Jun 19, 2023
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Out and about in Milan: Corneliani, Brett Johnson and Maccapani

Jun 19, 2023

No city does as many swish presentations as Milan, and with such diverse offerings. FashionNetwork.com caught up with three - Corneliani, Brett Johnson and Maccapani – building real momentum.

Corneliani: The Big Easy

Corneliani is back. The best example of approachable, gent tailoring in Italy, Corneliani has spruced up its silhouette, refreshened its fabrics and eased up the cut.

Corneliani spring/summer 2024 - Corneliani

A great example of The Big Easy currently overtaking Italian tailoring and one sure to win this marque many new fans. 
On Monday, it opens a store in the most happening department store in Europe. That is Selfridges, by the way. On Saturday, it presented spring/summer 2024 in the noble Palazzo Durini, with a great installation and a famed DJ, Gilles Peterson.

Though the clothes were the biggest news. In the past seasons they collaborated with Paul Surridge. This season they developed a new project 'Circle' – and added the term to all their labels. The debut collab’ with Circle is with two architects from Paris – Gaëlle Gabillet and Stéphane Villard, who created a circular wall of marbleized paper. Their firm GGSV has worked on the Pompidou Center and for Hermès.
The results were on display inside this cone. A new finely tweak approached, starring a series of great double-breasted jackets in hefty linen, and 'solaro' or sunny, iridescent green Prince of Wales. Corneliani even showed oversized eco-sustainable 360-gram linen jackets worn over light wool jackets and poplin shirt. 
“It’s a totally different feel, much more modern since everyone wants more comfort today. We worked very carefully to add a centimeter here and there,” insisted Stefano Grazioso Tramonti, GM and style director of Corneliani.
The Circle also came with sustainable designs featuring lots of organic wool – seen in fluid new double-breasted jackets and fluid dusters that were very flattering. 
Based in Mantua, the famed Renaissance hometown of the noble Gonzaga family, Corneliani has gone through some tough times. Since 2016, Corneliani has been owned by Investcorp.  The brand was in deep crisis and even entered the Italian equivalent of Chapter 11, but now looks happily poised to grow rapidly. 
Annual sales plummeted to €36 million during the pandemic but shot back to €62 million last year.
“We are a wholesale driven brand with about 1,000 accounts. Our rivals like Loro Piana or Zegna are retail driven and sometimes twice the price,” GM Stefano noted.
“Now, we are growing 35% per season. Aiming to finish this year at €80 million and want to go back to €120 million,” he stressed.

Brett Johnson: Italian chic from a Washingtonian designer

Success in fashion often boils down to hitting the sweet-spot and one house that seems well on target is Brett Johnson.

Brett Johnson Spring/Summer 2024 - Brett Johnson

Though he lives outside of Washington DC, Brett’s clothes have all the polish of the Italian peninsula rather than the pushy politics of the U.S. capital.
Not surprisingly, because Brett Johnson apparel is all produced in Italy, and feels right in sync with the huge current wave of youthful elegance.
His fabrics are contemporary too – from his super linen and silk mix suits, blazers and drawstring pants, with subtle iridescence, to the supremely well finished baby cashmere knits. Sea Island cottons led to fine jerseys, while a blend of hemp, cashmere and silk made for cool windcheater. Shirt jackets in two-tone baby cashmere had great charm. Tropical wool jerkins are water resistant and joggers are made in fine linen.
“My starting point was a vacation in La Ramatuelle last September. It was our first real trip as a family, Covid babies. And it was my birthday too – so it deep meaning for me,” explained Brett, a dad of two young kids, with another on the way.
“So, the sea blues and the whites came from nautical theme; the yellows from the sun; the violets from the flowers and greens from the sea. The landscape was so inspiring,” beamed Brett in memory.
Karl Lagerfeld, who spent many blissful summer vacations at La Ramatuelle would surely have approved. Doubly so, as the location also inspired a debut cologne based on Oud.
Johnson began in footwear and then developed outerwear before making a complete men’s wardrobe. All the way to a blue deerskin luxury luggage trio; of wheelie, back-pack and weekender.
“I’d say our DNA is classic, chic sophisticated and elegant. I felt like there is something missing in the luxury sector. There are a lot of heritage brands, but nothing that balanced classics with contemporary. Making older guys a little more youthful and younger guys a little more polished,” he argued.
Brett plans to open a store in London next year and added a second in either Milan or Dubai.  Priced at 30% below brands like Brunello Cucinelli, Zegna and Loro Piana, Brett Johnson might be just to really take off. Its sweet spot seems very sweet.

Maccapani on the move

In among all the men’s fashion, it was refreshing to witness an impressive debut by Maccapani, the fledgling marque of Margherita Maccapani, the brainy Italian It Gal and scion of the Missoni family.

Maccapani spring/summer 2024 - Maccapani

Better known as Margherita Missoni, her new brand house of Maccapani marks a major step for the designer, albeit one that is very in tune with her own aesthetic.
“Maccapani is my true self. I got an old photo of an old travelling bag dating back to the 60s when my grandad had a travel agency. And I thought that’s what I want to communicate. A girl ready for everything,” explained Margherita.
Presented in the hipster Navigli neighborhood, inside a multi-level installation, the models typed on old Apple Mac, admired themselves in mirrors, and generally emoted. 
A blend of body-con cocktails, halter neck tops and saucy dressing gown/dresses often in orchid prints, the collection captures Margherita’s own sense of understated sexiness. Made also in knits and including a great fiery paisley off-the-shoulder dress trimmed in upcycled floral chiffon, like the one Margherita wore herself.
“The idea is a wardrobe that can dress a woman from morning to evening. Close to the body, but always comfortably so. I do that by using only jersey. Sexy, but never sloppy, cheap or unfeminine,” said Margherita. 
Launched with 40 SKUs, this mid-season collection is carefully priced, with an average price point of €410. With maximum dress price at €750, T-shirts at €110. Made mainly by Gilmar, a vital Italian manufacturer to guarantee quality.
Produced by her dad Marco, the whole event felt right, all the way to the retro computers, bronze modernist statues, DJ Iokoi and delicious non-alcoholic gin cocktails. Along with a courtyard bedecked in huge rolls of lilac satin, draped over one car, again featuring the Maccapani logo.
In a word, Maccapani is on the move.

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