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K-WAY

Following a five-year hiatus, K-Way, which is controlled by Turin-based BasicNet Group, is returning to Pitti Uomo.

Global brand manager Achille Balestrini explained that the brand is eyeing further global expansion and will bring to Florence a rich collection that celebrates the heritage of K-Way and includes the addition of several new product categories including polos, sweatshirts and swimwear.

At Pitti, K-Way will showcase an enlarged offering of its signature Le Vrai range, which is inspired by the original K-Way product designed by Leon-Claude Duhamel in 1965. “Each Le Vrai design is practical and functional thanks to the fact they are all packable,” Balestrini said, adding that the company now offers the merchandise assortment in multiple colors.

For next summer, the company has also expanded its Première label, offering timeless pieces with a contemporary and high-tech touch. Key pieces include reversible jackets crafted from new materials, including a double metal, and new silhouettes in new textiles, including a paper-like crinkled fabric.

In keeping with its retail strategy, the company last April opened a store in London’s Covent Garden, as well as in Naples and in the Tuscan high-end beach resort of Forte Dei Marmi. K-Way, which has wholesale accounts in about 30 countries, is also gearing up to open a flagship in Paris’ Marais neighborhood.

In the first quarter of 2017, K-Way saw sales gain 15.5 percent compared to the previous year with France, Italy and Belgium the best-performing countries.

“We are optimistic about 2017 and we think that, in the next few years, the company has the potential to further grow, also through the opening of new flagships in key locations, including Tokyo,” Balestrini said. — Alessandra Turra

FEDERICO CURRADI

The long-standing heritage of Florence served as an inspiration for Tuscan designer Federico Curradi’s spring collection, which he will present with a runway show on June 15 at Florence’s Museo Bardini.

“The collection reflects the dual spirit of Florence, which is ultimately romantic yet bellicose at the same time,” said Curradi, who established his namesake men’s label in January 2016. The designer, who lives in the Florentine countryside, is also the creative director of outerwear specialist Peuterey. Previously, he was in charge of the Iceberg men’s wear line.

Curradi explained that for spring he imagined a Florentine young man who works in a typical artisanal workshop and after work he plays “calcio fiorentino,” an early form of soccer that was established in the 16th century at Florence’s Piazza Santa Croce.

“It’s about a superman, who is also romantic,” Curradi explained.

In keeping with previous collections, the spring lineup is entirely crafted from natural materials, including silk, cotton and linen, sourced in the area around Florence, where the line is also manufactured.

In order to communicate a sense of comfort and sustainable luxury, the designer developed a range of outerwear pieces using shirting fabrics. He also created more structured-yet-lightweight robe coats by blending cotton and linen, as well as silk and linen.

Curradi introduced drop-crotch trousers, boxer shorts-inspired Bermuda pants, along with a range of hand-painted sweatshirts. In addition, the designer introduced a printed motif with a marble effect.

The color palette is inspired by the paintings of the Macchiaioli, a group of Italian artists active in Tuscany in the second half of the 19th century. Since they painted outdoors to capture the natural light, their hues were extremely natural and vibrant.

The Federico Curradi brand, which is distributed by Parisian showroom Noseason, is sold in 25 stores across Europe, Japan, Korea, the United States and Canada.  — A.T.

ALANUI

Alanui, the luxury label founded in 2016 by siblings Carlotta and Nicolò Oddi, is making its Florentine debut on June 16 with a morning presentation at the Tepidarium del Roster greenhouse.

“The space is all glass and white metal so the pieces will pop up with their colors, which are vivid yet always sophisticated,” said Carlotta Oddi, who takes care of the creative aspect and the production of the Alanui collections.

At Pitti Uomo, the brand will bring a rich range of its unisex buttonless oversized cardigans embellished with functional pockets, fringes and a coordinated belt. Crafted from 2.2 pounds of high-end Cariaggi cashmere, each cardigan takes about 12 hours to make.

The new collection features several variations on the signature design, embellished with embroideries, jacquard patterns and needle-punched details.

“The motifs continue to be inspired by the American Native tradition, which is leading us into wide and rich creative territories,” she said.

According to her brother, Alanui is currently sold in 128 stores across the world. In the United States, for example, the brand is available at Five Story, Bergdorf Goodman and Kirna Zabete in New York, as well as Maxfield in Los Angeles. Alanui is also sold online at Net-a-porter.

The collection’s wholesale prices start from 980 euros, or $1,102 at current exchange rate.

“Italy accounts for 30 percent of our business, while the remaining 70 percent of our sales are made all over the world, especially in Asia and across the United States,” said Nicolò Oddi. “The goal is to continue to grow but in a sustainable, balanced way. I think we could add about 30 clients, not more.”

Asked about the potential evolution of the brand, Carlotta Oddi said that “while we don’t want to create a total look,” Alanui might expand into different product categories. “But everything will need to be completely in line with the authentic and original spirit of the brand.”  — A.T.

SAFE

 As with many other brands, Safe was born to fulfill a personal need of its founders.

“We love travel, we did many trips together and each vacation we used to buy a pair of Vilebrequin swim shorts,” said Stefano Sacchi, who cofounded the brand along with his longtime friend Stefano Santorelli. “But every time, we had the same problem — we never knew where to put our stuff and we were losing keys, money, lighters…”

So after returning from a Christmas trip in 2015, the two friends had the idea of launching their own swimwear company focused on high-end shorts with two zippered side pockets. The brand’s first collection was presented one year later.

“The name Safe refers to the fact that our swim shorts enable men to safely protect their belongings when they are at the beach,” said Santorelli, noting that the company uses patented YKK zippers and upscale Italian fabrics. Safe’s products are entirely manufactured in Italy, in the area around Florence.

A Pitti Uomo newcomer, Safe will present at the men’s wear trade show a collection that includes two distinct ranges: Business and First. While the pieces included in the first grouping are crafted from polyester, the First’s designs are made from a polyamide material.

All the pieces, available for men as well as boys ages 4-8, come in both solids as well as playfully chic patterns. These include motifs dedicated to four international cities: London, Paris, Rome and New York.

At Pitti, Safe will also debut a capsule collection developed in collaboration with artist Alan Borguet, who developed three exclusive prints.

Each pair of swim shorts comes with a tiny bag in the same print. In addition, Safe developed a line of terry cloth beach towels embellished with a maxi zippered pocket splashed with the same patterns available in the swimwear collection.

The men’s swim range retails from 90 euros, or $101 at current exchange rate, to 175 euros, or $197, while the boys’ collection will sell for between 70 euros, or $79, and 100 euros, or $112.

Safe is distributed by the Matopo and Backstudyo showrooms in Milan, as well as by Sonoho in Benelux, Kiama in Dubai, Joey Showroom in New York and Los Angeles and Sunrise in Tokyo.

The brand is currently available in 15 stores in key cities such as Milan, Miami and Dubai, as well as resorts in Ibiza, Mykonos, St. Moritz and Capri. — A.T.

HUNTING WORLD

For the first time in its over-50-year history, Hunting World will show a full ready-to-wear collection at a runway show during Pitti. The show will mark a new creative direction for the brand, which is known for its sturdy, safari-inspired bags and accessories.

Yosuke Aizawa, founder and designer of the modern outdoor-meets-streetwear brand White Mountaineering, recently joined the Hunting World creative team and headed the development of the first ready-to-wear collection.

The looks aim to blend an outdoor lifestyle with modern sophistication, something Aizawa has a knack for. The collection is produced in Italy using both classic and technical textiles sourced from around the world, and the company hopes it will appeal to both brand loyalists and those seeking “updated classics with a youthful twist and ease,” according to the company.

“You will see elements of travel, outdoor adventure and the sporting lifestyle conceptualized with both familiar and novel materials,” Aizawa said of the new collection. “I believe it’s a fresh take on apparel that will have broad appeal and also resonate with our brand loyalists.”

Hunting World was founded in New York in 1965 by the adventurer Robert M. Lee. The brand provided its clients with lightweight, heavy-duty, multifunctional bags that were inspired by Lee’s years leading photographic, scientific and hunting expeditions across Africa. While it currently has no permanent stores in the U.S., it has a strong presence in Japan and across Asia. Aizawa said the decision to show the first Hunting World ready-to-wear collection at Pitti was an easy one.

“Pitti is an elite show globally famous for presenting the world’s best luxury and fashion brands. We have been proud participants for years. Florence is also home for us since we have been producing our bags and leather goods here for many decades. Pitti and our local production are the reasons we opened a flagship boutique there in 2015,” the designer said.

While spring 2018 marks Hunting World’s first foray into ready-to-wear, Aizawa and the rest of the creative team are determined that it will not be the last.

“We are a brand with history and loyal followers because we have a unique product and luxury point of view,” Aizawa said. “We look forward to attracting and embracing new customers who identify with our lifestyle. Though we take the long-term view, we execute step by step each season with a singular focus on creating the finest, freshest looks that deserve to be called Hunting World.” — Kelly Wetherille

BALLY

Bally is reaching back into its archives for its first-ever showing at Pitti Uomo.

The leather-goods brand spent the past year diving into its DNA to create a special capsule of sneakers based on some of its most popular vintage styles from the Seventies and Eighties. This nostalgic take on the red-hot sneaker category is part of the brand’s attempt to speak in a “new tone of voice,” according to the company.

Noting that Bally has offered sneakers since the Fifties, a spokesperson said the brand found four styles that “really stood out in our archive:” the Competition, Galaxy, Vita-Parcours and Super Smash.

“These are some of our most successful lace-ups, and back in the Eighties, were the shoes of choice for hip-hop legends like Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh, who wore a pair on his 1986 album cover “Oh, My God!​” If they were the talk of the music scene back then, we knew there was magic to unlock in replicating these styles, reinforcing our brand identity and reawakening this ‘moment.’”

And Pitti was the right platform to showcase the styles, according to the company.

The Competition and Vita-Parcours were especially popular on the urban rap scene in Brooklyn in the Eighties and spawned the term “Bally fresh” in hip-hop lyrics of the day. “This was the starting point for the vision of rebooting the vintage sneaker,” the company said.

The Super Smash allowed the brand to reintroduce a vulcanized sole that it hadn’t used for decades and which the team believes may open the door to additional styles with harder-wearing soles. In contrast, the Galaxy is the lightest of the offering, intended to be used as a casual, sporty everyday sneaker.

The Competition and Galaxy are exact replicas, offering the same shape, linings and sole as the originals, while the Vita-Paracours and Super Smash have updated soles. The shoes will retail for 250 to 350 euros, or $281 to $393 at current exchange, and will be available beginning in January in Bally stores, online and in select retailers.

To promote the collection at Pitti, Bally is creating a pop-up venue at the show in rusted red metal intended to depict the angles of an open shoebox. The “box” is emblazoned with a retro Bally logo that was also found in the archive. On June 14, the brand will host a hip-hop dance party at the show to celebrate the capsule. — Jean E. Palmieri

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