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Ones to Watch at Pitti Uomo

New and noteworthy brands to check out at the upcoming men's wear trade fair.

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New and noteworthy brands to check out at the upcoming men’s wear trade fair.

ISAIA

Over the course of its 56-year history, Isaia has become well known for its expertise in tailoring.

But for spring 2014, the Naples, Italy-based luxury label will shine a spotlight on its expanded sportswear offering.

“We had a few items before, but not a fully developed collection,” said James Shay, president of Isaia’s U.S. division.

In both the sportswear and tailored clothing range, subtle military references are evident for spring. “There are slight military influences on the sportswear side and in accent clothing,” he said.

In sportswear, key pieces include perforated suede field jackets with elbow patches, which will retail for $3,595; slim cargos with military pockets; suede jackets with paratrooper patches; a bonded cashmere car coat with military pockets, and a quilted silk and cashmere hybrid blazer with a sunglass pocket designed to fit vintage aviator frames for $2,995.

The melton fabric lining the undercollars of the suits and sport coats will sport what the company is calling “coral-flage,” its own unique interpretation of a camouflage pattern blended with the brand’s signature Mediterranean red coral logo. “We change the melton every season to highlight the inspiration for that season,” Shay explained.

In tailored clothing, single-breasted two-button suits are still the top seller, although a two-roll-to-three is beginning to emerge in sport coats, he said.

Throughout the collection, color reigns. “There’s always a strong color story for spring,” he said, pointing to the purple, pink and orange sport shirts and sweaters as well as the brightly hued jackets and sport coats. “It really pops.”

In clothing, there are three main color stories: chocolate brown with lilac or yellow accents; gray with light pink or aqua, and navy with orange or green accents. “We infuse color like an eyedropper,” he said of the suits that retail for $3,250 to $4,200 and the sport coats, which sell for $2,495 to $2,900.

Throughout its collection, Isaia is working to inject a “youthful attitude” into its line to attract a younger customer — someone Shay said appreciates apparel that is “chic and luxurious yet playful.”

He also said that, at the company’s booth at Pitti Uomo, Isaia will have 14 mannequins on display to give retailers a feel for the highlights of the season. Sales for the line will be handled from the company’s showrooms in Italy, Japan and the U.S.

Isaia is a third-generation family-owned company whose product is available in the U.S. at Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Barneys New York, as well as a variety of independent specialty stores. The company also operates a flagship in Milan on Via Pietro Verri. — Jean E. Palmieri

NEXT: Stella Jean >>

RELATED STORY: Italian Men’s Brands Tout Their Heritage >>


STELLA JEAN

Model-turned-designer Stella Jean is gearing up to launch her men’s line, called Stella Jean Homme, at Pitti Uomo with a runway show at the Dogana on June 20.

Last year, Jean started designing some men’s pieces, which she showed with her women’s fall collection, and which caught the attention of not only buyers but editors as well. While shopping in a store in New York, Italian musician Lorenzo Cherubini, aka Jovanotti, bumped into some of Jean’s colorful pieces and decided to wear a suit and a shirt by the designer in his “Tensione Evolutiva” music video, filmed by Gabriele Muccino in downtown Los Angeles.

With her men’s wear debut collection, Jean, whose mother is Haitian and whose father is a jewelry-maker from Turin, Italy, continues her journey through various cultures and societies to spread the positive message that different traditions can peacefully coexist.

“It’s important to find a balance between different identities, which mustn’t overlap, aiming to support a process of decolonization that will allow formerly oppressed countries to find their own language to communicate with the Western world,” Jean said.

Named “4 Orthodox Dandies,” Stella Jean Homme’s first collection is inspired by four imaginative, elegant men — an Italian, a Burkinabé, a Haitian and a Cuban — lost in the streets of Manhattan in the Sixties and mixes Italian tailoring tradition with African and Caribbean elements.

In line with her signature “Wax & Striped philosophy,” which she developed in her women’s collections combining striped shirt fabrics and wax cloths, Jean designed a lineup with strong and elegant references to the Fifties, shown in the constructed silhouettes, but juiced up by the use of printed fabrics in vivid colors.

For example, Jean used a traditional African fabric, made in Burkina Faso by local factories coordinated by the Ethical Fashion Initiative, a joint agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization, for a classic sartorial double-breasted jacket, which is worn with ankle-length high-waisted pants. For next summer, Jean designed two shirt styles, a classic striped piece and a Latin guayabera shirt.

The collection also included pieces made with Italian cottons, wax fabrics and cloths featuring Caribbean tropical prints. — Alessandra Turra

NEXT: Eidos >>

RELATED STORY: Italian Men’s Brands Tout Their Heritage >>

EIDOS

Isaia is taking the wraps off its new stand-alone brand, Eidos Napoli, at Pitti Uomo.

“The idea behind Eidos is to reinterpret the Neapolitan tradition in a casual way for younger guys,” said Eidos creative director Antonio K. Ciongoli, pointing to the “brother of the Isaia guy” as the target customer.

Taking advantage of young American guys’ renewed interest in tailoring clothing, Eidos offers sophisticated yet comfortable pieces with a “casual elegant” sensibility, explained Ciongoli, who paid homage to Rome with the first collection.

Mixing the memories of his own experience in the Italian city, where the designer attended the St. Stephen’s School, with suggestions from Miroslav Sasek’s illustrated book, “This Is Rome,” and pictures of American photographer William Klein, Ciongoli delivers a lineup strongly influenced by the relaxed Roman lifestyle.

All realized with luxury fabrics, such as blends of cotton and linen and wool with linen or silk, suits worn with pullovers and polo shirts took center stage in the collection, along with raincoats matched with casual pants.

Jackets are priced at about 895 euros, or $1,188 at current exchange, overcoats at 1,295 euros, or $1,719, while shirts and pants retail at about 225 euros, or $299, and 195 euros, or $259, respectively.

Eidos will be distributed to select high-end stores worldwide. — A.T.

NEXT: Saks Fifth Avenue >>

RELATED STORY: Italian Men’s Brands Tout Their Heritage >>

SAKS FIFTH AVENUE

Saks Fifth Avenue is ready to take the plunge.

Four years after it was launched as a private label under the Saks Fifth Avenue Men’s Collection name, the line has grown to become the retailer’s largest-selling men’s wear brand. Now the company is wholesaling the collection for the first time and will spotlight it at the upcoming Pitti Uomo show.

For fall, Saks created three subbrands and devoted shops in key markets to its house brand, offering Black, White and Platinum designations for its stores in the States. It invested in design talent, tapping Kim Herring for the Black and Platinum product and Rhett Bonnett for the younger, more modern White label.

While the offering in the States is more expansive, Richard Cohen, vice president of business development for Saks, said the top-of-the-line Platinum collection is the only one that will be brought to Pitti Uomo.

“We’re dipping our toe in the water,” he said. “We feel Pitti Uomo is the best place to do that, so we’re showcasing it and we’ll see what people think.” Cohen said he believes there are several products that are expected to be the most popular, including the leather bags that have been “created for international travel,” as well as the suits that are crease-proof and can be rolled up in a suitcase and still look fresh upon arrival. Shirts with a similar sensibility are also seen attracting attention.

“We think the collection will connect very well in Asia and South America,” said Cohen, who is also expecting to sign up retailers from Europe as well for the launch wholesale collection. He declined to provide a number on how many stores he would like to open for the first season, saying the intent for this first showing is to gauge interest from international stores.

Ron Frasch, president and chief merchant, has said he views wholesaling the line as “an opportunity. A lot of great specialty stores around the world have inquired about it. But this is a long-term initiative for us, and we want to do it slowly and meticulously. It’s our name and we can’t afford any missteps.”

Cohen agrees, noting that the Saks name “is received well globally,” and the collection is “American design from an iconic American brand.” — J.E.P.

NEXT: Natural Born Elegance >>

RELATED STORY: Italian Men’s Brands Tout Their Heritage >>

NATURAL BORN ELEGANCE

Julian Cerruti proves that elegance and style can be inherited.

Vice president of Lanificio F.lli Cerruti and the son of Nino Cerruti, Julian Cerruti established his own brand, called Natural Born Elegance, in September.

In January, the label, which originally offered only knitted accessories such as bow ties and ties, branched out into unisex jackets and now, six months later, Cerruti is gearing up to launch a luxury outerwear range at Pitti.

“The concept behind this brand is to deliver special and exclusive pieces in luxury fabrics which you can pair with casual items, such as jeans and sneakers,” Cerruti said.

For spring 2014, Cerruti focused on two jacket styles, both available in two versions. One is a versatile blazer with a comfortable fit, which is also sold in a sportier sweater variation. The second is a contemporary, sophisticated blouson, also available with zips and knitted cuffs for a more casual look or with precious details in the “tuxedo” style.

In keeping with Lanificio F.lli Cerruti’s high-end tradition, all the jackets are made from luxurious yet innovative fabrics, including natural fiber blends and cashmeres in a bold, summery color palette. Adding a touch of glamour, Cerruti also included printed materials resembling crocodile and python skins.

“With the spring-summer collection, we enlarged the most affordable part of the collection,” said Cerruti, adding that retail prices range from 450 euros, or $598 at current exchange rates, to 2,000 euros, or $2,656.

As part of a project developed in collaboration with Lanificio F.lli Cerruti, Italdesign Giugiaro and the Woolmark Co., Natural Born Elegance will also unveil at Pitti the Car Jacket by Natural Born Elegance with Lanificio Cerruti.

The jacket, available in two styles, one with knit sleeves, is inspired by the Parcour, the supercar designed by Italdesign Giugiaro which will be showcased at the Sala Ottogonale of Pitti’s fairgrounds Fortezza da Basso and which will feature interiors covered with a precious wool fabric produced by the Lanificio F.lli Cerruti.

The limited-edition jacket, which is sold in only 550 black or white pieces, is available in four different fine wools: Turbo 180,Via Col Vento, Prestige 150 and IParty. A women’s variation of the Car Jacket by Natural Born Elegance with Lanificio Cerruti will also be presented at Pitti, in the shape of a biker jacket made from masculine fabrics. — A.T.

NEXT: Adidas by Tom Dixon >>

RELATED STORY: Italian Men’s Brands Tout Their Heritage >>

ADIDAS BY TOM DIXON

British industrial designer Tom Dixon will present the fashion survival kit he conceived for Adidas at Pitti Uomo.

Called “The Capsule,” the unisex collection includes two different bags, one soft and one hard, both containing clothes for a week away. Folded in each case, there are pants, shirts, jackets and three pairs of shoes — rain boots, city shoes and a beach style.

“When designing a product, I always begin by thinking of myself rather than the customer or the [task]. My main problem is that I would really like to be well organized and prepared, but I’m not,” said Dixon, who once had to sleep on a beach in a Milanese park during design week because he had forgotten to book a hotel room in advance. “The [task] was to design a bag, but I decided that I should also fill this bag with things designed to help the traveler. I decided this collection should tell a story — the story of a week-long trip made up of work and play, of day and night. The clothes fulfill many functions, and can even be worn inside out, so that the traveler doesn’t have to carry too much around, yet always has everything in hand.”

Prices of the ready-to-wear range from 110 euros, or $146 at current exchange rates, for the shorts, to 1,300 euros, or $1,723, for the winter coat, while shoes range from 170 euros, or $225, to 270 euros, or $358. Accessories are priced between 220 and 350 euros, or $292 and $464.

As Dixon highlighted, this collection represents only the first step of his collaboration with Adidas.

“What’s nice about Adidas is that they don’t do a flash-in-the-pan, one-trainer-and-then-it’s-all-over kind of thing,” he said. “We’ve signed up for four collections, so that’s two years.” — A.T.

NEXT: Killer Loop >>

RELATED STORY: Italian Men’s Brands Tout Their Heritage >>

KILLER LOOP

Playlife, controlled by Benetton Group, is set to relaunch its sportswear and activewear label Killer Loop at Pitti Uomo.

For spring 2014, Killer Loop, which has been under the Playlife umbrella since 2010, has focused on the brand’s core values to deliver a collection organized in three ranges targeted to different customers.

The “Extreme” segment, which includes high-tech pieces made from the most advanced waterproof, insulated and breathable materials, is addressed to people working outdoors in extreme weather conditions, including surf photographers, extreme filmmakers and heli-ski pilots.

The “Performance” range consists of outerwear pieces and pants in waterproof and breathable Japanese fabrics, such as the Toray membranes and Toyota-Tsusho’s Gelanots functional cloth, to be worn during intense aerobic activities. The part of the collection called “Functional” includes packable, waterproof pieces and wind stoppers for the everyday life.

According to the company, while the “Extreme” range will be sold in technical outdoor shops and high-end concept stores, the “Performance” and the “Functional” lines will be available at free-ride specialty stores and at Playlife concept stores and selected boutiques, respectively.

Retail prices for the “Extreme” collection will range from 199 euros, or $263 at current exchange rates, to 599 euros, or $790, while the “Performance” range will be sold at between 59 and 229 euros, or $78 and $302. The “Functional” line will retail between 29 and 149 euros, or $38 and $197. — A.T.

NEXT: Orley >>

RELATED STORY: Italian Men’s Brands Tout Their Heritage >>

ORLEY

Having made a colorful splash with their vibrant, sophisticated knitwear designs, the ambitious twentysomething founders of Orley are broadening their vision into woven shirts, pants and outerwear for spring.

Like their sweaters, knit ties and scarves, the new sportswear offerings are fashioned from high-end Italian fabrics in quirky, eye-catching hues with directional details — but with a foundation of classic, wearable silhouettes. There are button-up cotton shirts in mint green or vivid blue, while a seersucker design mixes gingham sleeves with a striped body. Linen-blend pants and shorts are cut with a high-waisted stance and pleats, for an accessibly fashion-forward look.

There is a confidence to the Orley attitude that belies the youth of the New York-based company’s founders. Brothers Matthew Orley, 27, and Alex Orley, 25, both attended New York University, where the former interned at Thom Browne and the latter interned at Rag & Bone, earning a promotion to design assistant. Prior to starting Orley, Alex took a two-year course in technical design at Parsons The New School for Design, finishing early.

A third founder, Samantha Florence, 28, is engaged to Matthew and worked for four years at Helmut Lang in wholesale, rising from a sales assistant position to sales manager. (Cute fact: Samantha and Matthew first met as children at Camp Tamakwa in Ontario, Canada. The Orleys’ middle-aged uncle, who models sweaters on their Web site, met his wife at the same camp.)

Aiming to create knits that were “elegant and irreverent,” the trio launched Orley last year. The line has so far been picked up by eight influential specialty store accounts including Bergdorf Goodman, Carson Street Clothiers, Fivestory, Union in Los Angeles, Mortar in Houston and United Arrows in Tokyo.

Knit sweaters and jackets retail for $425 to $855, woven outerwear for $695 to $995, woven shirts for $255 to $325, knit ties and scarves for $195 to $315, and pants and shorts for $375 to $595.

Ironically, the Orley founders launched the brand with knitwear even though it was the category they had the least expertise in at the time. “We liked knitwear because you get to create an original design with the fabric, not just the silhouette. You get to make an impactful statement with just a few garments,” explained Florence. “Plus, we liked that knits were hard to make. There’s a lot of trial and error.”

RELATED STORY: Italian Men’s Brands Tout Their Heritage >>

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