Once upon a time there was a sleepy century (founded 1895) old brand that was known for its bespoke shoes made of Venetian leather. It remained a well-kept secret amongst the great dandies, celebrities and titans of industry who partook of their services … I.e. Duke of Windsor, Jean Cocteau, Yul Brenner… amongst the notables.
About 100 years after its founding, the company was sold to LVMH where it remained quietly within their stable of brands. There were the logical brand extensions which included leather goods and “ready to wear shoes with the accompanying retail outlets. Then around 2011 or so, Antoine Arnault (Bernie Jr.) was given the plum assignment to morph the brand into a “lifestyle” brand which would include luxe ready to wear. So the requisite creative director was hired (Alessandro Sartori) and just days ago the first full ready to wear collection was revealed via tableau presentation.
Here’s the rub; you need to build the collection from the shoes up which is no small task but far from impossible given that there are already certain parameters in place. Pursuant to that premise, Bernie Jr. and Mr. Sartori have forgotten one immensely important aspect of this exercise and that is to provide uniqueness, a look, an aura to the newly formulated brand… a point of view. Sadly, the collection they turned out is bland, confusing, a yawn and somewhat ill conceived. The goal should have been to produce a collection that resonates with the younger “clothes horses” or dandies of today such as Lapo Elkan, Luca Rubinacci or Matteo Marzotto yet also have the appeal to yesteryear’s icons such as Gianni Agnelli, Steve McQueen and Duke of Windsor. (not dead people but men of that ilk)
Rather than delve into the specifics of why the collection is bland, color palette included, and that there is such a commonality to it, the photos will tell the story and I will spare you the verbiage. This is a collection that will sit with Brioni, Kiton, Zili, Loro Piana and the newly acquired Arnys which are all top shelf men’s brands. Where is the slickness, the chic, the grand gesture, the polish that the collection should possess or at lack of a better expression the “peacock” factor? Someone best get rid of the generic personality of the brand and move towards the sartorial side of the 21st century … and very quickly or else it will fall into the miasma of boring nondescript menswear, that nobody pays attention to, no matter what the price!