By Dominique Emmen
Florence, Italy – This year’s theme at Pitti 95, “A Surprise Box” (filled with fashion’s latest innovations and trends) did not disappoint visitors to the fair, where there was an abundance of artisanal discoveries waiting to be found. With a set design curated by lifestyler Sergio Colantuoni, Fortezza da Basso was immersed in a variety of themed boxes — each one a vessel of a unique experience. One of the experiences we found most intriguing was at the Precious Box of the MAKE section.
The continuing ‘New Makers’ project by Pitti Immagine gives a new generation of artisans the possibility to share their innovative vision when it comes to craftsmanship, traditional processes and technological developments. In this section, seven countries were represented by 17 exhibitors that each brought their own expertise and contemporary twist to handmade items. One of the brands was Nosakhari London, the accessory brand known for its sleek and unisex designs. Other recurring brands were Bourrienne Paris X, Comme Les Loups and Guanabana Handmade that stood out in the “Cabinet of Curiosities” display designed by multidisciplinary artist Angelo Figus, who has also been the creative force behind Pitti Filati. Representing Italy, there was promising newcomer Cultero and hat brand Cappellificio Biellese:
CULTERO: LUXURY GONE WILD
After 10 years in Ibiza, the founder of Cultero, Ennio Airaghi, moved back to Milan, bringing a breezy, cool island vibe to the Italian footwear market in 2016. Crafted by the best Italian artisans, the different components of a Cultero shoe are only sourced through highly regarded companies in Italy.
The largest part of the production takes place in the same factory as Manolo Blahnik in Marche, the region known for its shoemaking savoir-faire and expert craftspeople. The shoe lasts are uniquely designed for Cultero in Vigevano, so each shoe has its own fit that makes them a bit more edgy over classic models. The leathers used for the uppers are from high-quality tanneries in Vicenza and Tuscany, and are prone to deliver vegetable tanned leathers as well. For the fabrics, Cultero collaborates with weaving companies in Como, famous for their textile manufacturing.
As for the shoe categories, Cultero reinvented the Spanish espadrilles, infusing them with an elegant and street-savvy character without sacrificing comfort. The subtle and playful details on the upper and sole of the slip-ons can be assigned to Ennio’s background in the graphic arts. However, having in mind the cold winter days, Cultero’s F/W 19 collection has extended its portfolio to loafers and ankle boots, available in different earth tones and leathers. Noteworthy is that these shoes are crafted using the Goodyear Welted method, an assembly process where the upper is sewn directly onto the midsole, without using nails or glue. Simultaneously, this is a slow sustainable process that guarantees a high flexibility and long durability of the footwear.
Cultero’s sartorial footwear is exclusively distributed in multichannel boutiques. Prices range between €150-€500 depending on model.
CB 1935: BRITISH TWEEDS, ITALIAN INTERPRETATION
Since 2013, the British series Peaky Blinders has influenced many men’s wardrobes, with tweed three-piece suits, overcoats and peaked caps aplenty. Cappellificio Biellese was surely a fan as they incorporated their own interpretation of the classic cap in their collection, named “The Peaky.”
Cappellificio Biellese started in 1935 in Biella, a small valley in Piemonte, where the production of hats was of great importance in that time. Nowadays, Biella is still famous for its textile production – wool mills from Zegna, Cerutti, Vitale Barberis Canonico and others can be found here. What’s interesting about CB 1935, is that despite being in this rich area of wool producers, they draw lots of inspiration from the British and Irish culture. Their brand portfolio consists of hats, caps and beanies that are interpretations of classic overseas models or reinventions of their own archive.
According to the brand, their aim is to incorporate classic British style and fabrics (e.g. tweeds) with handmade Italian craftsmanship and elegance. The result is a high-quality product that gives customers the excellence of both nations. One of the examples is the Cricket cap, which internal lining origins from Brunello S.p.A. and its fabrics from Vitale Barberis. Both companies are known for their excellence in suits and jackets and give the traditional English cap a luxury feel.
For their F/W 19 collection, Cappellificio has created a special limited edition in collaboration with Vitale Barberis. The wool mill shared 20 different types of characteristic fabrics, categorized by overcoat (winter mood), four ply (travel mood), flannel (business mood) and jacket (sport mood). Each of the categories has been matched by a model of the hat brand for their capsule collection; the Henry cap (flannel), Cougan cap (jacket), Peaky cap (four ply) and the County cap (overcoat). Though they are specialised in textiles, they also showcased a footwear project at Pitti, a prototype of a dialogue between leather and fabrics.
Besides having their collection available online (€60-€80), customers can also personalize their own hat, according to shape and fabric.