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HUMOR JUST THE TIP OF NEW ICEBERG LINE

Byline: Eric Wilson

NEW YORK — It might be hard to picture Iceberg as a serious-minded label, but its creative director, Paolo Gerani, hasn’t been looking for inspiration in the funny papers.
Iceberg’s image has been dominated in the American market by the roomy knits emblazoned with cartoon characters from its Iceberg History collection, repopularized recently by its acceptance by rappers and hip-hop stars. Now Iceberg, owned by Milan-based Gilmar, wants to bring its main line collection to the same level of recognition in the U.S.
“I’m working in a direction that will make people understand better what Iceberg is,” said Gerani, whose family owns Gilmar.
He is the son of firm founders Silvano Gerani and Giuliana Marchini, after whom the company was named, and took over as creative director of Iceberg from his mother with its fall collection, after directing design and communications for its men’s wear for several years. It’s at least the third time Gilmar has tried to revitalize the collection, following consulting gigs from Inacio Ribeiro in the late Nineties and Victor Alfaro more recently.
“We have a sexy, happy and joyful collection, all of which is translated into sportswear,” Gerani said. “We’re trying to let people know exactly what Iceberg means. I’m not concerned with the product as much that I’m concerned people will have the right perception of the brand.”
While Gerani was in New York to promote the Iceberg History collection with a Vibe magazine concert featuring rapper Ludacris, he wanted to guarantee equal time to the evolution of the company’s 30-year-old main line. Gerani disciplined himself with his take on the heritage of the knitwear line with a collection that was limited to four colors — brown, china blue, fuchsia and black — inspired, he said, by women walking around in a metropolitan city. Knit dresses that referenced archive looks from Iceberg, as well as combinations of masculine tweeds or heavy furs with light, chiffon dresses and blouses, were among the looks Gerani included in the fall collection he showed in Milan.
“The difference between a cool outfit and an old outfit is very small,” Gerani said. “It’s in how you combine things. How you style a collection is the key point.”
Gerani is still infusing a bit of the sense of humor of Iceberg History into the main line to maintain a playful and sporty image, he said, also reflected in its slightly surreal ad campaigns shot by David LaChapelle for the past four seasons.
“Iceberg is the contrary of a minimalist collection,” Gerani said. “Today, the fashion community is getting so serious that sometimes people get bored.”

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