Herno NYC Showroom
by Karen Alberg Grossman

Press Week is a great time for editors to review, reflect and recommend brands. Here, a few of the interesting fall ‘19 collections we saw this week in NYC, at various price levels. (More to come next week!)

Claudio Marenzi
Claudio Marenzi

Undoubtedly one of the best collections we’ve seen anywhere, Herno maintains its reputation for making fabulous Italian outerwear combining fashion and technology. Its president and managing director Claudio Marenzi was in town this week to talk about the brand and its new NYC showroom (pictured above). “I started working at the company during summer vacations when I was 15. I loved every aspect of the business, from R&D and manufacturing to selling and marketing. I guess I was lucky to be born into something I truly love. I think the secret to our success over the years is that we do everything in house—from textile development on, nothing is outsourced. Also, we’re willing to change—as we did 15 years ago when we switched from mostly private label to mostly our own brand. My dream is that we continue on the growth pattern we’ve enjoyed for the past decade; all credit goes to our 170 dedicated and talented employees.”

Most exciting at Herno, the combination of high tech and high fashion, as special membranes are ingeniously inserted into these gorgeous garments to make them windproof, waterproof wrinkle-resistant, and virtually indestructible while retaining the softness of natural luxury fabrics. The menswear is exceptional; check out too the runway-worthy women’s collection, especially the fur-trimmed knits. WOW!

Michael Stefanov and Diego Louro at Joseph Abboud

Joseph Abboud designed a magnificent vintage-inspired fall ‘19 collection that immigrants from the turn of the 20th century might have worn to seek opportunity in the States. The clothing, all crafted in their renowned Massachusetts facility, is beautiful: luxury fabrics in softly structured styles that are sometimes a bit worn and rumpled, even patched, but always refined. Joseph’s trademark earth tones and grays were joined by items in rich shades of gold, green and burgundy. Most exceptional: the show-stopping outerwear, the hand-crafted kilim bags, the luxe Donegal sweaters and lush chunky cashmeres. But more than the fabulous clothing is the message that this collection calls out: a celebration of the melting pot that is America, of those courageous souls who continue to seek out new beginnings.

Peter Rizzo modeling Mauro Blasi with John McCoy

For luxury retailers looking for something special, John McCoy at Components is doing surprisingly well with Mauro Blasi. (Surprising only because of the pricepoints—in the $4,000-$5,000 range.) This family has a long history of the finest Neapolitan hand tailoring: they make only 40 garments a week; each suit involves 18 hours of hand craftsmanship. Trunk shows at high-end stores have yielded great sell-throughs.

Gran Sasso

Also at the Components showroom, we loved the beautiful merino and cashmere knits from Gran Sasso, still family owned and famous for value-priced basics (mostly in stock). We loved the super fine gauge cashmere turtleneck ($191 wholesale), the garment-washed vintage merinos and a gorgeous cashmere cardigan lined in a luxurious (fake) fur (the lining buttons out…) An added plus: Gran Sasso has recently won awards for their conservation efforts including solar panels at their facility in Sant’ Egidio. (The company virtually employs most of the population of this town on the Adriatic coast.)

Laurie Haspel
Laurie Haspel Aronson

At the more moderate end of the price spectrum, we were greatly impressed with Haspel’s new interpretations of seersucker. No longer a strictly summer/strictly pastel fashion option, we loved the darker shades of seersucker in plaids, subtle stripes and other menswear patterns, especially the black/navy seersucker transformed into sophisticated tuxedo styles with black satin peak lapels. All the tailored pieces (including some beautiful velvets, bamboo/linens, poplins and white dinner jackets) are made in America whereas the occasion sportswear is sourced and crafted in Italy. It’s a tight, well edited, affordable ($395 retail for seersucker sportcoats, $495 for velvets, $65-$75 for knit tops and $95-$125 for wovens) collection of clothing to party in. And according to Laurie Haspel, seersucker is no longer limited to the South, with unprecedented online demand coming from New York City. Party on!