MILAN — The Italian pirates of fashion are setting sail on a new adventure.
Sergio and Sebastiano Guardì, along with their business partner Alessandro Pagliacci, are kicking off a new chapter in the story of Barbanera, the brand they established in 2011.
The label, which bears the name of legendary British pirate Blackbeard, on Sunday will host its first official presentation at Milan Fashion Week, where it will not only showcase to press and buyers its new footwear styles, but also its first full collection of ready-to-wear.
“At a certain point we realized that clients were interested in what we were wearing, in our own idea of men’s wear, our style,” explained Sergio Guardì, who oversees design and production. “Since our goal has always been to create a lifestyle brand, we actually decided to give ourselves a chance and try to do the first men’s wear pieces.”
Last year Barbanera delivered a few shirts and denim pants reflecting the same style as its shoes, which combine an authentic Italian aesthetic with country, Western and British influences.
“We have a piratical approach to fashion,” Guardì said. “We offer a new take on classic men’s wear, but as a young brand with no heritage, we have a certain creative freedom enabling us to explore different ways and channel a variety of inspirations.”
Deep research into fabrications and special details defines the first Barbanera men’s wear collection, according to Guardì, who sourced materials from various parts of the world, ranging from Japan for Kuroki’s selvedge denim to Texas for a range of special metallic buttons. The company also teamed with the oldest Italian luxury textile company, Vitale Barberis Canonico, for high-end traditional fabrics, which the brand “outrageously” manipulated to obtain exclusive effects. “For example, we felted a superfine wool,” Guardì explained, while Japanese denim was bleached and stonewashed.
Describing the collection as a “wardrobe of collectible pieces,” Guardì stressed that the brand didn’t try to hit major trends, but actually focused on the definition of a peculiar, recognizable style, for a “lifestyle approach.”
The collection will include revisited staple pieces, including a Western shirt, which is refitted with a slimmer silhouette; another shirt with a Chinese collar; three jeans styles; velvet and pinstriped wool pants; a denim trucker jacket with a shearling collar and an embroidered patch stitched on the inside pocket, as well as a military coat and vests.
According to Guardì, the collection’s prices are in line with the footwear line, which for the fall season will be expanded to include styles such as an engineer boot with two buckles. For example, jeans retail around 260 euros and shirts go from 190 euros to 230 euros.
The distribution of the collection will be managed directly by the company, which in the first few years mainly relied on the wholesale business — especially in Japan and the U.S., the brand’s biggest markets — but is now focusing on a direct-to-consumer approach. “The sales of our online stores are growing and by the end of 2019 we are launching a new web site,” said Guardì.