By and  on February 8, 2011

FLORENCE — Accessories and fledgling apparel lines took center stage at Pitti W, the women’s wear trade show that showcases capsule and pre-collections.

Turnout remained flat, with 4,400 visitors attending the exhibition, which showcased 80 brands at a pavilion on via Valfonda.

Gherardini, considered the oldest existing handbag brand in Italy, celebrated its 125th anniversary with a static exhibition featuring archive styles, some of which had been reworked for fall, such as the Ghe bag, a Seventies style done in crocodile, calf leather and lamb’s fur. The classic model, with a distinctive double-barrel fastening, was just one of many styles aimed at reinvigorating the brand. Lorenzo Braccialini, who bought Gherardini three years ago, said his focus is to refresh the brand and bolster the label’s existing 10 signature stores.

“We plan to open 20 boutiques in China within five years,” he said. “By the end of this year, we hope to sign licenses for clothing and shoes, too.”

New at Kartell were the demi-sofa boots. Seemingly inspired by Pierre Cardin, the molded rubber ankle boots have a futuristic wedge heel and were showcased in black, gray and indigo blue. At a flanking stand, Henry Beguelin offered its vintage take on boots and suede coats with shearling collars in earth tones.

Italian shoe brand Muse unveiled its debut line of Sixties-inspired printed ponyskin moccasins and leather slip-ons with wool linings. Retail prices start from around 200 euros, or $270.

Highlights at Italian hat brand Lika, which next season aims to enter the U.S., included felt cloche-style hats inspired by Twenties haircuts, headbands with soft glittery bows and lace-lined trilbys that made a nod toward veiled hats from the Thirties.

Meanwhile, young designers boosted the fair’s offering with capsule apparel collections.

Italian designer Mauro Gasperi unveiled a line of functional outerwear, knits and lightweight jersey dresses, along with fine mohair sweaters in camel and black softening tailoring separates like electric blue shirts and gray fitted pants.

In only its second season, new dress brand 241 unveiled a collection of 40 printed jersey styles inspired by vintage scarves. The label is owned by the Crespi fabric company, and all the dresses are produced from its textiles. Retail prices start from around 100 euros, or $135.

New Italian label Jan D’Arc unveiled its capsule collection of seven military-inspired coats designed by young designer Ben Almagor. Cotton styles feature frayed cuffs and seams, while wool jackets are accessorized with silver chains and military regalia.

Sophia Kokosalaki’s former design assistant, Giuseppe Fanelli, introduced his line, dubbed Unravel, offering silk tulle dresses in dusty tones that will retail from 150 euros, or about $200.

Underwear brand Les Maçons Danseurs launched a line of men’s innerwear basics, retailing at 20 euros, or around $26.

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