A man in an impeccable but deconstructed suit somehow has a slightly artistic air about him.” So said Trussardi creative director Gaia Trussardi of the house’s flowing, draped tailoring for this season, which she presented on actors narrating animated monologues in Milan’s Palazzo Brera. The collection was inspired by the paintings of Van Gogh and Italian naïve artist Antonio Ligabue, with their depictions of clothes like “rippling waves”. And while the thespian performances were highly engaging, the garments did fall gracefully over the actors’ frames, neither accentuating nor engulfing them.
The artful drape of the clothes was down to more than precision cutting. The fabrics, which Miss Trussardi described as “luxurious but fluid, thanks to new compositions and weaving techniques,” allowed for a natural shoulder and loosely draped fit. Such complex fluid fabrications are an intrinsic part of some of the most elegant and directional clothes this season.
Take Trussardi’s dove-grey raffia blend, used for a light top coat (€1,500) and matching jogger-inspired trousers (€590): the clothes moved in a sensual manner, while the relaxed lines and piped detailing anchored the look in contemporary casualwear. And while a patterned blue silk shirt jacket (€590) was dressy enough for a cocktail party, the cut (between a baseball shirt and an unstructured blazer) was gratifyingly slouchy.
One can’t talk about cutting-edge luxury fabrics without talking about Kiton, a brand famed for its forays into cashmere technology. Its new made-to-measure service offers a pioneering shirt-like blazer (£2,975). “We created an armour-like shape but in a choice of knit-effect materials for ultra‑fluid results,” says CEO Antonio de Matteis. They feel exceptional – as comfortable as luxury sleepwear, yet perfect for an evening out. The fabrics range from cotton jersey to Kiton’s unique natural-stretch cashmere.
Subtle stretch is the key to the season’s casual cuts being flattering rather than just loose-fitting. Giorgio Armani’s version (£1,050) is cut in a stretch ramine wool with a silk lustre that holds its shape brilliantly. Voluminous double-pleated trousers (£700) – another prevailing look, these boasting a jaunty check pattern and ironed-out creases – complement the jacket perfectly. A second slouchy Armani jacket (£1,650), in wool/silk jacquard with additional jacquard motif detailing, was also shown with double-pleated trousers (£590) to elegant effect.
Colour also plays an undeniable role in the collections; it was a defining element at Cerruti, with its greys, teals and delicate sorbets. The Cerruti fabrication is, of course, outstanding – having a high-tech mill in the family assures that. A light stretch wool with a pronounced drape was used for a double-breasted coat (£1,800) and matching pleated trousers (£220). “The fabric works so well in tailoring that we use it for suits, soft duster macs, military-style shirts and trousers,” says chief creative director Jason Basmajian. A powder-peach stretch-wool double-breasted suit (£1,900) comes with cargo trousers, and a lightweight, tailored duster mac (£1,500) in a marl effect version is worn with an oversized patch-pocket shirt (£360) and tab trousers (£230). Further interesting duster macs with fluid fabrication can be found at Matthew Miller, where they are cut from a navy payero viscose developed in Tuscany (£560) and a knitted merino wool (£560).
Directional fabrics lend themselves to longer cuts. Witness Fendi, where its cupro fabric, made from wood pulp that breathes like cotton and drapes like silk-sateen, is used for an elongated, tailored jacket (£1,050) and high-waisted, pleated trousers (£410). Maison Margiela’s longish peach-toned wool suit (£1,680) took deconstruction to extremes, with clearly visible basting stitches as part of the design, while Pal Zileri borrowed prints from a 19th-century Italian abstract art movement for its graphic-print cotton jacket (£1,620) and matching trousers (£575), made without linings for an ultra-relaxed drape.
And at Bottega Veneta, creative director Tomas Maier explored a 1940s-style jacket silhouette that’s the most elongated I’ve seen for some time. His fluid silk jacket (£1,560) and trousers (£620) were beautiful, and effortless, while its roomy gabardine duster macs (£1,600) worn with voluminous, pleated trousers (£590) – cut long so they pooled slightly round the ankles – looked graceful, for all the abundance of fabric.
By contrast, Matchesfashion.com’s in-house label Raey displays fluidity cut with a strong tailored sportswear sensibility. I mistook the shorter-length mint jacket (£395) for wool crepe – it is, in fact, breathable viscose, as creative director Rachael Proud gently pointed out. “Wool crepe wouldn’t give this level of drape, and using a man-made fabrication means we can achieve beautiful colours with pronounced sheen.”
And the footwear all these looks seemed to work best with? Sleek, simple white sneakers. Proof that ease and comfort remain the watchwords for contemporary style.