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Collections — Man / Prêt-à-Porter

Fall / Winter — 2004

Press Release

“Having to draw a conclusion, I’d say that male forms of narcissistic snobbery have now given way to modes of dress that, on the contrary, depict who we are, how we think and feel. They reflect canons and rules that for me are normal and interesting to reread season after season. That’s why I recalibrated the shapes of jackets and coats, destructuring shoulders, elevating the waist, opting in general for a slimmer, even body-conscious look. Without exaggerating, I lowered the crotch of pants so as to accentuate the figure’s sense of ease. In shirts I gave greater importance to collars, getting a sharp result where buttons appear higher to emphasize the tie (when there is one). In pullovers I stressed the need for a lusciously slim fit. Aiming expressly for practical solutions, I bypassed excessive lengths and stuck to a knee one for coats.

These minor/major variations in the spirit of precision and comfort set the pace of the entire collection while amply allowing for an eclectic cleanliness of design, a keen alchemy of materials, a continual surprise of choices. Starting from the palette. A dense and solid red creates exceptional jackets, perfect when worn over an open shirt and a faded pair of jeans the grayish colour of a mountain lake. Red, sky blue and black brown come together in the leather blousons, small and firm like a fencer’s crossover shirt or an equestrian’s jacket. All paired with equally vibrant and multicolor riding pants complete with patches – in fanciful reference to the saddle-cloths on horses during medieval jousts.

Rich in depth for winter, brown reveals unforeseen nuances: frosty, splotchy, powdery or glossy, bordering on lead, anthracite, rock grays. Due exactly to this versatility, I used brown to define a wide range of materials: loden, (re)washed velvets, ultrapressed felts, boiled wools for unlined coats and suits. Instead in the more classic urban suits – yet worn tieless over shirts – brown comes with a hint of ruby in the pinstripes and checks.

In the case of black, too, I made a point of inventing unusual connotations. It’s a bit faded and dull in the fabrics on loan from workwear. It’s satinized in the nylon that, thanks to rubber and metal ribbing, makes for bombers and parkas with a potent cyber-dragon flair. Meanwhile, offering an immediate feeling of calmness and wealth are the natural tones of the mohair tartans I used for ultra soft warm items… as in the blankets for a midwinter sleigh ride…

Utterly magical assonances distinguish the leathers and furs. I lined all-black coats and blousons with fabulous white mink, tartan coats with beautiful golden beaver. I put extra supple woven-badger collars on heavy brown jackets. And I favored naturally-tanned shark, toad, elephant, chiguire skins – rough, sturdy, scaly. Often together, as in the chunky shoes with upper, toe and buckle in different leathers.

For evening, I had intriguing fun with contrasts. So, beyond the neo-tuxedo (supreme expression of rigor) and the embroidered shirt (ever a must) there are also incredible ‘masquerade’ jackets featuring a multiplicity of fabrics, colors, damasks, embroideries (with wide iridescent velvet ribbons forming vertical joints). A kaleidoscope full of both force and grace, played down then by a white shirt or by black turtleneck and trousers. Jackets seem period pieces, genuine one-of-a-kinds for a dandy romantic, timeless, strictly his own man. Pure and brave like Ivanhoe. Boldly rebellious like Baron Von der Trenk (who dared to challenge Frederick the Great of Prussia). Reckless and irreverent like Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones…”

Gianfranco Ferré