Soft tailoring: 3 italian brands worth adding for fall ’19

by Karen Alberg Grossman

The good news: fall ‘19 offers much true innovation from Italian craftsmen! Smart merchants are investing in brands that are more unique and less broadly distributed.

Corneliani style director Stefano Gaudioso Tramonte among the mannequins

For example, Corneliani has come out with what could be their best collection ever! According to their talented style director Stefano Gaudioso Tramonte, the goal for fall/winter ‘19 was to create a complete lifestyle collection that’s elegant but relaxed, sartorial but informal, with pieces that can be dressed up or down. Tramonte has paid particular attention to proportion, balancing a softer silhouette in trousers with heavier footwear (gorgeous shoes, boots and sneakers with a new chunkier sole). Most exceptional, a modern trouser model with a less constructed interior, drawstring waist with pleat, and a softer elasticized bottom, perfect in a ribbed knit jersey.

We also LOVED the outerwear, much of it in technical wool that combines luxury with performance—from trenches to military looks (check out their cashmere bomber jacket) to DB peacoats in long and short models. And the gorgeous sweaters in regenerated cashmere knit from recycled fibers. There’s a lot to digest here, and at value pricepoints for luxury product: suits averaging $1995 retail, soft sportscoats at $1295 and $1395.

Marc Spero from L.B.M. 1911

Another special collection from the same part of Italy, L.B.M. 1911 too looks fabulous. According to VP Mark Spero, fall ‘19 offerings feature more texture, color and softness, with a new emphasis on jersey and sweater-type sportscoats in exclusive fabrics like waffle-knit corduroy and velveteen (garment dyed so they’re exclusive to Lubiam). “We’re taking Biella fabrics, washing them down and crafting with less construction. The beauty of this collection is that retailers become the designers, selecting their preferred colors, patterns and models. The fit is tailored to American guys: modern but not too trim; retails on the softcoats are in the $795 to $895 range.”

Also exceptional here: some really great outerwear (at about $1000 retail) and “less tailored” suits in washed wools and other more casual fabrics. Spero notes that recent retailer orders indicate a definite increase in full suits that look less formal.

Emilio Paschetto from PT Pantaloni Torino

And from PT Pantaloni Torino trousers, Emilio Paschetto showed us his outstanding pants collection ($395-$450 average retails) and spoke about the changing nature of the luxury business. “What put us on the map was the fact that we were the first to offer only slim fit. But our slim fit is not skin-tight: it’s about proportion: rise to seat to leg opening. It’s a bit looser in the thigh and slimmer toward the bottom so it’s flattering but comfortable and fits almost everyone. We offer an extensive collection with many chapters and more than 300 SKUs and a broad replenishment program.”

“But I think the real reason for our success is that luxury today means more than expensive. It’s about exclusivity and authenticity and making customers feel that they’re discovering something truly special, a well-kept secret.”

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