With a braying mare and galloping hooves on the soundtrack, Salvatore Ferragamo cantered valiantly into equestrianism for A/W 2010 - cue knee-high boots, jodhpur-ish trousers and dandy highwayman coats galore, on thoroughbred-looking models with flowing manes of hair occasionally tucked under what amounted to a cross between a pork-pie hat and a scaled-down stetson. Next season's feeling for the homespun and handcrafted was there in thick knitwear, hefty cardigans and sweaters or tasseled scarves in Aran patterns, overgrown and swamping the shoulders with bobbles the size of golf balls (just the thing for an arctic winter). The collection hit a snag with eveningwear, with damask and jacquard smoking jackets and silk-fringed paisley scarves looking decidedly old-hat in what is shaping up to be a season of seeming austerity - although how austere lashing of shearling and cashmere can be is anyone's guess. Daywear was its strong suit: coats were cut full and oversized, alongside classic duffles in heavy wool, shearling or a natty mohair Black Watch tartan, also tailored into a bulky lapel-free short jacket. The jewel-like, autumnal palette was subtle, succulent and interesting - with rich navy and teal, loden green and burnt umber shades of red-orange, through vermillion and rust. Ferragamo's designer Massimiliano Giornetti must be given credit for venturing where few others have dared, in a season thusfar populated with safe shades of grey, navy and endless black. If the shapes, textures and themes seemed familiar, even this early in the season, for Ferragamo it is no bad thing. The house is hardly a menswear innovator - Ferragamo himself created precisely one pair of men's shoes in his lifetime (you can pick them up with Warhol-inspired paint-splatters at Dover Street Market, if you're interested), thus a menswear line is tenuous at best. But in fashion, some are made to lead and some inevitably to follow - Giornetti wasn't expected to break the mould, or even rock the boat, but to hit trends and create a wearable, saleable collection. He delivered precisely that.
Next season's feeling for the homespun and handcrafted was there in thick knitwear, hefty cardigans and sweaters or tasseled scarves.