I have bitched and moaned for several years about how the Italian style scene, increasingly dominated by big brand names, had moved away from its heritage, chasing fashion and bling, and increasingly manufacturing outside Italy.
It has made it hard for us to find the kind of clothes that we know our customers want; and it led to us launching the Sfera collection to – very successfully – fill the void.
However, I’m very happy to see that there is a real sign that some of the names that didn’t sell out to the big brands are increasingly allowing their soul to start to show through again.
Italy seems to be returning to what it was always known for – fine fabrics, fine tailoring, with that special edginess in the cut; and this season a lot of research and time has been put into the fabrics, the trimmings and the general design of the garment.
There is also a really optimistic feel to their collections for next season (which I’ve been buying over the past weeks) because they were returning to what they knew best.
Most reassuringly, they tell me that the change is driven by demand. Women are, they say, fed up with cheap and cheaply made clothes – they know they don’t look good in them; and now – above all – they want to feel good and look fabulous.
Even the magazines are being educated that it’s not just about clothes for 20 year olds any more. There have been a number of articles recently suggesting that big brands are passé – that women don’t want disposable branded clothes anymore – that they are increasingly buying just one or two really good pieces each season.
So what can you expect for the coming season?
The look is simple and minimal but the cut isn’t – the experience of the designers that we stock have really used all their expertise in putting together clothes that are quite special – an extra dart here – an extra seam there that makes the garment fit superbly.
There are lots of lovely luxury fabrics and an interesting colour palette which focuses a lot around greys, browns and grape colours, all of which, unless they are in good fabrics, can look hard against skin; but once you put them in the more luxurious fabrics they become really glamourous. I’ve honestly never heard so many ‘ooh’s and ‘aah’s as from Stylists at Wardrobe as they’ve opened boxes as stock has come in over the past few weeks.
What’s also interesting is that the styles span the generations – we’re finding that 30 year old and 50 year olds can wear same things, just differently accessorised. I see this as a sign of true luxury in the clothes.
I really hope the trend continues so we’re not the only people doing it.