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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Men'sWeek issue 01/03/2013

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

This story first appeared in the January 3, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.


Allegri is gearing up for a relaunch and will celebrate its return during Pitti Uomo.

The Italian outerwear company, which was acquired last year by Polaris, a Milan-based company controlled by Korean LG Fashion Corp., has mapped out a new course strongly focused on the brand’s heritage.

The new owners moved the production back to Italy; reorganized the company’s structure, hiring Matteo Zara as brand manager; closed Allegri’s three lines, opting for a single label, and instituted a new retail strategy, which includes the opening of several stores across China, Korea and Italy. Allegri will also unveil two doors in luxury fashion locations in Paris and Serravalle, Italy.

Paying homage to “Vitruvian Man” by Leonardo da Vinci, the Italian brand’s new collections feature the square and round geometric figures as iconic elements. They appear on the apparel in a series of details, with the lapel and buttons, zipper pulls and lining showing a checkered pattern.  

As part of Zara’s fall collection, the retailer will offer a reinterpretation of the brand’s iconic raincoat that will be revisited in a contemporary way, using a stretch scuba fabric. The foldable monobreast zipped piece, which comes in a Plexiglas box, will be sold in select stores around the world. 

Allegri’s archive includes about 11,000 pieces designed over the years by names such as Giorgio Armani, Viktor & Rolf, Romeo Gigli, Marithé + François Girbaud and Martin Margiela, and the new collection includes seven heritage outerwear styles. Case in point: a wool raincoat reproducing the first piece designed by Armani for Allegri in 1984.

In addition, a range of hybrid designs, such as a coat showing the traditional details of a classic trench, along with field jackets, padded jackets and blazers complete the offerings. The color palette is focused on black and blue, with hints of camel and military green.

Wholesale prices are about 350 euros, or $464 at current exchange.

In keeping with the brand’s core business, the new Allegri collection will be shown at Pitti’s Fortezza da Basso in a stand celebrating the rain. A preview of a short movie by Vittorio Bongiorno in the rain in Vinci will also be unveiled at the fair.


NEXT: Gabriele Pasini >>


Italian high-end men’s wear company Lardini has teamed up with fashion designer Gabriele Pasini to launch a new brand at Pitti Uomo.

Bearing the name of its creative director, the Gabriele Pasini line will be produced and distributed by Lardini and will include a men’s total look focused on classic Neapolitan sartorial tradition revisited with a more contemporary touch. 

“In such a difficult time, it’s very important for fashion companies to diversify their offerings. Instead of launching a second line, we have decided to invest in a new brand featuring a different style from our Lardini collection,” said Gruppo Lardini president Andrea Lardini. “In September, I met Gabriele on Facebook through common friends, I fell in love at first sight with his particular style and I immediately thought he would be perfect for us.”

A fashion industry veteran, Pasini has 25 years of experience and designs a namesake line that is sold in his own store in Modena, Italy, and in 10 multibrand stores across Japan.

“Men should return to dressing themselves properly, so I have a created a complete men’s wardrobe for every occasion,” said Pasini, referring to the fall range to be presented at Pitti. “The collection is organized in four sections: formal, day, work and classic sportswear.”

Pasini put a strong focus on classic tailored three-piece suits, realized with sophisticated fabrics inspired by vintage drapery from the Seventies, and on outerwear, in the shape of fitted coats. “The silhouettes are very close to the body not to follow a certain trend, but because I tried to reproduce the same perfect fit of bespoke pieces,” Pasini said. Pants are pleated, cropped and quite slim. The lineup, which also includes tuxedoes for evening and accessories such as shoes, hats and bags, is designed in a sober color palette of blue, burgundy, brown and dark green with a few highlights of orange and light blue.

Prices range from 700 euros, or $930 at current exchange, for jackets, to more than 1,000 euros, or $1,329, for suits.

“Our goal is to position the brand on the high-end segment of the market, and we aim to have natural, not exponential or forced, growth,” said Lardini, pointing to Japan, Germany and Italy as the most appealing countries for the Gabriele Pasini label.

— A.T.

NEXT: Erïk Bjerkesjö >>


Swedish designer Erïk Bjerkesjö, the winner of the 2012 Who Is on Next? men’s fashion talent contest, is unveiling his first solo apparel line at Florence’s neoclassical Villa Favard on Jan. 9.

Born in Stockholm in 1982, the designer, who has a master’s degree in footwear and accessories design from the Florence Polimoda fashion school, branched out with his namesake handmade shoe brand in 2010.  

A year later, he started designing his first ready-to-wear pieces. “I decided to launch slowly, focusing on craftsmanship and not on seasonal deliveries,” said Bjerkesjö, explaining that his collections consist of “tailored garments and shoes conceived from a postmodern point of view and realized using artisanal yet contemporary techniques.”

Inspired by Gotland, the Swedish island where he was raised, Bjerkesjö designed a “tailored and warm” fall collection revolving around a minimalistic look.

Thick wool is at the heart of the lineup for the cropped coats, sartorial blazers, slim pants and knitted accessories. To complete the offerings, there are Italian cotton shirts and clean black leather jackets. As the cherry on the cake, Bjerkesjö designed calf-leather shoes with ice-skate blades.

— A.T.

NEXT: Billy Reid >>


The Alabama-based designer will bring his Southern sensibility to Pitti Uomo for the first time this season.
“It’s something we’ve always had in our plans as we begin to take our business more seriously and expand globally,” Reid said.

He generally shows at the New York market, but decided it was time to take the plunge with overseas buyers. “This is a chance for us to get to know people and for them to get to know us, and hopefully the right relationships will begin to happen,” he added.

His goal is to find retailers to carry the line in Europe and the Middle East, and expand its reach in Asia, where the label already has a solid business in Japan. “We’re taking a slow and steady approach,” he said.

At the show, Reid will exhibit his higher-end Heirloom collection, which ranges from hand-tailored suits to jeans and T-shirts. “We want to put our best foot forward.”

Although comprehensive, the Council of Fashion Designers of America Award-winning designer said Heirloom is also “well-edited” with a “dark and rich color palette that feels right for fall” and a “big emphasis on outerwear and tailored clothing.”

He continued: “We’re most excited about topcoats,” pointing to bonded cashmere fabrics, “touches of fur” and leather within the offering. “There’s a big emphasis on that,” he said. “There are a lot of luxe elements, which have been doing really well for us at retail.” He also expects to do well with resin-coated wools and cottons that have a “broken-in look that fit well with the luxury posture.”

He said Heirloom “lends itself to being more dressy, and that’s working very well for us right now. It seems to be the right message for us to send.”


NEXT: Norwegian Rain >>


The utterly optimistic duo of Alexander Helle and T. Michael have been handed the meteorological equivalent of life’s lemons, and they’ve wasted no time making their own brand of lemonade.

Helle and Michael hail from Bergen, Norway’s second largest city where it rains two out of three days a year. “And when it rains, it rains sideways,” said Michael, a bespoke tailor and designer. Helle added: “Most people in Bergen are in denial about the rain. We wanted to embrace it.”

That’s one reason why the business partners created Norwegian Rain, a collection of waterproof coats for men and women that are engineered to defy the most persistent of downpours.

The label, which launched in 2009 with a pop-up shop in Bergen, features high-performance coats made with Japanese membrane textiles, seamlike “tunnels” down the front to prevent water from entering the garment, detachable storm flaps around the collar, and cleverly placed buttons and belts.

“We knew we wanted to create a coat for wet days, but one that would also look good on dry days as well,” said Michael, who designs the garments, during a walk-through of the collection in a London showroom. (Helle is the brand’s creative director and manager.)

The single- and double-breasted coats are made from eco-friendly, recycled polyesters and organic cotton, and feature horn buttons, cashmere-lined collars and tailoring details such as constructed, defined shoulders.

Strategically placed belts and buttons mean that the coats can be sculpted and shaped to suit male and female figures so the overall silhouette isn’t bulky.

“You really have to put your head into the design because not every seam can be tailored like a wool coat. And the fabrics don’t drape, so the design is all about precision,” said Michael.

The women’s coats have magnetic fastenings and adjustable and detachable hoods, drawstring waists and A-line shapes.

Prices range from 540 euros, or $713 at current exchange, for a unisex style to 1,050 euros, or $1,386, for an organic cotton double-breasted one.

Norwegian Rain sells at 50 shops in 15 countries, including Italy, Norway and Japan, which is the brand’s largest market.

The brand, which has won a host of awards in Norway and whose double-breasted coat is in that country’s National Museum of Arts, is not sold yet in the U.S. or the U.K.


NEXT: J.A. Apparel >>


Bernardo Rojo calls Pitti Uomo a “true men’s wear show,” and the creative director of J.A. Apparel is ready to bring his line to the forefront by exhibiting there for the first time.

The brand, which produces apparel under the Joseph Abboud label, held a presentation in London last season but will bring its complete collection to Pitti this time in a move to gain more “exposure in Europe,” he said.

“This underscores our commitment to international expansion,” said Kenton Selvey, president. “We’re currently in 50 countries, but this is our opportunity to really hit a global audience.” The Abboud label is offered in several Asian countries and Latin American territories, he said, but the goal here is to “pick up the Middle East, Russia and Europe.”

Rojo said the line that will be showcased at Pitti will be a “full lifestyle collection,” offering everything from tailored looks to shoes, bags and accessories. “This collection has evolved, but now we’re taking it to the next level,” he said. “It’s far more simple and the fit is really important in Europe.” 

In terms of the look, Rojo described it as a combination of “European flair and American personality. ”Among the key pieces are a parka in a blouson style with technical fabrics and a lot of details that are “sporty in an active way.” Suits are “linear,” with a Sixties sensibility and are offered in double-breasted, six-button styles with a soft shoulder.

Selvey said the collection shown at Pitti is “the next evolution” of the collection Rojo has shown on the runway in New York City the past two seasons. The collection will be priced about 50 percent higher than that sold in the States with retail prices on suits averaging about $1,200 as compared with $695 for those sold in the U.S.

— J.E.P.

NEXT: White Mountaineering >>


White Mountaineering is making its European debut at Pitti Uomo with a runway show at Florence’s Stazione Leopolda on Jan. 10 at 7 p.m.

Launched in 2006 by Yosuke Aizawa, a graduate of product and textile design from Japanese Tama Art University, the brand has attracted a following in the span of a few seasons with collections focused on fashionable yet functional and high-tech pieces for the outdoors.

“After working at Comme des Garçons, I distanced myself from the clothing industry,” said Aizawa. “I started a job without any relations with design, but inside myself the desire to start a men’s wear brand got stronger and stronger and I finally launched White Mountaineering.”

The company counts two flagships in Japan, where the brand’s collections, featuring prices ranging from 3,000 yen, or $36 at current exchange rates, for smaller accessories, to 150,000 yen, or $1,785, for high-end outerwear pieces, are also available in 53 multibrand stores. 

White Mountaineering is also carried in 36 boutiques across Asia, the U.S. and Europe, but the brand aims to formally enter the European market starting with Pitti Uomo.

“Of course, the reaction of the West has always intrigued me. Presenting the collection in such a way at Pitti, we hope to get a more global exposure,” Aizawa said. “It has been seven years since we established the brand, and we see in Pitti an extension of what we have been doing in Japan.”

White Mountaneering collections will be distributed all over the world, except for Japan, by London-based Tomorrow, which features branch companies in Milan and Paris.

— A.T.

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