A few years back, when Kris Van Assche was still finding his feet at Dior Homme, he spent a couple of seasons deconstructing suits. He took them apart, turned them inside out and did all in his power to showcase the magnificence of his Paris atelier. It worked; the audience renewed its interest in Van Assche and took time out to marvel at the craftsmanship of a Dior Homme suit. But even though the presentational approach was different, the actual garments - the suits - were still traditional and in line with the House’s already established aesthetic. As such it said more about the technicians than the designer. Yesterday, in Florence, Carlo Brandelli, creative director of British Savile Row tailors Kilgour, took a very different sartorial route. Just days after his S/S 16 presentation at LCM, Brandelli travelled to the Pitti Uomo trade show in Tuscany to show off his alternative take on men’s tailoring. But his approach is similar to those Van Assche collections a few seasons back. By stripping back the details, and letting the simple beauty of a well-constructed suit lure us in, Brandelli has skillfully established his own, ultra-modern take on tailoring.
At the Palazzo Medici Riccardi presentation, a lone model stood in a glass labyrinth while the different pastel shades of the glass changed colour as the sun light hit them. The colours came from Brandelli’s S/S collection; sky blue, green, yellow and pink surrounded the black suit on display. Nearby, in a neat installation booth, a few suit jackets in white and other light shades displayed his intricate technique up close. Brandelli began his creative career as a sculptor, which is obvious when inspecting his creations. ‘I see what I do as architecture for the body,’ he explained. And that’s why the Pitti hook up makes complete sense: ‘Florence is the capital of the world for art and architecture so it was important to do something sculptural.’ The task Brandelli has set himself is, clearly, to question and modernise tailoring. ‘Yes, this is traditional craft for super contemporary clothes.’ His is vision where, it feels like, the thin mohair fabric is just an accomplice to the construction of the suit. The alternative cuts make for a new silhouette, one that challenges the traditional notion of how a suit should look and work.
For him, the pieces as 3D objects and to make them stand out even more Brandelli has cut down the details on his jackets to a bare minimum. This presentation was about paying homage to the paper pattern, the purest form of tailoring but, unlike with those Dior Homme collections, Brandelli isn’t just satisfied with respecting tailoring’s past, he wants to re-shape its future.