Swiss sportswear brand Jet Set is showing at Pitti Uomo in Florence for the first time, bringing with it a new creative direction and its first footwear range. But the luxury label is hardly a newcomer.
Jet Set has been around since 1969 and, as the name might suggest, was worn by glamorous, international travelers on the slopes of St. Moritz and beaches of St. Tropez. In 2009, Jet Set was bought by the Gaydoul Group, a Switzerland-based investment firm that also manages premium shoemaker Navyboot. And in 2018, German designer Michael Michalsky, who held the position of global creative director at sportswear giant Adidas until 2006, took Jet Set’s creative reins; last year, the label also brought in a new chief executive officer, Marco Di Rado, previously at Hugo Boss, Ben Sherman and Acne Studios. Since then, the Swiss brand has been on something of an international tour, having first shown its new look in Paris in January 2019.
Michalsky, who’s been a fan of the label since the Eighties and even kept the first Jet Set jacket he ever purchased, told WWD that this collection is once again be inspired by the brand’s heritage. He’s spent time trawling the Jet Set archives — his first two collections for the brand also fused the contemporary and vintage — and the designer explained that, “this season will feature three unique prints from the brand’s heyday. But completely reinterpreted and used on technical fabrics which didn’t exist back then.”
The winter collections are the best time to showcase the more performance-oriented skiwear that Jet Set specializes in, Michalsky noted, which is eventually intended to make up just a third of all of the label’s products. Michalsky has been brought on to put Jet Set on the streets, not just the ski slopes, and also on display in Florence is a new footwear line. In the past, sneakers, featuring the distinctive red logo, were made for promotional purposes but they will now be available for sale. Also on show are more garments with that luxury “ath-leisure” feel as well as offerings from a sister label, Blue System, popular in the Eighties.
Michalsky said the reintroduction of the latter denim-oriented line for spring/summer 2020 got a “phenomenal response” in Paris, so there is more “innovative denim” at the brand’s stand in Florence, too.
But don’t call it a comeback — or even just another retro revival. As Michalsky explained, it’s more about being inspired by Jet Set’s heritage. “We like to consider the brand a true originator of luxury street- and sportswear,” he said. “Jet Set pretty much invented the sector in the early Eighties.”
And if all goes according to plan, Michalsky’s ambition is to take it back to the top, where he believes it belongs.