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Collections —Man / Prêt-à-Porter

Fall / Winter — 1999

Press Release

“In styles of dress that change, none changes more than men’s… thanks to unforeseen attitudes and impulses, urges for freedom. It’s a highly variable mix compelling you, the designer, to express a sense of concreteness, a “raison d’être” in each individual item… which everybody then inflects and interprets on the basis of his own spirit, wholly personal will to fly.

At this point on the path, the designer must assume the task of coming up in almost an emblematic way – with the formulary of quality, naturalness, sophistication that arises from the conscious substance of fine taste. And so I worked according to this elementary, spontaneous – but certainly not minimal – spirit. Quite the contrary, I’d call it luxurious in that I applied the most advanced technologies to pure materials such as wool and cashmere, even cashmere felt pressed like hat felt.

I gave a feeling of energy to the formal characters of coat and jacket, reinforcing quilting, enhancing the structure in some points, lining the topcoat with a light goose down/thermal membrane layer. I made jeans (put through a protective treatment similar to the one used for motorcyclist suits) extra thick and firm. To suggest a sense of utmost ease calling forth the nature of the garment, of its volumes and elements. Ditto for other aspects of the collection, ranging from genuine to fake mink for linings, from nylon to seal for loose-fitting bombers. And while felt coats were prepared with traditional precision, coats in perfectly normal wool were, in contrast, cut with laser.

The comfort of an enveloping, semi-round eggshape is underlined, in my opinion, by the soft selection of colors: mist brown in combo with purple and grey, green with steel, classic camel and ivory with absolute black. But I also did a slimmer, more tailored line with narrow lapels and constructed shoulders accentuated by haircloth paddings. Cool and sleek nevertheless.

I feel that certain bents for narcissism have, in fact, been rendered meaningless by an inherent freedom of gestures. More than narcissistic today’s man is free, free to choose, to mix day and evening, to wear a T-shirt under the coat as a sign not of refinement but of uncouth joy. And even the breitschwanz on flannel loses every classic allusion, to simulate instead a messy drop of oil, a wild stroke of silicone…”

Gianfranco Ferré