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Making a Stand in Milan

Five new and noteworthy brands from the upcoming men’s shows in Italy.

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Men'sWeek issue 01/09/2014

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.

NEXT: Antonio Marras >>

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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.

NEXT: Julian Zigerli >>


JULIAN ZIGERLI
A debutant at men’s fashion week in Milan, Swiss designer Julian Zigerli will unveil his fall collection on Saturday at the Armani Theater.

Zigerli, who won the Swiss Design Award in 2012, established his namesake contemporary label right after graduating from the Berlin University of Arts in 2011.

“My main goal is always to create something that is wearable and comfortable, has a function, a practical aspect and stands out because of its combination of materials, patterns and prints,” Zigerli said. “In addition, I wanted to create something fun that brings joy to those who wear it, makes them feel special and unique in a simple but interesting way. Moreover, there must always be a story to tell behind the products.”

For fall, Zigerli focused on clean, simple designs, all enriched by striking prints. These include one look resembling a melted tan brown plastic skin, while another features a digitalized honeycomb pattern filled with a transparent honey substance. Zigerli also played with 3-D effects, animating a wovenlike fabric in a vivid grape purple tone and another with hexagons with woven threads.

“Each garment is finished with French seams on the outside creating an ‘outline’ around the whole piece,” Zigerli added. “So it looks like two pieces are put together by welding. Also, some of the outlines end up very wavy at the hem to represent the seam, which is beginning to melt.”

T-shirts sell for 100 euros, or $136, and sweaters at around 200 euros, or $272, while jackets cost about 400 euros, or $544. “There are always more expensive pieces depending on fabrics and treatments,” said Zigerli, who added that his collections always include “a very special piece that stands out pricewise.”

Zigerli’s collections, which include a range of accessories such as bags and backpacks, are sold in multibrand stores worldwide, including Uni+Form in Berlin, Galeries Lafayette in Beijing, Uggla in Tokyo, Weltenbuerger in Los Angeles and +Estateofmind in Sidney.

Zigerli follows Andrea Pompilio and Stella Jean, who showed their collections in June and September, respectively, at the theater owned by Giorgio Armani, who has been supporting such up-and-coming designers.

NEXT: Boglioli >>


BOGLIOLI
An effortless, chic look dominates the fall collection of Italian brand Boglioli, which is gearing up to make its debut at Milan men’s fashion week with a presentation on Sunday.

Three themes run through the lineup, which is designed for a low-profile, elegant man with great taste and sensibility.

A bohemian look takes center stage in the first group, where patterns and colors — including bright teal and mustard yellow — are mixed and matched on more sporty outfits. These include a number of knitwear pieces treated with sophisticated techniques to obtain 3-D surface effects.

For the second group, Boglioli paid homage to the Milanese cultural scene of the Sixties, characterized by the boom of industrial design, delivering a range of understated suits, which were dyed and washed for a slightly vintage flavor. Mostly single-breasted, the suits are cut close to the body, but never too tight. A key outfit shows a flannel wool coat worn over a three-piece wool suit in a bird’s-eye pattern with a retro feel. Completing the look, Boglioli offers a range of shirts with micro-geometric patterns, along with textured and jacquard effects.

Third, the brand has a new take on indigo, usually used for spring collections, delivering cozy outerwear pieces that mix cotton and wool. These include an elongated, single-breasted peacoat inspired by a vintage overcoat used by the American army.

Italy, Germany and Japan represent the main markets for Boglioli, which is also expanding its business in the U.S., where the company opened its first offshore branch in June. Boglioli chief executive officer Giovanni Mannucci said the firm expects to see sales gains of between 5 and 7 percent in the coming year, compared with the previous one.

NEXT: Guglielmo Capone >>


GUGLIELMO CAPONE
Designer Guglielmo Capone has teamed with Italian entrepreneur Tiziano Sgarbi, who controls the Twin-Set brand, as well as the Erika Cavallini Semi-Couture and Liviana Conti women’s labels, to launch a men’s wear line during Milan’s fashion week. The collection will make its debut with a show on Sunday.

Positioned in the contemporary segment of the market, the Guglielmo Capone brand offers high-quality, wearable styles with a sober design enriched by more fashionable accents.

As creative director Capone explained, the first fall collection, consisting of 140 pieces, “is inspired by the creative and innovative atmosphere of New York’s jazz clubs in the Forties.”

Clean lines and relaxed silhouettes dominated the lineup. Capone put knitwear in the limelight — cozy and warm alpaca, cashmere and mohair cardigans, turtlenecks and sweaters that are paired with drop-crotch pants. This laid-back mood contrasts with the sartorial, pulled-together look of Fifties -inspired herringbone and macro-tweed suits. The collection also features a range of wool cloth outerwear, including coats, cabans and trenches, some showing details in leather treated with innovative techniques.

Knitwear retails at around 400 euros, or $545, while jackets are between 600 euros, or $818, and 700 euros, or $954. Outerwear retail prices range from 800 euros, or $1,090, to 1,000 euros, or $1,363.

Distributed through a network of select showrooms around the world, the brand hopes to be carried in about 100 multibrand stores in the first season. The company is eyeing European countries, Russia, the Middle and Far East as the most appealing markets.

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