MILAN — During a vacation with his family, Massimo Alba found time to make matching cashmere sweaters and peacoats for his wife and three-year-old son.
Little did he know it would be the start of a new project.
"I loved the way they looked in their matching knits because their affinity and way of bonding was even stronger," said Alba.
So Alba, who quit his creative director post at Ballantyne last December, went full speed ahead and launched a namesake line for fall. The fact that the 50-piece line is cashmere-dominated is no surprise, since Alba also worked at Malo and Agnona. There are 30 women's styles and 16 in men's and children's for ages three and up. Many of the styles are matching.
Retail prices range from $325 for knitwear to $1,300 for outerwear.
"We have also studied iron standing racks so as to display the children's looks with the adult ones on the selling floor," said Alba.
The selection includes peacoats, patch-pocket coats, miniskirts and a flurry of sweaters, from ultralight to super chunky, that are cut close to the body but on the longish side, with plunging U or V necks. Tight-fitting, thin cashmere jersey T-shirts and tank tops complement the looks.
The color palette revolves around black, camel, navy and red, and the horn buttons on the coats are applied with the same colored silk thread used in the linings.
Maglificio Rossella, near Milan, which Alba considers the best when it comes to hand-finished knitwear, produces the collection.
The line has been picked up for fall by Browns in London, Barneys New York, Janet Brown of Port Washington, N.Y., Ikram of Chicago, Mitchell's in Greenwich, Conn., and the e-tailer Net-a-porter. There are plans to seek about 50 select sales points in the first year, half of which will be in the U.S. Sales projections were unavailable.
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"It's really hard sometimes. I think I have a reputation for being really tough and aggressive and pushy but I really am a very shy person who wants to be liked, and that's the conflict constantly. There's something that takes hold - I want people to like me, I don't want to be mean - but if I see something that just cries out to be answered, I go for it," says renowned NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell. (📷: @axeldupeux)