PARIS — It’s the dawn of a new era for Francesco Smalto, who welcomed new creative director Jean Luc Amsler to its team in September. “The goal is to modernize the brand’s image, to make it into the audacious house it used to be,” said the Swiss-born designer of the men’s wear line, which was founded in 1962 by Smalto himself.
His first collection for the brand, around 40 looks to be presented during Paris men’s week, completely reworks the masculine silhouette. “Traditional codes in men’s fashion have been blown to pieces. The suit is no longer seen as a uniform, there is a real freedom in the way men wear their garments. For example, they have completely discarded the tie,” Amsler explained.
For the first time, the creation of the Smalto ready-to-wear collection was handled both by the brand’s Italian manufacturers and in-house bespoke tailors at the Paris atelier. They revisited the Smalto fit, adding different suit cuts to cater to the new male silhouette, according to the designer, there is a real demand for more fitted styles.
Phosphorescent piping lines suit pockets, giving a futuristic feel. Innovative new materials were introduced, such as an anti-perspiring textile. A jacket, created in collaboration with outerwear brand Inventive Citi, has both heat-retaining and cooling properties, depending on the temperature. An LED-covered suit jacket was created specially for the presentation, but won’t be available to purchase.
Amsler, who has experience designing for Jean-Louis Scherrer, Courrèges, Dior Homme and Arnys, put a particular focus on accessories for this first season. Instead of the traditional black and brown hues, leather goods are delivered in zingy colors such as orange and peacock blue. The designer will also be introducing jewelry for the first time in Smalto’s history.
“It’s all about finding the balance between respecting our existing customers and embracing the fact that tailoring needs to reinvent itself,” Amsler said. “It’s a beautiful challenge.”