Among the most important trends for fall ’15: knit sportcoats and sweater jackets! These are now available at all price points, from Boston Traders’ fleece-lined “swackets” at $40 cost for a suggested $125 retail to Richard Choi’s fabulous knit flannel sportcoats ($150 wholesale in SB, $165 in DB; there’s also a knit blazer in an indigo garment wash at $150) to Raffi’s cashmere blend knit sportcoats, $165 cost and perfect in a gorgeous charcoal-to-navy double faced fabric. We also loved the gorgeous knit sportcoats at Bespoken, modeled below by Simon from Mario’s with Liam Fayed.
Another ubiquitous fall direction: athleisure. I loved the super-soft knits from Cullen and the knit joggers from Tailor Vintage ($45 cost for $108 suggested retail). But for a total lifestyle look, this trend is still best exemplified by Arnold Zimberg’s stylish designs (modeled here by Arnold and Bruce). Price points are noteworthy: $145 retail for the pant, $165 for the hooded sweatshirt. Definitely not activewear, these fabrics are luxury rather than technical, with a fit that’s sophisticated rather than shlumpy. Or as the designer puts it “You can wear it on the plane and then go right out to dinner at Indochine.”
A few fabulous finds out of Italy: Dolce Punta’s Laura and Massimo showed Paole Vitale custom belts (featuring beautiful shades of crocodile straps and several different buckle options in a custom box; the straps can be cut in-store and each belt costs $120 for a suggested retail of $350.) We also loved the saleable pick-up items from Giorgio Fedon: colorful business card cases at $16 cost, whimsical pens at $20 (suggested retail $55) and hold-anything little boxes ($7 cost, for jewelry, pills, contact lenses, whatever) in bold fun prints, perfect for impulse selling in a fishbowl by the cash register.
A made-in-Italy highlight: uniquely luxurious hand-crafted bags and shoes from Massimiliano Stanco. This ultra-luxury collection uses unusual materials from exotic skins to ebony to stone! An artist since childhood, Max Stanco put together this collection a year and a half ago borrowing techniques from the 1930s and ’40s. The skins are hand-colored with special dyes and creams, then brushed with special cloths. The stitching is done from the inside out so it’s virtually invisible (the outside stitching alone takes three hours per bag); ergonomic handles are designed for maximum comfort. Footwear is created of similarly unique materials: Tuscan calfskin, ultra-soft suedes and stone for trim.
Among the unexpected finds at the shows: a cool footwear collection (sourced and produced in Italy) at Bugatchi Uomo, shown here by Eric and Jason. A suede driving shoe is $110 cost for a $275 suggested retail; a gorgeous waxed leather boot costs $160 for a suggested retail of $395.
Another find: Henry Grethel’s just-launched collection of leathers. The skins are sourced worldwide, with production in a state-of-the-art factory in India. Exceptional men’s outerwear pieces include the moto jacket at $300 cost, lightweight shearlings and a fabulous leather jacket with quilted detail and Sherpa trim. I loved the arctic shades like forest and mineral, and I really loved the entire women’s collection!
Note to menswear merchants: even if you don’t yet carry women’s apparel, why not gradually introduce a collection or two from one of your trusted menswear brands? Unlike men, women are shoppers and you’re sure to be surprised by the sell-throughs. In addition to Grethel’s luxurious leathers and suedes for women (including some great dresses!), I loved Raffi’s stylish cashmere knits, and Weatherproof’s cool outerwear, modeled here by me!
A few final items: the LOVE sock from Per Pedes at British Apparel ($27.50 retail, could there be a better pick-up gift for Christmas or Valentine’s Day?), BD Baggies perfectly packaged perfect oxford (five-ounce cotton in a pre-laundered case, $42.50 cost) and Viyella’s heritage cotton/wool shirts in new slimmer fits (three inches all around, $59 cost), tasteful floral print shirts from Bulgarini ($58 cost) and the perfect ultra-soft washed bleached double-faced plaid shirt from Road ($125 retail, you won’t keep it in stock!). Finally, the hot item of the MRket show: Dion’s mini bowties for your lapel, $10 cost for a $25 suggested retail. There was hardly a sportcoat without one!