Five new and noteworthy brands from the upcoming men’s shows in Italy.
VALEXTRA In Milan, Valextra will unveil its first men’s collection designed by Álvaro González, who was appointed creative director of the Italian luxury accessories label in July.
“With his great experience in the accessories business, Álvaro succeeded in creating bags and accessories showing clean and simple lines, in keeping with the brand’s heritage, but with a modern and contemporary look,” said Valextra chief executive officer Marco Franchini. “The real challenge is to rethink conventional objects with a functional and modern approach.”
For fall, González designed a chic collection of bags, briefcases and small accessories, all combining a sleek, minimal design with great functionality.
The lineup includes the “My logo” range, consisting of calfskin soft travel bags with detachable straps, zippered pockets and laptop compartments, while the luxurious “Sherlock Holmes” is a briefcase with a special hidden closure. González also designed a zippered, expandable shopping bag, a retro-inspired calfskin glasses case and a zippered document case embellished with a button covered with leather.
Breaking the dark palette of brown and blue-green tones, a range of wallets and credit card holders come in a bright geranium red.
Valextra, which is closing 2013 with sales up 30 percent compared with 2012, is slated to open about five freestanding stores in key locations this year, including London, Paris, New York and Milan, where the brand already counts a flagship on the Via Manzoni. The company is also partnering in local markets to launch new doors across China, Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe, while a corner dedicated to men’s accessories will open at London’s Harrods this month.
ANTONIO MARRAS After a three-year hiatus, Antonio Marras has revived his men’s wear line, which is produced under license by Italian manufacturer Emmegierre Fashion.
The collection, which will be shown Monday at the designer’s Circolo Marras in Milan, pays homage to Marras’ father, Efisio.
“I’ve always said to myself that if I returned to design men’s wear, I would dedicate it to my dad,” said Marras, who reworked and painted portraits of his father to decorate shirts and sweatshirts. The cloths that Marras’ father used to sell in his store in Alghero in Sardinia also inspired the collection.
High-end fabrics, mostly from Japan and the U.K., show a range of patterns, from micro-geometric prints to Liberty motifs. These take center stage in the sophisticated yet functional lineup, which features voluminous, ample silhouettes for a very comfortable, masculine fit. Several jackets, combining different materials including Japanese nylon, jersey and knitted wool, are reversible, and sweaters are roomy. Pants are slightly oversize with drop crotches.
A blue padded corduroy caban with a polka dot motif is paired with a matching three-piece suit in the same fabric, while a checkered felted lightweight wool suit is worn with a knitted wool and jersey vest and a cotton shirt. For a more casual look, Marras paired a padded technical parka with a cotton suit in a micro-geometric motif.
Retail prices range from 160 euros, or $218, for a cotton shirt, and 220 euros, or $300, for a sweatshirt, to 800 euros, or $1,089, for a coat. Trousers are 280 to 400 euros, or $381 to $545, while knitwear comes in between 250 euros, or $340, and 500 euros, or $680.
To complete the outfit, Marras teamed with Italian accessories label Pantofola d’Oro to deliver a co-branded range of bags and shoes, including “chunky Derby shoes with big soles,” the designer said.
According to Marras, distribution of the collection will be limited to select points of sale. Relationships with international top clients will be handled directly from the Circolo Marras in Milan, while a network of agents will wholesale the collection across Italy. In addition, the company established specific distribution channels in Russia, Asia and Northern Europe.