MILAN NOTES

Byline: Courtney Colavita / Suzanne Karotkin

Baring It All
After weeks of deciding what to name their new ready-to-wear and accessories collection, former Bottega Veneta designers Manuela Morin and Edward Buchanan finally agreed on Le Flesh.
“This is a truly personal endeavor for us,” said Buchanan. “There’s nothing quite as personal as your own skin.”
For Morin, who was instrumental in bringing Buchanan to Bottega Veneta and worked there with him for four years, the name also represents removing a certain commercial level she felt while working for the Italian company.
“The whole process, creatively, has been liberating,” said Morin, sitting in her sun-drenched apartment near Milan’s Piazza Duomo.
Morin may be handling the accessories and Buchanan the rtw, but don’t pigeonhole the pair with any titles. The two 30-year-old designers are involved in the entire creative process and aesthetic sensibility of their self-financed company.
“We’re really in sync with each others’ thoughts,” Buchanan said. “We trust one another, and give suggestions on everything from choice of fabrics and cut to color.”
Organic shapes, supple fabrics and skin-tone colors paired with brighter hues defined their first collection, which bowed earlier this month. Unlike most rookie lines, however, Le Flesh also sent out an ambitious line of handbags and shoes.
Morin used napa, kid leather and calfskin to create killer heels and delicate flats with round, layered circular appliques on the toe. Slide-on, stretch napa boots with an open-heel are as lightweight as knee-highs.
Le Flesh handbags feature wrist straps, contrasting pleats and a hybrid piece that is part duffel, part shopping bag.
“Accessories are obviously important right now and there’s a lot out there to choose from. What we’re trying to do is give a woman something she feels is really her own,” Morin said.
Less than a month after their Milan presentation, the two said they have received requests from stores interested in carrying the line, but they are considering the best retail approach for Le Flesh.
“We really don’t feel any pressure to rush things for this season,” Buchanan said. “We’re thinking about [selling over] the Internet or doing specific small orders.”

Zero Visibility
Rocco Benetton’s new sportswear company, Zero Industry, has enlisted Italian eyewear manufacturer Allison SpA to produce a line of ultra-functional sunglasses.
“I always see people wearing [sunglasses] at night or inside, because they use them as a head band,” said Benetton, who also happens to be youngest of Luciano Benetton’s children. “When you think about it, it’s a very practical way to keep your hair out of your face.”
With that in mind, Benetton set out to design sunglasses with interchangeable frames in lightweight materials that conform to the curve of the head. Besides manufacturing the line, Ittierre-controlled Allison SpA will also handle distribution for the collection, which is slated to hit Italian stores in June.
Zero Industry produces Zerorh+, a high tech sportswear line, which bowed last month.
“I call it O-glam or Olympic glamour,” said Benetton. “It’s for people who want to be comfortable and fashionable, whether they’re at the gym or walking through Piazza Duomo.”

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