Brooks Brothers presented an impressive array of its greatest hits during its first runway show that celebrated the roots of American men’s wear.
The company, which turns 200 years old in 2018, kicked off the party with a special event at the Pitti Uomo show in Florence. The brand borrowed the spectacular Palazzo Vecchio for a multipronged event that opened with the runway show and transitioned to a retrospective and private dinner hosted by Brooks’ owner Claudio Del Vecchio.
The show, which featured 51 looks — 43 men’s and eight women’s — was a nod to founder Henry Sands Brooks’ roots as a disruptor. With a live performance by the Orchestra Filarmonica Italiana as the backdrop — playing “Empire State of Mind” as a nod to its New York history — the company presented modern interpretations of the button-down shirt, repp tie and other innovations that have since become men’s wear classics.
Suit jackets tucked into pants so they doubled as shirts, trench coats worn inside out and seersucker suits worn under tweed blazers were all featured during the show. Among the standouts were head-turning topcoats, madras shirts and shorts and lush shearling in the season-less collection.
There were also subtle references to some of the company’s most famous customers — a repp tie worn as a belt à la Fred Astaire and watches showcased on the outside of shirt cuffs as pioneered by Gianni Agnelli.
The women’s wear, designed by Zac Posen, included a tuxedo, a silk pajama set and a chunky graphic sweater over a tweed jacket.
The eveningwear finale, which included classic tuxedos and Black Watch smoking jackets, provided an elegant touch.
All in all, it was a refreshing take on the classics and respectful embrace of a two century-old heritage.