When Adam Kimmel was showcased at Pitti Uomo in Florence this January, he flew in a planeload of his art-world buddies from New York. They inspire him, just like he's currently inspired by the community that sprang up around Semina, an art-mail magazine created by Wallace Berman in California in the late fifties. The era has always sparked Kimmel's imagination, and the addition of the Semina-l influence worked wonders, animating his fall collection with the enduringly cool spirit of West Coast beats.
Kimmel took his silhouettes and fabrics from the clothes in the pages of Semina, but this was no mere retro resurrection. He wanted everything as soft as possible. There was cashmere everywhereeven in the corduroy. And when there wasn't cashmere, wools that looked rough were silky, as in a generous double-breasted herringbone coat that would have done Charlie Parker proud. Kimmel's signature jumpsuit reappeared in a cashmere/angora herringbone, a clear marker of how far the designer has come from the stolid working-man inspirations of his earliest collections. Even the pieces that harked back to those days were more than they seemed: a classic denim jacket was lined in cotton flannel; western shirts were double-lined for extra softness. Another Kimmel signature has always been repurposed industrial fabrics, but his new mastery of elegance (kudos to his Italian manufacturers) meant they were sleekly chic. Or at least the suit cut from army cotton was. A jumpsuit made from what looked like a mover's blanket was a bit more of a stretch. And a special mention for the leathers, another marker of this designer's fast and furious evolution.