Feature: Modern Marvels

  • William Kissel

Belvest’s new spring linen suits and blazers appear to be classic warm-weather standbys, but the Italian manufacturer washes the material with enzymes that render it virtually stain resistant. Ferragamo, Dunhill, Canali, and other clothing companies are blending linen with wool, cotton, or silk to make it more impervious to wrinkles, and Corneliani is fabricating slacks from a microfiber cloth that stretches.

In their interpretation of Art Deco, the Setai’s architects and designers blended natural wood, stone, brick, and bronze. Makers of outerwear also are incorporating innovative fabrics into their fashions. Façonnable has introduced a lightweight and waterproof blouson jacket made of extremely dense polyester and nylon fibers. When the temperature rises, your body heat will pass through this material, preventing you from overheating. Loro Piana’s featherweight blouson jacket is made from the company’s proprietary synthetic nylon blend called Twenty K Storm System. The jacket is ideal for golfers and other sportsmen who prefer silence when they play, because, unlike most other jackets, it does not make scratchy sounds when you move your arms.


Instead of just touting their clothing’s handmade details and gossamerlike fabrics, these and other menswear manufacturers are exploring the possibilities presented by high technology and producing fashions that breathe, resist stains and wrinkles, shield from electromagnetic rays, and even conduct electricity. 


When science and fashion combine, the possibilities seem endless. Last fall, Australia’s national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), created the Wearable Instrument Shirt. The organization’s researchers equipped a long-sleeved T-shirt with microscopic sensors that, as you play “air guitar,” register your arm movements and relay the information wirelessly to your computer, where digital audio files convert the motions to sound.

Fashion brands are applying technology in more practical ways, such as lining interior pockets with carbon-and-silver filament that discharges static electricity or deflects radiation and electromagnetic rays. Ermenegildo Zegna’s new iJacket, a lightweight garment made of water-resistant micronylon, employs groundbreaking technology that enables you to control your iPod by touching the jacket’s sleeve.


The jacket represents a collaboration between the Italian clothier and Eleksen, the British manufacturer of these so-called “smart” fabrics. “We’ve developed a way of putting several very thin layers of conductive carbon-coated nylon together so that when they are touched, the nature of the fabric’s chemical state changes,” says Eleksen CEO Robin Shephard. Touching the material, he explains, sends a wireless charge to a microchip embedded in the jacket pocket: “The chip is programmed to recognize the cloth changes and interpret them as on or off, or volume up and volume down.” Shephard says Eleksen is working with outerwear maker Spyder to create leather jackets that will allow you to control your iPod and your mobile phone using wireless Bluetooth in conjunction with the touch technology. When wearing such intelligent apparel, you cannot help but look smart.


A.Testoni » 877.837.8664, www.testoni.com
Belvest » 212.317.0460, www.belvest.com
Brioni » 888.778.8775, www.brioni.com
Canali » 212.767.0205, www.canali.it
Christian Roth » 212.244.4967, www.christian-roth.com
Claudia Ciuti » 888.312.4884, www.claudiaciuti.com
Costume National » www.costumenational.com
Dunhill » 212.753.9292, www.dunhill.com
Ermenegildo Zegna » 888.880.3462, www.zegna.com
Ernst Benz » 248.203.2323, www.ernstbenz.com
Etro » 212.317.9096, www.etro.it
Graff » 212.355.9292, www.graffdiamonds.com
Iwc » www.iwc.com; available at King Jewelers, 305.935.4900, www.kings1912.com
Jean-François Fichot » available at the Setai, 305.520.6005
Jil Sander » 212.838.6100, www.jilsander.com
J.M. Weston » 212.535.2100, www.jmweston.com
John Lobb » 212.888.9797, www.johnlobb.com
Judith Ripka » www.judithripka.com; available at King Jewelers, 305.935.4900, www.kings1912.com
Just Cavalli » www.robertocavalli.it; available at the Forum Shops
at Caesar’s Palace, 702.893.0369
Kai Kühne » www.kaikuhne.com; available at Seven New York, 646.654.0156
Kiton » www.kiton.it; available at Bergdorf Goodman, 212.339.3342
Lotus Arts De Vivre » www.lotusartsdevivre.com; available
at the Setai, 305.520.6005
Louis Vuitton » 866.884.8866, www.louisvuitton.com
Milus » 866.726.4587, www.milus.com
Missoni » 212.517.9339, www.missoni.com
Nanis » www.nanis.it; available at King Jewelers, 305.935.4900, www.kings1912.com
Robert Talbott » 800.747.8778, www.roberttalbott.com
Roberto Coin » www.robertocoin.com; available at
King Jewelers, 305.935.4900, www.kings1912.com
Salvatore Ferragamo » 800.628.8916, www.ferragamo.com
Samuel G etz » 305.448.4567, www.samuelgetz.com
Tutima » 310.378.7852, www.tutima.com
Van Cleef & Arpels » 800.822.5797,
Wehmeier’s Belt Shop » 888.525.2758, www.wehmeiers.com

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