Elsewhere in Milan: Tod’s, KB Hong and Lardini
Tod’s: Modern elegance via portraiture
Tod’s designer Walter Chiapponi entitled his latest menswear collection The Italian Portrait, and it turned out to be a fine twist on peninsula poise.
“I wanted to strip away all the details and get down to what was essential,” explained the designer at a presentation in Tod’s fetish location, the beautiful haute modernist Villa Necchi.
Chiapponi showed single-breasted five-button trench-coats; shiny caramel nappa leather shirt jackets; Nehru-collar suede bombers and some great felt wool jerkins with shearling lining.
Marking a return to a 1940s silhouette – like the bomber jacket and pleated trousers which Walter sees as a stereotype of men in that era.
Details were kept to a minimum, with hidden touches seen in stitching and lining.
“Luxury today is about staying silent and working on the outline. I see on the streets from New York to Seoul to Berlin that young people are not wearing sneakers anymore. They want to wear Chelsea boots. That’s a message to me. Step by step, many people are following my lead. Even the models are not coming to castings looking messy anymore,” the Tod’s designer argued.
His cast posing in the villa in great new versions of the iconic W.G. boots made with infills, and sportier trim.
Though Walter’s biggest statement was the latest take on the Tod’s Pash Jacket, a prime example of this house’s super craftsmanship. Seen in the hand-finished treatments, where skillful waxing techniques gives the leather an extra dimension.
KB Hong: Sino-Italian chic triumphs
China, and indeed all the BRICS, have had a hard time creating truly luxury brands. Which is what made Monday’s show by KB Hong seem so special – for it was bona fide Sino-Italian luxe menswear.
KB Hong is the top men’s line of Kick Boxing, a mass market brand boasting some 2,500 sales points in China controlled by the well-to-do Hong family.
Full marks for whichever Hong scion manages KB Hong. Due to Covid restrictions, none of the family attended this show, staged hyper professionally inside Milan’s rationalist design museum, the Triennale.
Their choice of Massimo Foroni, a gentlemanly creator who spent two decades designing for the great Gianfranco Ferré was, well, inspired.
Presented in small committee in a blackened-out room, the cast marched behind a curtain of lasers, in only the third appearance of KB Hong on the official calendar of Milan Fashion Week.
Whipping up a blend of heroic classic looks given a Chinese twist by Foroni; an Italian who has made Shanghai his home.
In some quarters, it is not PC to use the term 'Oriental'. Not at KB Hong, whose program entitled this collection 'Orientalism Chic'.
Massimo cleverly mingling in the 'loong', a traditional oriental dragon motif carved in jade. Loongs wandering across cashmere dusters; chunky sweaters; neat blazers and classy dressing gowns.
“We mainly use top quality Italian fabrics, though everything is made in China. And, as I think you can appreciate by touching the clothes, they are remarkably well made,” stressed Foroni.
Ferré was a legendary tailor, and Massimo is no slouch either, cutting superb Nehru jackets and flared pants. His black jacquard silk plenipotentiary coat was quite brilliant, and one had to admire his soaring collar felt wool blousons and a really beautiful black and white embroidered wrap-around blazer.
Featuring posh urban nomads, with parkas and matching backpacks and cool, yet faintly sinister, high-tech wraparound blazers. The same look the designer wore to take his bow. Playing on the idea of traditional
Chinese overlapping collars, and the silhouette of Hanfu.
At times it was a tad too grand, and a wee bit too retro, but all told, this was a tremendous display. Gianfranco would have been proud. And if Massimo could inject a little of Ferré’s gentlemanly rocker ideas, then the collection would really take flight.
Sino-Italian luxury is born. Zuò dé hão, Massimo.
Lardini: Younger, cooler and in Milan
Lardini has long been a brand that stood for high-quality Italian craftsmanship. This season, it added some more fashionable kick.
In a smart strategic shift, the brand has gone for a far more contemporary vision and knocked a good half-decade off its target customer. It feted the new direction with a presentation and party, where DJs Mace and Cristina Lazic waxed the stacks in Palazzo Mezzanotte, the former stock market of Milan.
All about evolving elegance at Lardini, which showed 80s rockstar redingotes and 3D jacquard trench coats. Alongside military-derived coats with contrasting lapels, slimline trousers and some very natty double-breasted jackets.
“Forty three years have passed since the start of our business and during this long period we have had to overcome all kinds of crises. Today, the scenario that we are faced with is increasingly complex and subject to external factors that we are clearly unable to control. This leads us to be ever more attentive and prepared for change and to perfect our strategies,” explained CEO, Andrea Lardini.
Backing up his words, Lardini has left the giant menswear salon of Pitti in Florence and moved its presentation to Milan. It’s a transfer which looks like being permanent.
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