Brioni F/W 2016

Fashion’s new tailoring model

Last June, designer Brendan Mullane took a train ride through the Swiss Alps, ending up under the Matterhorn, and the sense of expanse and spiritual connection to nature was palpable in his latest show for Brioni.

Presented before an enormous video display of Alpine forests, deep snowdrifts and painterly mountains, the collection snappily connected rugged winter wear with polished tailoring.

A new item in the tailoring world: the tunic for men Brioni
A new item in the tailoring world: the tunic for men

In a novel approach, the Irish designer invented a whole new accessory – a composite of detachable fur rimmed hood, stole and medieval breastplate. Made in cashmere and herringbone wool it topped a quartet of looks; adding a quirky nobility.

Becoming a bit of a Brioni signature: the patch pocket
Becoming a bit of a Brioni signature: the patch pocket

Linear double-breasted suits cut with curving pants were anchored by tough chic hiking boots, made in and admirably edited selection of great Prince of Wales or stony gray cashmeres. Bold Chesterfields or windowpane check topcoats had just the right silhouette, flattering yet falling away from the torso. He kicked in a neat dose of experimentation – suede patch pockets on sleek gray blazers and a series of the item of the Milan season – the V-neck tunic.

“I wanted a little bit of mystery and sensitivity and not just power suits. That and a little Joseph Beuys,” said Mullane, referring to the natty pork pie hats – a favorite of the conceptual artist.

Godfrey Deeny Brioni
Godfrey Deeny and Brioni designer Brendan Mullane

Mullane has been on a slow build at Brioni; his four presentations and two previous shows had showed plenty of ideas though it always felt like a designer carefully finding the right groove in a house too mired in traditional tailoring. Tonight he made a great fashion statement, an affirmation of his mastery of this storied Italian institution.

The detachable hood with breastplate, another novelty Brioni
The detachable hood with breastplate, another novelty