfilling. It has been a pleasure working with Caroline and Tom: they are both talented actors who made my job much easier. I have been affected by the “movie direction virus” because now I am working on my second short film “Broken Gargoyles” which will be shot in the next few weeks.”



In which series have you felt most at ease? Besides interpreting the cold Mr. Brekker, we have also seen you play the role of Pin Hawthorne in Free Rein. 

“I have been so lucky to work on a wide range of TV programs with different tones, themes, and targets. I enjoyed working on Free Rein. It is rare to play the same character for three years – eventually, I felt like I knew who Pin really was. But I admit that Kaz Brekker has been my favorite role so far. He is so complex and there is always something more under the surface: it is a real challenge.” 

By the way, do you like riding a horse? Which are your hobbies off the set? 

“I love riding a horse, I miss it so much and hope to go back to it soon. Besides acting, my greatest passion is photography. I started taking pictures of my colleagues on the set of Free Rein. It was born as a distraction to kill time and then I fell in love with it. It is a way to remember all the emotional adventures that I am lucky to experience.”


Shadow and Bone is a hymn to friendship and the importance of an alley to achieve goals. Which role does the presence of a partner play in your life? Do you want to tell us about a specific experience? 

“This is so true. The topic of the family is very important in the books and it is also evident in the TV show. I think I had a similar experience with the cast of “Shadow and Bone” in Budapest. We all arrived in that new city alone, nobody knew each other, but we soon got closer and created a small family.”

Do you have any projects? Either as a director or as an actor. 

“I am very excited to start filming a new miniseries called “Masters of the Air” for Apple TV. I will work with the same team of “Band of Brothers” and “The Pacific”, this is a dream coming true for me because I loved that series. As a director, we are getting ready to shoot “Broken Gargoyles” in London within a few weeks!”

What does it mean today to be a film director? Does he/she have a responsibility in the choice of the topics? 

“I think it is fundamental to put some elements of hope in the stories we tell. The pandemic and the various lockdowns have shown how necessary entertainment and the arts are for people’s well-being. So, as long as artists do not lose hope, everything will be fine.”

Curated by Francesca Romana Riggio

Henry Lloyd-Huges, a British genius for a new Sherlock Holmes

Interview: Rosamaria Coniglio

Photographer  Joseph Sinclair

Stylist         Manny Lago

Grooming    Shamirah Sairally

British charm and savoir-faire, highly talented not only in front of the camera but also on the cricket pitch, where he has been spending most of his free time for over 10 years. He has played so many different roles that we do not know exactly which character suits him most. And probably, he has not decided yet, too. When talking about his talent, he prefers not to focus too much on himself. Is this elegant modesty that makes him so special? 



Our country has already appreciated his role of Alfred Lyttelton in the Netflix series “The English game”, set in the time when football was at its beginnings. Between power games and low blows, the first professional football players start succeeding, but not without controversy, arose more by class interests than moral issues. We suggest not missing out on the chance to see him in the shoes of a wealthy businessman who places his self-interests above an apparent strong friendship and a morality that is useful for the conservation of power and social status. However, the real news is his role of Sherlock Holmes in the new Netflix series “The Irregulars”, where you will discover an irreverent and brilliant version, described by Tom Bidwell, very different from what you have watched so far about the most famous detective in the world.

A dystopic version of London, where certainties and values are replaced by horrible crimes and supernatural events, hits a nerve of a society like ours, completely distorted by the pandemic, which has affected every field and has forced us to live a new reality. 



Troubled teenagers are protagonists and victims at the same time, they are manipulated to solve the crimes for Dr. Watson and his mysterious business partner. You have to wait for some episodes to find out what has happened to Sherlock Holmes in the last few years. And this is where the greatness of this character is hidden. He reveals what we have never known about him: his before and after. 

We discover the young, brilliant and ambitious Sherlock, led by the energic impulse of youth and high self-esteem that will be his fortune but also his greatest weakness. What about his maturity? What about the man, emptied by his ego and consumed by guilt, who saw his strengths falling apart? You will find out. And you will also discover all the aspects of a new Sherlock that Henry Lloyd-Hughes will convey through his extraordinary performance. 



An unexpected psychological perspective is revealed in small doses. Traces of personal elements linked to his character make an act immortal or a romantic gesture extreme through suspense. 

We asked him how difficult it is to show two different sides of such a complex personality: the methodical, witty, and self-confident side and the other one, destroyed by pain and deprived of any motivations. His answer left out his performance, he praised, instead, the great merits of the costume designer and the makeup artist. He is a real gentleman. “We really wanted to push both versions as far as possible and tell the story of someone absent for 15 years. Through the body and the look, with the Oscar-winner Lucy Sibbick and Edward K. Gibbon’s costumes, it has been an emotional experiment to see how far we could push ourselves, making sure that the character would seem the original one”. 

I think his charm lies in the depth with which he can connect with his characters. He confirmed that the aspect of Sherlock that most attracted him was “His vulnerability and his perforated and broken ego.”

The exchange between Henry and his characters is intimate and deep. His great introspective ability can give us a unique version of the detective; from what he tells us, every character goes into his universe in a special way. “It always depends on where the character meets you in your life. You meet a certain character at a certain age and you bring everything you have experienced with that role in your life. At the moment, I’m thinking with affection about my time spent with the character of Sherlock, and something very personal arises. But I’m sure that when I play another character, I will love him in the same way or even more.” 



Do you want to tell us about some funny moments during the shooting? 

“Yes! We burnt some of the original costumes to create the oldest Sherlock’s clothes. During the shooting, the burnt wool stunk so much that all the other actors started complaining. Moreover, every time I put my hands in the pocket, clouds of soot rose, and I left prints of dirty hands everywhere!”

In the “English Game,” you play the role of one of the best football players of that time. But we know that you have a great passion for cricket and a brand with a two-generation story inspired by this sport: N.E. Blake & Co.

“Sure. It is a great honor for me to continue the family tradition. “Paddy” Padwick was my great-grandfather and an extremely gifted athlete. He turned his passion into a business with “N.E. Blake & Co.” I relaunched it, trying to bring back a classic sporty look focused mainly on cricket. Sometimes it is hard to run a business as well as acting, but honestly, I’m so keen on the classic sporty style that I can’t help it.”

How important were sports in your life?

“Very much. I have been playing in a cricket club for 10 years, the Bloody Lads Cricket Club. Because of Corona Virus, unfortunately, the season was shortened last year. We look forward to getting black to play regularly.” 

 Considering that we don’t want to miss them, what are your future plans on the big screen?

We are all waiting to know the future of The Irregulars, so this might be my next adventure!”

Have you ever wanted to play a particular role? Someone who reflects your personality or someone so different from you that you feel attracted by him? 

“I would like to do a musical or something very eccentric like the movies of Wes Anderson. I have loved Grand Budapest Hotel so much that I feel perfectly fit in his surreal world, followed by James Bond, of course. 



Curated by Francesca Romana Riggio

CDLP: male underwear made in Sweden

Created in 2016 by ​​Christian Larson and Andreas Palm, CDLP is a Swedish male underwear brand. Its story begins after several trips of the founders, where the two designers discover how similar their taste in underwear was. Hence the idea of ​​creating a new solution for men’s underwear, a combination of sustainable fabrics and sewing techniques used for tailored trousers.



Today, the collection entirely represents men everyday life: from underwear to t-shirts but also leisure and sports opportunities such as swimwear, homewear and finally sports underwear. Breathability, comfort and silk-like softness distinguish underwear, such as lyocell, a future-oriented fiber that is naturally breathable and moisture wicking, as well as being wrinkle-resistant, durable and quick-drying.



In addition to lyocell, future-oriented materials in underwear can be found in bamboo socks, in tops with a blend of pima cotton and lyocell, performance clothing in rPET and swimwear in Econyl. Also suppliers are small-scale European, to breathe new life into obsolete products that mass production inevitably produces. Partners are carefully selected based on mutual values ​​to foster long-term and sustainable collaboration.



Milan Fashion Week – a recap on a journey through space and time

What the following fashion shows have in common is an abstract journey through space and time, between past and future, and between reality and utopia. With futuristic garments and classical-style scenography, you are transported into a parallel universe.

 Missoni depicts the new generations, ambitious and a bit rebel, as seen in their free time, involved in their passions, full of dreams and plans for the future. They move with ease and elegance among suits and multicolor knit and lamè coats that accompany their movements, reflecting the cornerstones of the Maison in a fresher and more optimistic version. Like the wool or cashmere kaftan, a symbol of the versatility of the collection that adjusts to different looks. Chromatic variations, in the brand’s DNA, embrace shades of terracotta, cognac, pink, but also turquoise and orange, up to the elegant white and grey combination. They travel through time under the notes of Mad World, a cover by the Tears For Fears, representative of a succession of generations with the version by Gary Jules first and those by other artists, who have interpreted it, giving it new and endless lives. 


The world is a digital, utopian, and switchable reality where space takes shape according to its relation. In this atmosphere of intellectual freedom, Iceberg celebrates its heritage by wrapping garments. The main color, white, realized on large volumes, takes us back to an appealing aesthetic, like a lunar landscape. 

Then we are transported into an ideal environment, delimited by arches, stairs, and structural elements, leading us into the domestic walls that in this new daily life resemble the workplace, but more silent and less hectic. Grey and black scales, evoking a metropolitan style, appear on tricot dresses; more marked silhouettes and more feminine lines integrated into a new guise, more agile and functional. This is ICEBERG Knitwear Utopia.

“I thought about a complete wardrobe with garments that adapt to every moment of the day, from morning to night—clothes designed for a contemporary detail-oriented woman, immersed in a different and less chaotic reality. The usual pop colors of ICEBERG are softened in favor of an essential palette to escape from reality and dive into a parallel universe, knitted on the skin,”- explains the creative director James Long.


 

The new Salvatore Ferragamo‘s fashion is projected into the future, led by its Creative Director Paul Andrew’s inspiration. References are taken from ’90s science fiction movies, among jumpsuit and padded trousers, metal mesh, and cuts of space uniform. The goal is to relaunch, with an energetic and positive spirit, the future of a world that belongs to everyone by natural law, without distinction of color or social class. Renewed footwear, the starting point of Maison’s story, embraces a new look with the space biker boot for a whole new mission and aesthetic vision. “As Salvatore Ferragamo said about his shoes, this collection is dedicated to all those who have to walk, united in their determination to reimagine and rebuild a new responsible future, positive and joyful,” says Andrew. 


Fendi‘s fashion show with Kim Jones‘ first Prêt-à-porter collection, Artistic Director of Fendi’s Couture and Ready-to-Wear woman Collections, talks about a change, as well. It is about a future that would not exist without the foundation of its past. Fendi’s man and woman cross the catwalk scattered with classical columns that resisted time, like remains of an ancient, unearthed city. References that emphasize and value Karl Lagerfeld’s inheritance, in his monogram, Karligraphy. The architectonic heel of FENDI First shoes, born from an archive drawing, and the patterns of his Couture Collection are echoed in marbled silk clothes, flowered rosette, or delicate organza embroidery on jacquard shirts. 


Even the bags steal the scene, thanks to the new creation of Silvia Venturini for Fendi: FENDI. First, a clutch declined in thousands of varieties, sizes, and materials: leather, shearling, and exotic leathers—new silhouettes for the FENDI Way tote and the FENDI Touch shoulder bag. 

Great attention to the craftsmen of Made in Italy, emphasized in FENDI hand-in-hand project, which involves artisans from the 20 Italian regions to reimagine the Baguette icon.

The collection MANIFESTO dedicated to the FW21-22 of MSGM is a rewind of the tape. A Rewind to understand and regain possession of ourselves and our roots because we cannot plan a successful future without being fully aware of our past. The forced lockdown led us to long pauses to reflect, among flash-back and a deep analysis of ourselves. 

The Manifesto par excellence marks the beginning of something new that affects the whole cultural universe of a historical period. In the seat of Teatro Manzoni in Milan, the film-event was shot by Francesco Coppola, one of the young up-and-coming filmmakers in Italy, under the notes of a song written and interpreted by Gea Politi, editor of Flash Art, in collaboration with Club Domani.

Shiny fabrics, latex, recycled vinyl, and ecological furs tell us about the nightlife in Milan because Manifesto is addressed to a multi-cultural pole open to the future and a tireless and optimistic Milan, the driving force of the economy. 



Adaptation by Intl Editor Francesca Romana Riggio

Milan Fashion Week – a new statement of freedom

Woman Fashion Week 2021 starts with an unmissable tribute to Beppe Modenese, who left us on 21st November 2020, through the work of Beniamino Barrese, who relocates him immersed in a world very dear to him, with the same severity and concreteness with which his voice resounds: fashion. 

 A hectic Milan, accompanied by the usual traffic noise in the background, marks the working hours. Behind his words, the supreme value of fashion as the driving force of the economy and the birth of new professions, which have contributed to creating the Italian identity, is ineluctably rooted in his System. 


Beppe Modenese

In what direction is the fashion we’ll see in the shop windows next fall going? What are the designers inspired by for their idea of style evolution in a pandemic universe that is still difficult to get used to? Moved by new necessities, essential for the preservation of the planet and humanity divided by useless and destructive acts of intolerance, the new collections are also a statement of responsibility, addressed to the new generations who want to be part of a new world regulated by a circular system and free from prejudice.

The common thread of these designer’s fashion shows is a statement of freedom: the freedom to express yourself through what you wear and through your body, the freedom from any social conventions, the freedom to show your true self and who you want to be.

Giorgio Armani’s fashion show is an excursus among the iconic garments of menswear in the last decades, updated in a comfort key to be worn casually by a man who is aware of what he desires and of his body. The knit jackets and the deconstructed coats fall softly on the shoulders, highlighting the natural male shape. Mandarin collars, the signature style of King Giorgio’s elegance, characterize shirts and velvet jackets and fine textures. 

New details are depicted by geometrical patchworks on wool or velvet jackets and t-shirts that highlight the silhouette. Free overlaps of elements characterized by floral prints and embroidery, inspired by far-off places, on classic trousers and velvet loafers, break the stylistic boundaries and offer the best to represent the choice of a garment: the freedom to express yourself. 


Prada‘s fashion show is also a statement of freedom. With its authority, it addresses the concept of the simultaneous existence of masculinity and femininity in man and woman. This freedom from any conventions, wished by Miuccia Prada and Raf Simon, finds expression in the tight jacquard knit “long johns”. If on the one hand, they cover the skin completely, on the other they make it free in all its possible movements, as if it was naked and uncovered, so that the action, the activity, and the intentional act take over. 

The classical shapes change in favor of comfort, with flexible fabrics and unconventional cuts. Evening dresses become comfy suits, and tailored coats are covered with bright colors or sequins, turning their original purpose into the exact opposite. Materials intended for a garment or a preconceived use change destination in the name of freedom from any canons. 

Even the scenography, the same one used for the men’s fashion show, created by Rem Koolhaas and AMO, destabilizes with its “faux fur” and marble accents to represent this exaggerated contrast best way to express one’s idea of freedom. 

It is important to remember that these materials will be donated to Meta, a circular economy project based in Milan, which provides sustainable solutions for the disposal of waste produced by temporary events. 


Fluid materials for the elegant sensuality of N°21, where the lace is the protagonist in its fluid version and is part of weight contrasts, ranging from wool maxi coats to versatile oversize mohair shirts, worn rebelliously by man and woman for the need of communicating through the body, as a result of the forced digitalization caused by the pandemic. 

Precious details, such as Swarovski crystals, follow a pave pattern on impalpable silk tops and accessories or, in a genderless key, they are lined up on check jackets to showcase necks and both the male and female body. Like the egg-shaped speckled wool coats similar for man and woman. Alessandro Dell’Acqua‘s inspiration comes from a polaroid of Carlo Mollino: “It made me think of an aesthetic shape that the great Italian architect also transferred into the positions and attitudes of the women he photographed in environments that he built through his eclectic vision. I wanted to transfer the same eccentric erotism into my collection, typically Italian, that can put together modesty and desire to show off. This gave rise to a very “clean” declination of the middle-class eccentric side, made of lace bras, accidental transparencies, and a desire for carnality and nudity. But their casual exposure makes them naive. 

It is a collection that is not built upon “double entendre” to interpret, but upon direct words that allow men and women to represent themselves as they want to be.”


The new challenge of Alessandro dell’Acqua for Elena Mirò connects brands with principles of femininity and seduction, so dear to the designer who uses the sensoriality of the silk, of the seductive macramè and the wrapping knitwear that together with large outwear follow the body movements naturally. These are materials that can interpret a woman connected with nature and the dynamism of metropolitan life. “I thought about designing desirable clothes without being too influenced by the rules related to sizes,” explains Alessandro dell’Acqua ” Basically, I focused on transforming the fabrics technologically to increase their comfort, even when they are heavy like the tweed, and I have removed any easy solutions that could give the impression of wrapping women in the shape of a sack. I accepted this challenge because I am sure it is possible to work on this topic without falling into the curvy fashion clichè.”


Ermanno Scervino‘s fashion show at Palazzo Serbelloni includes his strengths contributing to the designer’s success. Creator of femininity, he relaunches waist and silhouette on the runway through couture leather and sensuality of the lace to develop an evolved collection with landmarks that are an integral part of Ermanno Scervino’s cultural heritage. Like the leather’s couture working process reaching its highest level on lace and inlays, the wise use of macramè for very feminine dresses. Femininity maintained in research materials such as the innovative use of neoprene declined in a great classic such as the pleated skirt.


Adaptation by Intl Editor Francesca Romana Riggio

10 Stylish Staples That Are Eminently Covetable (And Seasonally Reasonable)

February has officially kicked-off and the spring moods—lockdown permitting—are high. Tier 3 folk, rejoice! Don’t let lockdown hamper your cheer; fashion can still be in order. Whether you’re racing for Zooms in full-force or gathering for a (socially distant) dinner, fuss-free wardrobe staples are your tickets to keep you in good spirits.

There’s plenty on the high-street for the taking, including comfortable options of chuck-on gear that are bound to turn heads among your colleagues and peers—ditto. Dress for a meeting with maximum ease in a striped number from Marni, or look to Umbro for a classic nod on tailoring.

Stay comfy, stay safe! Shop Man In Town’s edit of covetable wardrobe staples, below.

Marni

Striped crew-neck jumper, £650, available at farfetch.com



Umbro

Classico high-neck jumper in black and bio lime, £40, available at umbro.co.uk



Sebago

Grizzly mid tumbled shoe in brown, £200, available at sebago.co.uk



Palladium

Pallashock OG in marshmallow, £80, available at palladiumboots.co.uk



Isabel Marant

Logo-jacquard crew-neck jumper, £335, available at farfetch.com



Bode

Boxing felt shirt jacket, £1,099, available at farfetch.com



Neil Barrett

Panelled crew neck jumper, £310, available at farfetch.com



Acne Studios

Knitted wool cardigan, £270, available at farfetch.com



Roberto Collina

Classic cotton polo shirt, £184, available at farfetch.com



Sacai

Chevron pattern jumper, £1525, available at farfetch.com



Barbera’s Biella handmade shoes

“All our lives, we have heard our father called Maestro, and that has always made us proud of him, now that they call us Maestro, we know that it is our father who is very proud of us.”

Barbera Sandro & Figli is an artisan company rooted in a long tradition of working with leather to create fine, entirely handmade footwear. For over 50 years, our family has been producing shoes according to our area’s ancient shoemaking traditions.

Founded in 1968 in Biella, thanks to our parents’ will, Sandro and Luciana, Barbera Sandro & Figli has its headquarters in the city.

Just on the occasion of our 50th year of activity, the company obtained the recognition of “Eccellenza Artigiana Piemonte”; an award followed by “Eccellenze Italiane” and “Artigiano del Cuore.” Together with the collaboration with leading companies in the fashion industry, three awards have filled us with pride and satisfaction for our work.



Barbera shoes are unique and completely customizable models because they are created one at a time and proudly Made in Italy.

The desire is to offer a refined, long-lasting accessory to meet each customer’s style and comfort needs. The collections range from the most youthful, modern, and exclusive models to the classic and timeless ones (both for men and women).

Each shoe is produced with the utmost care, aimed at searching for the best materials (strictly Made in Italy), design and development of exclusive processes and colors, such as hand-dyed, stone waxed, and garment-dyed.

Let’s review the history of the company with Andrea Barbera.

Tell us about your journey and how your company was born.

Barbera Sandro e Figli is an artisan workshop producing quality footwear for over 50 years, strictly by hand and selecting 100% Made in Italy materials. The company was started in 1968 by our parents Sandro and Luciana, and over the years we brothers, Stefano and Andrea, took over.



For both of us to continue the family business was a natural path. It was born by learning the trade secrets from our father and, above all, being “infected” by his passion.

The aim is to create unique products with our own hands, capable of enclosing all the beauty and quality of Italian handmade products.

How do you carry on the tradition while keeping up with the times?

For us, making shoes by hand means creating elegant footwear and researching innovative processes and materials to ensure maximum comfort to our customers even when they buy a leather shoe. After long years of studies, we have reached this goal, experience in the field, and the continuous updating on the market news. Besides, we wanted to give a green footprint to many of our collections, selecting eco-friendly materials, such as Merino wool for our iconic Wooly, or ecological rubber for the soles.



We also focused a lot on the digital sphere, making ourselves known and keeping a channel of communication open with our customers near and far. We have opened our social media with Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube and created a website with e-commerce, to be always reachable and tell a bit of us to those who follow us.

What are the iconic pieces that characterize the brand?

Our Wooly unisex sneaker is one of the most appreciated creations. It was created in collaboration with the designers of Reda Active.

It is a New Zealand Merino wool shoe, a tribute to our land known for its fine fabrics. Thanks to this material’s properties, it can be worn all year round (wool provides exceptional thermal comfort) and can be combined with a casual style, but also with a broken dress.



To celebrate our 50 years of activity, instead, we have created our Barberini, Belgian loafers with an exclusive design, made of calfskin, suede, and fabrics and with Flex processing, which combines maximum comfort with an elegant and ultra-trendy style. Last but not least, the Multicolor shoes that have made us known all over the world. This is a line of men’s brogues entirely handmade and dyed. One of their strengths lies in the extensive possibilities of customization, as the customer can choose the color of every single part of the shoe.



Which craft techniques are part of your heritage and still used today?

As already mentioned, we make extensive use of the Black Flex technique, one of our exclusive processes, which increases the shoe softness, giving it a particular aesthetic, but above all, considerable flexibility. Another traditional method that we still use for some models is hand dyeing, which gives the shoes unique shades of color.



Finally, there is the “stonewashed” process: as the name suggests, with this technique, shoes are “washed” with stones to give them a vintage effect, soften the leather and create a unique texture, with a gritty and very current style.

Plans for the future and what strategies are you developing to overcome this moment.

In this period, we are focusing a lot on the digital part: we continue to invest in online communication, but also to implement new services to meet the needs of our customers, such as the Virtual Shop.



The latter consists in the possibility of scheduling a video call on WhatsApp to virtually enter our laboratory and get advice on the sizes and style of our models. Beyond the fact that the relationship with people is one of the aspects we love most about our work, today more than ever, we believe that the human connection, even if at a distance, makes the difference for our customers and us.