Pitti Uomo: Ones to Watch

New and notable brands to check out at the Florence trade show include Chevignon, Massif, DKNY and Valentino.

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Men'sWeek issue 01/05/2012

Here are six new and notable brands to check out at the Florence trade show.

This story first appeared in the January 5, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

RELATED STORY: European Brands Upbeat on Future Men’s Business >>


In January 1994, Donna Karan made her European debut with the Donna Karan New York Menswear and DKNY Men’s lines at Pitti Uomo.

After a seven-season hiatus, she will return to bring a taste of her personal interpretation of the American urban and cool mood to Florence, showcasing the new DKNY Men’s collection, which was launched in 1993.

In line with the spring outfits, which Karan presented at New York’s Nasdaq MarketSite in September, the fall lineup, dominated by contemporary, edgy silhouettes, celebrates New York City style.

Designed for “a masculine, modern man and his hectic lifestyle,” as Karan said, tailored pieces in classic country fabrics are revisited with a modern twist and are mixed with more casual styles for a relaxed look inspired by outdoor life.

Centered around outerwear, the collection includes a range of options, from wool slim coats and double-breasted peacoats to flannel hooded jackets and wool and cashmere styles. There is also a big focus on leather, as shown on soft, washed lamb leather motorcycle jackets, shearling double-breasted coats and washed suede, zipped pieces featuring shearling collars.

The slim pants include more classic flat-front wool trousers and casual cargos with turned-up cuffs, paired with wool and angora sweaters, wool and alpaca cardigans or cotton shirts.

The color palette is dominated by dark, sober tones, such as black, dark navy, dark slate, graphite, cement, washed fossil and dark purple.



NEXT: Chevignon >>


In a nostalgic mood, Chevignon at Pitti Uomo in Florence next week will launch its Chevignon Heritage by Milan Vukmirovic capsule line, based on twists on the brand’s iconic Americana sportswear designs from the Eighties and Nineties. Vukmirovic was consulting artistic director on the line, with Chevignon likely to invite other guest artistic directors for future collections.

The collection comprises four men’s and four women’s looks, including unisex accessories such as hats and scarves. Key items include a cashmere peacoat, an aviator jacket in camouflage print shearling and a gray cashmere turtleneck.

Vukmirovic, who left his post as creative director of Trussardi in March, will also oversee the collection’s image, including the lensing of the advertising campaign. An experienced retailer — he was art director and buyer at Colette in Paris, before co-founding The Webster boutique in Miami Beach — the designer will develop dedicated showcases and corners for the collection, which will be distributed in select department stores and concept stores internationally.

Retail prices range from 200 euros, or about $260 at current exchange, for pants, to around 1,000 euros, or $1,300, for a leather jacket.

Owned by Le Groupe Vivarte, Chevignon, which was founded in 1979, owns 146 stand-alone stores internationally and is distributed in 25 countries. 


NEXT: Nigel Cabourn for Eddie Bauer >>



British designer Nigel Cabourn has assembled his own personal collection of Eddie Bauer vintage pieces, so it’s no surprise that when the company approached him about a collaboration in 2010, it didn’t take much convincing. “As a team, we’ve always admired Nigel’s work,” said Alan Kirk, senior vice president of global operations for the Seattle-based Bauer. While Kirk was visiting Scotland, he contacted Cabourn about a partnership, inviting him to the brand’s Pacific Northwest headquarters and a visit to the archives.

“We have all these original pieces from the Thirties to the Nineties, and Nigel spent a week with us going through it all,” Kirk said.

The result was a collection that included a contemporary reworking of the 1936 Skyliner down jacket as well as vests with Harris tweed inserts and coyote fur-lined hoods, as well as down jackets in washed leather with Woolrich fabric panels. Everything is manufactured in either the U.S. or Canada from U.K. or U.S. fabrics.

Kirk said the initial capsule collection, which retails at significantly higher prices than the core Eddie Bauer line, was not sold in the Bauer stores, but at retailers such as Barneys New York in the U.S. as well as at luxury stores in Europe and Japan. Kirk said sales of the line were strong around the world and especially appealed to men who are drawn to vintage product — and have some disposable income. The coyote-lined vest retailed for $1,000 while Cabourn’s interpretation of the Skyliner jacket was $1,400.

The success of the original collaboration prompted a significant expansion of the collection for this fall. “We’re going full out,” Kirk said. There will be around 20 styles offered, focusing mainly on outerwear “with Nigel’s twist,” he said. They will include blazers, hunting jackets, vests and pants, as well as accessories including gloves, hats and rucksacks.

The goal, Kirk said, is to expand U.S. distribution for the second collection with hopes of adding around 50 specialty retailers.

He said while the initial contract with Cabourn was for three years, Bauer is in discussions to extend the association another five years. “Nigel is very passionate about the product,” he said.


NEXT: Massif >> 



Massif is finally ready for its debut.

After more than a year in development, the brand will have its unveiling at Pitti Uomo. The high-tech fashion collection uses the same advanced proprietary technology that the company utilizes for the tactical and rescue gear it provides to elite U.S. combat units, including the CIA, SWAT teams and back-country firefighters. All garments have moisture management and antimicrobial properties as well as stretch and 3-D ergonomic shaping. Seams are naturally shaped to legs, underarms are fully gusseted to provide for range of motion, and there are secure interior and exterior pockets and stealth sleeve pockets. But while the fabrics and details may be technical, the styling is contemporary.

Scott Branscum, president, whose background includes Eddie Bauer, Perry Ellis and Cutter & Buck, has been immersed in creating the brand since its inception in November 2010. And although the first collection won’t hit stores until this fall, retailers have already expressed interest in the label.

“They’re completely intoxicated by the story of the brand,” Branscum said. “They know there’s something interesting here and that helps us pass through the brand gauntlet.”

Massif was founded in 1999 by two entrepreneurs whose adventures included rock climbing and rescue missions. The company was acquired by Tactical Holdings and its private equity partner, Golden Gate Capital, in 2009.

The apparel collection will feature 34 styles, each in four to five fabrics. Categories include everything from outerwear, a hallmark of the line, to sweaters, knit and woven shirts and pants. Outerwear will retail from $650 to $950; pants for $200 to $450; woven shirts for $200 to $300, and knit shirts from $150 to $250. Hangtags will tell the line’s unique story and retail design veteran Kenneth Walker is creating a shop concept for the brand.

Branscum said industry people and target consumers have been field-testing every piece to ensure that they fit well, are comfortable and perform up to the company’s standards.

Massif is targeting high-end department and specialty stores to carry the collection. “The mother brand is global and the caliber of retailer who understands this proposition is also global,” he said.

In addition to Pitti, Massif will show its line during New York Market Week as well as at the Project show in Las Vegas in February. 

— J.E.P.

NEXT: Mayfair Richard James >> 



A Union Jack will be waving in the Florence sky during Pitti Uomo.

While London-based tailoring company Hardy Amies will present its fall collection during a special event, followed by a gala dinner, another Savile Row tailor will make his debut at the fair — Richard James.

Beloved by celebrities from the Gallagher brothers and Pete Doherty to Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro, the designer, who founded his namesake company with business partner Sean Dixon in 1992 and who was a nominee for Bespoke Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Council Awards in 2008, will showcase his Mayfair Richard James collection.

Launched in 2010, the more contemporary, less expensive brand, which is sold at John Lewis and Barneys New York, reflects James’ recognized ability to respect the established British tailoring tradition while infusing it with a modern, edgy vibe.

Aiming to dress “men with a certain attitude: a certain self confidence and sense of individuality and adventure,” as the company stated, the fall lineup takes inspiration from London’s posh Mayfair neighborhood. The collection is dominated by slim suits in pinstripes or Prince of Wales patterns featuring jackets lined with natural fibers for a more structured look or with fabrics in bold colors. They are paired with flat-front trousers and worn over slim, clean shirts in exclusive Richard James cottons, which show stitches in the label’s signature colors, including pink, green, blue and yellow, on the bottom of the side seam. 

— A.T.


NEXT: Valentino >>



Even though Florence is an easy hour-and-a-half train ride from Rome, the trip will probably be particularly intense for Valentino creative directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, who, as guests of honor at Pitti Uomo, are gearing up to hold their first men’s runway show on Jan. 11.

To re-create the more intimate atmosphere of couture presentations, the catwalk will stretch through the 16th-century Palazzo Corsini’s Baroque rooms, where 600 guests will be able to have a close look at the clothes.

With a number of uberchic movie stars in mind, from Marcello Mastroianni and Alain Delon to Jude Law and Louis Garrel, the duo worked hard to offer a new interpretation of classic men’s wear staples, infusing the lineup with a fresh, contemporary attitude, which Chiuri defined as a “sportswear edge.”

A “subversive elegance” is the leitmotif of the collection, according to the designers, who balanced the dominant slim fit with more voluminous shapes, such as a fitted, wool drill tuxedo with cropped pants, paired with an oversize wool trench with thermo welded stitches.

The collection also includes coats, parkas and peacoats available in a color palette ranging from black and various blues, to shades of green, azure and red.

Stressing the slightly extravagant vein that trickles through the otherwise sober, reserved mood, the accessories, such as lace-up shoes, travel bags and iPad clutches, are embellished with Chiuri and Piccioli’s signature studs.

A backbone of Valentino since 1999, when founder Valentino Garavani tapped the duo to create a luxury accessories line, the designers, who were named creative directors of the Rome-based fashion house in 2008, have managed to inject a new, up-to-date twist to the men’s division, whose sales represent about 6 percent of the company’s total revenues.

— A.T.

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