Y Project Pitti Uomo Glenn Martens AW19 menswearIt was most likely those wrinkly Ugg boots, looking like an oversized Shar-Pei, that garnered Y/Project its recent and biggest amount of attention. The Paris based label, headed by Belgian designer, Glenn Martens, has been lumped in with that Off-White/Balenciaga cool wave of recent years. Martens, 35, has been at Y/Project for the past 5 years, taking over from founder, Yohan Serfaty, when he died in 2013. His first assistant, Martens, was an Interior Architecture graduate and an alumni from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. 

Left - Y/Project's signature waders

This season’s guest designer at Florence’s Pitti Uomo, this was the label’s AW19 show of men’s and womenswear, bringing forward their usual date from Paris.

Forget the museum, it was a night at Florence’s famous Santa Maria Novella monastery, next to the central station and known for its smellies. Guests were given torches as they entered the huge, darkened church and we followed the hundreds of mini flashlights into the cloistered quadrant where the catwalk ran around the four sides with the models ending up like chess pieces in the middle. 

Divine despite the cold, the columns and erect cypresses were silhouetted onto the shaded honey walls as the models took a turn on what has to be one of the longest catwalks ever. One model was hobbling in her lemon yellow stilettos before she’d reached the fourth side and on into the soil centre.

Y Project Pitti Uomo Glenn Martens AW19 menswearWhat we saw was a delight of design. Yes, a designer actually trying to design something and, the majority of times, pulling it off. There’s such a difference between a designer, here, and an editor, the majority of brands, who just reconfigure and fine tune things. The word here was reconstruction. Your eye followed seams and there was an itching want to open it all up and look inside: seeing where things were going to and how they worked. This is the kind of stuff that interests us fashion geeks and isn’t something Zara can easily replicate, and, as such, makes you crave the original.

Right - Y/Project AW19 - First men's bag and shoe collection

This was the debut of the brand’s men’s footwear and bag line, both hand-crafted in Italy.

The signature waders were there, but in rigid, shiny plastic, almost like creased trousers with the shoes attached. There was plenty for the tailoring revivalists. A new tuxedo jacket appeared where the satin label was pulled out to create a 3D effect with the button. This is difficult stuff to get looking right. Fringed scarves resembling Turkish carpets added to accessorises, plus pinstripes and this season’s pattern du jour, tartan.

This was contemporary cool, bit not aching or gimmicky. You could see different age groups in these clothes and wearers enjoying the newness and the details. It felt like the direction we’re headed in. From the deconstructed and harsh reality of recent years, back to a glamour of construction and playing with new ideas while still keeping it real.

This feels like the last of this type of designer we’ll see at Pitti Uomo, as I predict a return to more tailoring and Italian industry brands, but, Martens, lead us into temptation and away from the sportswear grunge to a higher sophistication. Could Martens become the Y/Prophet?

Published in Fashion
Friday, 03 August 2018 13:58

Label To Know The Silted Company

The Silted Company menswear brands to know SS19 surfingI first saw The Silted Company over a year ago at the SS18 SEEK trade show in Berlin. I was taken with the striped 'Cali' shirt for SS18 - pictured - and the liked the idea of a relaxed, surfer brand yet with the slick manufacturing of Italy. Time flew by and I didn’t get a chance to feature them. When I saw them again at this year’s Pitti Uomo in Florence it reminded me what a good, young brand this is. Especially for summer.

Left - SS18 Cali Shirt

The Silted Company menswear brands to know SS19 surfing

The brand is strongly inspired and influenced by the culture of surfing. Their collective is made up of surfers, designers, musicians, photographers and innovative directors, "embracing the curious side of the way of thinking and positive changes in the world”. 

Right - SS18 Alar Jacket - €195

"Perceiving Endless" is their motto, it contains the past, present and future. 
Born in Emilia Romagna in Northeast Italy, The Silted Company did not immediately taste the world of surfing, but it was their admiration towards the sport and the culture that brought them  to "feel the sea inside”. This label feels young, contemporary and sporty while retaining the quality, which I love, from made in Italy.

 

The Silted Company menswear brands to know SS19 surfingLeft - Preview of SS19

Published in Labels To Know

MCM Pitti Uomo SS19

MCM
The German/Korean accessorises juggernaut, MCM, rolled into Florence to showcase its first, full ready-to-wear fashion collection. Driven by the Asian consumer and the power this brings, MCM is finally making in-roads into the European and global luxury goods market.
Two dancers, surrounded by falling precipitation, welcomed us into the darkened show space. Their breakdancing quickly made way for a collection that was strong on festival fashion. Designed by an in-house team, the ’Luft Collection’, meaning air in German, was multifunctional sportswear for the genderless generation.
 
Left - Will MCM's new ready-to-wear collection be cool enough for Glastonbury when it returns next year?
 
Think Glastonbury for the moneyed, rock ’n’ roll offspring elite who aren’t afraid to be noticed for having money. Lots of straps, pockets and hoods in bright, holographic and reflective fabrics. Your Deliveroo 3M was here, plus ribbon belts and elasticated and Velcro fastenings at the waist and wrists allowing the wearer to quickly adapt to their festival needs.
This is the type of collection British brand, Hunter, has tried to do before, when they dabbled with the catwalk, but the difference is MCM already has this young, hungry consumer. 
I’m not really a fan of MCM’s Benidorm-tan signature colour, but this took a back seat here. This was young and I’m guessing more accessibly priced. 
I can see the holdalls with a large rubber MCM on the bottom proving popular plus the runner-sandal with a breathable a waterproof integrated sock.
This type of collection will grow the brand into the more practical side of summer fashion and make product choice available for those consumers who don’t want anything heavily studded or branded, or both!
 

Roberto Cavalli Menswear SS19

ROBERTO CAVALLI
Pitti Uomo welcomed the continued relaunch of Roberto Cavalli’s menswear and the company really needs this to fly. Now under the creative direction of Paul Surridge, the British designer formerly at Jil Sander and Z Zegna, Cavalli, as a brand, has gone through something of a rocky patch. After moving the HQ from Florence to Milan, under the short lived leadership of Peter Dundas, they let nearly a third of their workforce go. It’s now back to Florence and this was Surridge’s second full collection of menswear. 
 
Right - Blurred digital prints and bad denim at Roberto Cavalli for SS19
 
Up in the hills, outside of Florence, in the refined surrounds of the Florence Charterhouse, this monastic setting saw a collection that ran from white to black with the brand’s famous animalistic signatures in-between.
This was a new, slicker and sporty Cavalli with the animals skins subtly layered rather than trowelled on, like in previous years. Gone was the boho, overly beaded Cavalli and in its place was something for a new customer that continues to buy into ‘designer’ fashion, but wants ease and wearability.
Reptiles, fish, (alien?) skins were jacquarded into fabrics. Leopard print was digital yet blurred and knitwear was finished with broken threads hanging down.
There was a nod to the current bad denim fashion and add the snakeskin boots, which Cavalli should really own, it referenced the Martine Roses and Balenciagas of this world.
One of the standout pieces was a tapestry intarsia coat covered in the Cavalli logo and good luck talisman. A digital watch print added humour and the python soled trainers looked almost aquatic as they breathed past.
As we went into the black and final evening section, bugle beads were applied in constrained vertical lines. It was all very controlled and refined.
I like this new Cavalli, it feels fresher and more contemporary. But, is this is what their current and loyal customer wants? If not, they need to find a new one and fast. Maybe those good luck talisman have a deeper meaning.
Published in Fashion
Friday, 16 February 2018 17:17

ChicGeek Comment Preppy With A Small ‘p’

Brooks Brothers 200th anniversary preppy with a small p

Brooks Brothers 200th anniversary preppy with a small p

Fashion doesn’t happen in isolation. Large corporations can influence fashion and push their aesthetic through with the help of wads of cash. This, sometimes, makes the companies bigger and more money and so the cycle continues. But, a shift can often beach the whale and sportswear has thrown the preppy baby out with the bath water. Apologises. 

I’ve written about the troubles with preppy before, Read more hereusually focussing on Ralph Lauren as the flag bearer, quite literally, of the look and its reluctance to change or evolve to suit the current taste in comfort and dress down.

Left - Brooks Brothers' 200th Anniversary Show at Pitti Uomo 93

That was a while ago, and with people soon to get bored of looking like a charity shop reject or a retro sportsperson, it’s inevitable that it will return. 

So, we move to Florence for the 93rd edition of Pitti Uomo. Brooks Brothers is one of the chosen brands to show and they are celebrating their 200th year. Which, for any retailer, let alone an American one, is something to be very proud of.

Under the painted ceiling of the Palazzo Vecchio, a deep presidential blue curtain pulled back to reveal an orchestra playing ‘Empire State Of Mind’. So far, so good. Out came the models in various guises of preppy, yet it had been styled to mute their greatest hits. Cable knits over jackets and suit jackets tucked into trousers, it looked like a collection embarrassed to brushed with the preppy magic.

Brooks Brothers can lay claim to dressing presidents and charting the evolution of American style over the last 200 years. This should have been preppy so good that you’d bounce out of the show and be googling ‘John F Kennedy Jnr’ before you hit the cobbles of Florence’s Piazza della Signoria.

Unfortunately, this wasn't the case. This should have been a celebration of America’s 20th century power and the handsome, dashing evolution of that dressed style into preppy and the history of American fashion.

Brands like Brooks Brothers and Ralph Lauren need to push in order to return to fashion favour. There’s no point in sitting back and waiting for the tide to come back in on your style. Push preppy, push suiting, push people looking like they give a shit. There was was no fight here.

Preppy isn’t fully dead, it just needs to be really good. There are new American brands like Rowing Blazers, and British brand, Drake’s, is a perfect example. They manage to make preppy feel artistic, creative and beautiful. It’s the colours, the prints and the detail that makes you want to explore the fun and exaggerated side of preppy and, shock horror, put a tie on! Maybe.

Published in Fashion

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