Through The Looking Glass

  • Vintage Vanguard
  • Dynamic Donegals
  • Double Time
  • Formal Invitation
  • Bones to Pick
  • State of the Art.
<< Back to Robb Report, September 2003
  • William Kissel

This fall, fashion reflects on its past and discovers that many of the style tenets defined over the last century are still relevant, if not more so, in the modern world. On the surface, fall’s most important pieces may mirror vintage classics, but take a closer look. The new suit, inspired by the form-fitting models tailored in Naples in the 1930s, has been cut for trimmer, athletic bodies and cut from wools too fine to be imagined decades ago. Slouchy, scratchy wool sweaters and smocklike jackets worn by artists such as Picasso and Matisse are now knitted from sumptuous, superfine merino wools, donegal tweed cashmere, and baby camel. Meanwhile, double-breasted suits, a look popularized at the turn of the last century, seek to make a long-promised comeback with an unconstructed, soft-shouldered variation made of superfine wool that is half the weight of the original English pinstripes and authentic Scottish plaids. With the soft touch of modern technology, menswear’s history is worth repeating.

The New Suit
The classic Neapolitan silhouette is reinterpreted with a leaner, more modern fit. On him: Cesare Attolini cashmere herringbone S model suit, $4,200, and Domenico Vacca striped shirt, $320, both at Domenico Vacca; Hermès silk tie, $120; A. Testoni shoes, $455. On her: Bill Blass wool herringbone coat, sweater, and skirt, all made to order; Jimmy Choo moiré shoes, $995; Vhernier Plateau ring, $4,600; Wolford stockings, $40

Vintage Vanguard
Classic tennis sweaters, fancy argyle cardigans, and fine-gauge pullovers evoke a sense of nostalgia for fashion’s golden age. On him: Borrelli striped cashmere sweater, $495, and plaid trousers, $355; Paul Stuart scarf, $224; Barrett calfskin ankle boot, $575. On her: Brunello Cucinelli cashmere tweed cardigan, $1,500; Gianluca Isaia turtleneck, $795; Chado Ralph Rucci wool skirt; Ellagem Tahitian pearl earrings, $5,000; Tamara Comolli Tahitian pearl necklace, $25,700; Jimmy Choo printed leather boots, $1,150; A. Testoni handbag, $930; Hermès scarf, $315; Wolford tights, $40

Dynamic Donegals
The speckled tweed named for the northernmost county in Ireland is updated with softer, finer yarn and more evenly distributed flecks of color. On him: Corneliani wool herringbone sport coat, $1,195, and cotton shirt, $170; Luciano Barbera wool trousers, $495; Paul Stuart silk ascot, $98.50, and ostrich belt, $287; Ermenegildo Zegna Napoli Couture shoes, $495; Hermès silk pocket square, $110. On her: Chado Ralph Rucci lamé denim skirt, cashmere jersey mock turtleneck, and cashmere stole; Roberto Coin earrings, $3,170; Bulgari b.zero1 ring, $1,050, and mother of pearl and gold ring, $2,100; St. John ostrich boots

Double Time
The double-breasted suit has been reincarnated in a softer silhouette and rendered in superfine wools and cashmere blends for a thoroughly modern lightness of being. Pal Zileri wool pin-striped suit, $3,900, cotton shirt, $245, silk pocket square, $30, and ankle boots, $295; Massimo Bizzocchi silk tie, $125  

Formal Invitation
When it comes to formalwear, it is difficult to improve upon the classics: a black single-button tuxedo with a peaked lapel or a black dinner jacket with a shawl collar. On him: Brioni three-piece tuxedo, $5,400, shirt, $520, and bow tie; A. Testoni shoes, $780; Paul Stuart silk pocket square, $39. On her: Carmen Marc Valvo beaded evening gown, $2,490; LaCrasia gloves; Aaron Basha diamond earrings, $38,000; Cellini platinum and diamond necklace, $23,400; Piaget diamond watch, $69,000; Erica Courtney Tiara bracelet, $20,000

Bones to Pick
The season’s popular herringbone weaves have been given the soft touch of woven cashmere and superfine wool blends. On him: Brioni herringbone overcoat, $6,200; Canali double-breasted cashmere suit, $2,495; Corneliani wool shirt, $170; Hermès silk scarf, $110; Paul Stuart crocodile belt, $247; A. Testoni shoes, $455. On her: Kiton cashmere herringbone coat with chinchilla collar, $8,500; Hermès cashmere pullover, $810; Gunex wool trousers, $191; Escada fox fur hat and handbag; A. Testoni fur-trimmed pumps, $375; Tamara Comolli gold ear clips, $1,800; Vhernier stackable gold rings, $2,600 

State of the Art.
The relaxed, unstructured clothing worn by artists such as Matisse, Picasso, and Monet provided the inspiration for fluid smocklike knits and jackets in airy blends of mohair, alpaca, and cashmere. On him: Avon Celli merino wool cardigan/jacket, $850, and merino wool mock turtleneck sweater, $270; Luciano Barbera wool trousers, $495; Brunello Cucinelli cashmere scarf, $415. On her: Chado Ralph Rucci mélange wool jersey dress; David Yurman gold necklace, $2,550; Bulgari b.zero1 bracelet, $5,900; Hermès shoes, $700; Rivamonti beret, $51; YSL tights, $35  

A. Testoni, 212.223.0909; Aaron Basha, 212.935.1960; Arnys/Paris, +; Asprey, 800.883.2777; Avon Celli, 212.702.0136; Barrett, 212.713.0051; Bill Blass, 212.221.6660; Borrelli,212.644.9610; Brioni, 212.332.6900; Brunello Cucinelli, 212.750.2990; Bulgari, 212.315.9000; Canali, 212.767.0205;Carmen Marc Valvo, 888.422.7636; Cellini, 800.235.5464; Chado Ralph Rucci, 212.819.9066; Corneliani, 800.222.9477; David Yurman, 877.226.1400; Domenico Vacca, 212.759.6333; Ellagem, 212.398.0101; Erica Courtney, 323.938.2373; Ermenegildo Zegna Napoli Couture, 888.880.3462; Escada, 212.755.2200; Gianluca Isaia, 888.996.7555; Gunex, 212.750.2990; Hermès, 800.441.4488; Jimmy Choo, 866.524.6687; Kiton at Stanley Korshak, 800.972.5959; LaCrasia, 212.695.0347; Louis Vuitton, 866.884.8866; Luciano Barbera, 212.315.9500; Massimo Bizzocchi, 212.702.0136; Pal Zileri, 212.751.8585; Paul Stuart, 212.682.0320; Piaget, 800.359.4538; Rivamonti, 212.750.2990; Roberto Coin, 800.853.5958; St. John, 877.755.8463; Tamara Comolli, 866.266.6554; Vhernier, 212.570.6065; Wolford, 212.453.5556; YSL, 212.517.7400

Stylist: Nikko @ Cloutier
Hair: Elizabeth Morache for TWI-NYC
Make-up: Konstanze Zeller @ Stockland
Martel Models: Ariel at Code, Tom at Q, Mieke at Q, and AJ at Elite

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