Brioni S/S 2016

From Plaids to Mads

In a season of plaids in Milan, the most intriguing were by Brioni, though perhaps that’s because the idea behind them came from Murano glass and not the Heart of Midlothian.

Created by hand via an idea taken from Venetian glass techniques, the broken pattern and dreamily faded hues of these tartans made for some wonderful clothes. From nylon windbreakers or parkas to superb silk shirts, driven man about town suits and kindly cut cashmere cardigans – they all looked great. That subtle sense of decoration was apparent too in strictly cut suits with graphic gold and silver strips.

Murano meets Brioni
Murano meets Brioni

“My real source of inspiration was Carlo Scarpa. His Venetian designs have always influenced me,” explained Brioni’s designer Brendan Mullane about the ensemble. Staged before a fantastic dark gray structure, also streaked with metallic hues, this was a very modernist statement for such a traditional label as Brioni. This past half-decade has witnessed enormous investment in venerable men’s brands by luxury groups and hedge funds in the belief that we were entering an era of rapid growth for men’s luxury. Brioni, which was acquired by the massive French luxury conglomerate Kering is part of that whole trend. However, while this has led to some very intriguing shows, ad campaigns and accessories – a new luxe with an edge, the jury is still out on this whole phenomena as a business project. Injecting a huge dose of fashion into a sleeping house can be fascinating viewing.

Amazing suit, shirt and sandals, this looks like the future of tailoring

Take Brioni, where Mullane has shown some great clothes in highly original sets. The Anglo-Irishman has also riskily teamed up with famed fashion art photographer Collier Schorr, shooting a series of LA artists in Brioni. Though try as we might, the link between those Californian figures and existing, or even potential, Brioni consumers is not all that evident.

Mads and Brendan at Brioni
Mads and Brendan

One could not, however, fault the choice of new brand ambassador. Mullane staged something of a coup by hiring Scandinavian’s most famous living actor Mads Mikkelsen. Who showed up to enjoy a well deserved glass, or two. Nor could one complain about the quirky fashionable party. Chamber music torch song sextet Rhye playing in a deconsecrated church crammed with stunning frescoes and acres of marble inlay.