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Men'sWeek issue 01/02/2014

An octet of new or revived labels to bookmark at Pitti Uomo.

This story first appeared in the January 2, 2014 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.


Italian high-end knitwear specialist Malo is gearing up to present its fall 2014 collection at Pitti.

Although Malo has continued to produce and sell its collections since 2010, when Tuscany-based luxury retail group Evanthe took control of the struggling label, which had been under government-backed protection, it stopped communication on its designs. This edition of Pitti may mark the official relaunch of the brand, which is presenting its looks through installations inspired by the work of Canadian abstract painter Jack Bush.

“We want to offer Made in Italy products with an extremely high quality and a contemporary, trendy style,” said Malo chief executive officer Giuseppe Polvani. “We focused on very comfortable, second skin-like pieces, which can be worn on different occasions.”

The fall collection is centered on luxury knitted pieces in classic yarns, such as cashmere, and in new blends of cashmere, silk and a small percentage of cotton. Sweaters feature two fits, slim or more comfortable. Standouts include a thick cashmere cardigan, which can be worn as a jacket, printed sweaters with micro geometric patterns and intarsia styles.

“Our goal is to reinforce our presence on the market with the knitwear, which represents our company’s core business, but, at the same time, to create strong total look collections reflecting Malo’s DNA in the luxury segment,” said Polvani. He noted the strategy is showing its first fruits. “In our store, we are registering a strong evolution of our customers’ buying habits,” he said. “They are buying outfits, not only sweaters and scarves.”

Malo’s offering includes coats, jackets, such as a cashmere deconstructed blazer, and classic pants in cashmere and corduroy with a contemporary twist. Shoes and small leather goods complete the collection. Knit pieces retail from 450 euros, or $614, to 1,300 euros, or $1,775. Pants and overcoats are sold for 400 euros, or $546, and 800 euros, or $1,092, respectively.

Malo produces its collections in two factories in the Emilia-Romagna region and close to Florence, and operates 30 stores worldwide that account for 50 percent of the company’s total sales. The collections are also distributed through a network of about 250 multibrand boutiques.


NEXT: An Italian Theory >>


RELATED STORY: La Dolce Vita at Pitti Uomo >>


After writing a book and launching a line of accessories in collaboration with Italian designer Azzurra Gronchi, Alessandro Enriquez is gearing up to introduce his first knitwear collection at Pitti Uomo.

Born in Sicily from an Italian mother and a Franco-Tunisian father with Spanish roots, Enriquez, who worked for six years as men’s wear designer at Costume National, celebrated his love for Italian lifestyle and taste with a book called “An Italian Theory,” which hit bookstores in 2012.

In April, he decided, along with Gronchi, to translate the illustrations of the book into prints decorating a capsule collection of women’s accessories, which immediately caught the attention of important Italian retailers, including 10 Corso Como in Milan, Luisa Via Roma in Florence and L’Inde Le Palais in Bologna. Then, invited by Pitti’s organizing body, Enriquez and Gronchi showcased their first range of men’s accessories at the June edition of the trade show.

In January, along with presenting another collection of accessories, which includes several pieces made from galvanized pieces of old shutters, Enriquez will showcase a line of knitted pieces, produced by Apulian company MIR Manifatture, under the An Italian Theory brand.

“I’ve always been scared to do something on my own, but the success of the book, which allowed me to express myself and my world, gave me the courage to take my own way,” said Enriquez, who designed about 25 pieces, most of them unisex, except for some dresses and skirts. “I’m happy because I’m succeeding in telling something, firstly with the book and now with fashion.”

Key pieces include a jersey bomber, available both in bicolor and tricolor versions, with padding on the shoulders and elbows to resemble a biker jacket; a pair of pants that are black on the front, gray on the bottom and blue at the waist, and a reversible mohair sweater — one face features a good-luck graphic with two hands holding a horseshoe, while the other is striped. Other styles include an oversize cardigan and a comfortable round-collar sweater embellished with an intarsia patchwork of seven different stitches from the Italian knitwear tradition. Retail prices span from 230 euros, or $315, for a jacquard sweater, to 500 euros, or $685, for the bomber jacket.


NEXT: Casamadre >>


A couple at work and in life, Alessia Crea and David Parisi founded footwear label Casamadre in 2011.

Defining themselves as “shoes maniacs,” the duo launched their own label of what Parisi described as “conceptual and contemporary shoes” after several experiences in the fashion industry.

After earning a degree in fashion design from Milan’s Istituto Europeo di Design, Crea worked as an assistant at Antonio Marras’ Circolo Marras, prior to joining the accessories division of Costume National’s design studio in 2009 and then women’s ready-to-wear label Moi Multiple. At the same time, Parisi — who has a degree in industrial design — decided to go back to school, taking a master’s degree in fashion product communication at Milan’s Istituto Europeo di Design. Then he cut his teeth as visual merchandiser at Milanese concept store TAD and, after a stint in fashion communication at the Karla Otto fashion p.r. firm in Milan, designed for Italia Independent for three years.

Inspired by a clownlike chunky pair of shoes the couple found in a store in Japan, Casamadre’s collections are focused on “sizable and versatile shoes, neither formal nor sporty, which can be worn both at work and in one’s spare time,” Parisi said. The options, which offer a new take on classic men’s shapes, are mostly unisex and include lace-up styles, Oxford shoes and Beatle boots, among others.

For fall 2014, Casamadre teamed up with Vibram to create blue lightweight rubber soles, appearing on shoes and boots in brushed calf and napa leather. The color palette is centered on different shades of black, except for a few off-white styles. Retail prices range from 220 euros, or $301, to 380 euros, or $520.

The brand will showcase the new collection with a special event on Tuesday afternoon at Florence’s Limonaia del Giardino di Villa Vittoria. “We will recreate a circus atmosphere,” Crea said. “We won’t literally reproduce a circus, but we will try to evoke it.”


NEXT: Spiewak >>


It was 1904 when Isaac Spiewak opened a store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, selling handmade sheepskin vests for dockworkers on the Brooklyn waterfront. In the 110 years since, the company has continued to outfit police, firefighters and first responders with utilitarian outerwear pieces.

At Pitti Uomo, Spiewak is jumping into the high-end fashion business with a capsule collection of pieces under the name Golden Fleece by Spiewak. The nine styles mine the company’s history and will include items from Spiewak’s archives, reinterpreted for today’s customer.

“Golden Fleece truly represents the heritage,” said Maurizio Donadi, creative director. It’s “outerwear-driven, made in North America and [much is] from dead stock fabrics.”

Spiewak Golden Fleece will range from $450 for an MA-1 flight jacket in 40-year-old surplus material to $850 for Canadian-made N3B snorkel parkas with coyote fur trim in the same surplus material outerwear. Bombers will retail for $450, and wool and waxed cotton peacoats will sell for $550 to $650.

“It’s not a fashion brand, it’s a utilitarian brand,” he said. “It’s practical and designed with a purpose.”

Donadi said since this is “a very premium product, distribution will be quite limited,” and the line will be targeted to “the best sportswear and outerwear stores around the world,” he said.

The plan is to continue to expand the collection in future seasons, he said.

In addition to Golden Fleece, there’s a second prong to Spiewak’s reinvention campaign. The company will introduce a second collection under the Spiewak name at Bread & Butter in Berlin in mid-January. This will offer women’s as well as men’s, and will consist of outerwear pieces including transitional lightweight modular jackets for $200, to down-filled N3B parkas with detachable coyote fur trim for $600. Constructed field jackets and bombers are $275 to $400.

The collections are designed in New York by Kunimasa Odagi (men’s) and Lisa Yu (women’s). Donadi said that because Golden Fleece is based on archival pieces, the design team merely tweaked the collection to ensure that it meets the demands of today’s shoppers.

“We don’t have to invent anything; the history is there,” Donadi said. “The pressure is to make it relevant for 2014, ’15 and ’16.”


NEXT: Atelier Scotch >>


Amsterdam-based Scotch & Soda will introduce a premium tailored clothing collection under the new Atelier Scotch label at Pitti Uomo.

“Expect unusual mixtures of shapes, linings and rich materials with a refined love for details,” said Rob van Bilsen, brand manager of Atelier Scotch. “It is a focused collection, created by a dedicated and specialized team.”

The debut lineup encompasses about 100 styles, in addition to corresponding accessories. Key categories include suits, blazers, coats, shirts and knitwear, all fashioned under the theme of “eclectic tailoring,” according to van Bilsen.

“This collection stands out because of the artisanal way of designing and the love for detail,” he explained. “Fabrics and prints were created in-house. Micro and oversized checks, wool structures with a tumbled finish, uniquely developed jacquards, cashmere and mohair blends — all in a very chic color palette.”

The design team has focused on creating a unique shoulder and lapel “language,” as well as bold shirt-collar “statements.” Fits tend toward the body-conscious.

For at least the first season, Atelier Scotch will only be distributed in Europe and not available to U.S. retailers. “Therefore, we have not defined a U.S. price positioning yet,” said van Bilsen, who added the business would expand to North America “in the near future.”

In Europe, the company is targeting a mix of high-end, multibrand specialty retailers, department stores and its own branded boutiques, with product first hitting stores in July. A new, separate store concept dedicated to Atelier Scotch is under development as well.

Overall, Atelier Scotch is priced at the top end of the Scotch & Soda portfolio, which includes the core men’s Scotch & Soda label, the women’s Maison Scotch label, the denim-focused Amsterdams Blauw label and the boys’ Scotch Shrunk and girls’ Scotch R’Belle labels. The company is owned by Boca Raton, Fla.-based Sun Capital Partners.

“Atelier Scotch is designed for an end use we have not catered to so far, and at the same time allows Scotch & Soda to enter into a different, higher-priced market segment,” said van Bilsen.


NEXT: Police >>


Italian eyewear brand Police, owned by De Rigo Group, is launching its first ready-to-wear line at Pitti Uomo.

Produced under license by Italian manufacturing company Moda Fashion, which also handles its distribution, Police will include collections of total looks for both men and women. The latter, accounting for 65 percent of the brand’s total business, is designed by a team guided by Marino Orbolato.

“Surely, De Rigo decided to develop this brand extension in order to reinforce the Police label,” said Moda Fashion sales and marketing director Carlo Perini. “We conceived a product which is new, innovative and different because we are conscious that in such a difficult moment for the domestic market we have to find the way to be competitive on the international scene.”

Reflecting the spirit of Police eyewear collections, the men’s line revisits iconic pieces of motorcycle apparel and workwear in a trendy, urban way. The collection was “inspired by an imaginative contemporary man who travels the world visiting the most exciting metropolises,” said Perini. The fall 2014 range features wearable pieces in classic, high-end fabrics, including wool, flannel, jersey and leather, all treated with special techniques for a used, heritage look. Key pieces include a three-quarter-length wool parka with distressed leather inserts, an oversize thick wool zippered sweater with contrasting patches and slim pants in a treated stretch jersey.

Like the eyewear collection, the rtw line is positioned in the medium-high segment of the market. Pants and knit pieces range from 120 euros, or $164, to 160 euros, or $219, while overcoats retail at between 300 euros, or $410, and 400 euros, or $547.

“The ready-to-wear distribution will be similar to the eyewear,” Perini said. “We are starting with about 150 stores in Italy, and at the same time we are developing the French, British and Russian markets.”

According to Perini, the company plans to open a Police flagship in Milan in 2014.


NEXT: No. 21 >>

No. 21

Alessandro Dell’Acqua is to make a return at Pitti Uomo.

The Italian designer, who launched his first men’s collection under his namesake label at the Florence-based trade show in 1998, is gearing up to introduce the No. 21 men’s line at Pitti.

“To design this collection, I thought of an ideal men’s wardrobe and I tried to imagine what a contemporary man needs to be well dressed in his everyday life,” said Dell’Acqua, who launched No. 21 in 2010 and was also appointed creative director of French label Rochas in September. “I don’t believe men want clothes that are too quirky and fashionable, so I focused on contemporary silhouettes and details.”

His first men’s collection under the No. 21 moniker, which is produced by Italian high-end clothing manufacturer Gilmar, consists of 21 men’s daywear staples, including a classic overcoat, an oversize parka with loden green wool inserts, a bonded leather jacket lined with fur, chinos and denim pants, all realized in high-end fabrics and embellished with sophisticated details. There is also a selection of cotton and flannel shirts, including styles with tartan inserts and one decorated with an allover print of micro-stars.

In keeping with the brand’s women’s collection, Dell’Acqua also delivered a range of cotton sweatshirts. These include one showing the print of a horse, while another brings a touch of irony, showing the word “Fire” written with matches. There are also more classic variations, featuring a 3-D “No. 21” logo.

“There are also a lot of knit pieces,” added Dell’Acqua, noting that knitwear is the best performing category in the men’s wear business. For next fall, he designed, for example, a tartan mohair cardigan, along with a ribbed sweater decorated with dark green and black embroideries, which pays homage to the first knit piece created by the designer for his first namesake men’s collection. Dell’Acqua lost rights to design under his name in 2009.

Pants, including a style featuring wool covered with lace, along with an option in silk duchesse, feature slim fits and are cut at the ankle to show thick wool socks with crystal embroideries in the shape of scorpions and spiders.

To complete the offer, Dell’Acqua also designed a small collection of shoes, including sneakers and clippers.

Retail prices range from 160 euros, or $218 at current exchange, for cotton sweaters, to 380 euros, or $519, for the knitwear. Pants come between 250 euros, or $341, and 300 euros, or $410. Overcoat prices span from 650 euros, or $888, to 900 euros, or $1,229.

“The goal is to sell the collection to the best 150 stores in the world,” said Gilmar Group chief executive officer Paolo Gerani, who also affirmed that the launch of the men’s collection “will complete the offering of the brand for the flagship stores, which will open soon.”

The collection will be showcased with a presentation on Jan. 9, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., at Florence’s Biblioteca Comunale.


NEXT: Panizza >>


Italian felt hat specialist Panizza will relaunch at Pitti.

Founded in 1879 by Giovanni Panizza and then passed on to the control of the Gamba family, the company is currently controlled by a member of the family’s fifth generation, Laura Gamba.

Panizza collections are produced in a factory in Tuscany, where the company moved its operations from Lake Maggiore in the Seventies.

“The goal of this relaunch is trifold,” Gamba said. “First of all, I didn’t want to cease my great-great-grandfather’s activity; the second thing I want is to keep supporting Tuscan hat artisans, and third, I want to preserve our production process, which is so beautiful and exclusive.”

Panizza, which manufactures about 18,000 hats a year, currently sells three different collections. The first includes traditional felt hats, while the second revisits classic styles. In addition, Gamba introduced the P Line, a more fashionable range showing iconic models “which are deconstructed and then reconstructed in a new way,” Gamba said.

The P Line, which includes 20 felt hats, will be showcased at Pitti in a Sixties-inspired booth, which pays homage to Milanese architect Gio Ponti. The hats, which are named after both some Olympic Winter Games locations and a number of poets and their muses, are designed to be unisex. “Then customers can decide to decorate them with specific ribbons, making them masculine or feminine,” Gamba said. All of the pieces feature the blue Panizza logo, showing Leon, a fox terrier dog, impressed on the lining.

Among the styles to be showcased at Pitti are the Turin, a hairy felt hat with a voluminous crown and a wide brim; Garmisch, which features a circular crown and a soft brim, and the Alfieri, which is decorated with stitches to offer a new take on the classic fedora. The color palette is centered on Seventies-inspired tones, including powder pink, acid green, fuchsia, dark green, yellow and ultramarine blue. Wholesale prices range from around 30 euros, or $41, to 70 euros, or $96, for the more structured styles.


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