After a solid 15-year career in fashion, during which he's worked for labels as diverse as Lacroix and Blass, Lars Nilsson has landed himself the big job of filling the big man's shoes at Gianfranco Ferré. Which means, for the first time, he's designing a proper menswear collection. Nilsson opted for the quieter option of a presentation rather than a full-scale show, but in the hands of master set decorator Michael Howells, the tableaux highlighting the clothes were anything but low-key. Howells re-created the atmosphere of the famous 1930s Maison de Verre in Parisenormous photos by Grant Delin lining the walls evoked the limpid male glamour of Horst's portraits from the same periodwhich served to enhance the discreet luxury of Nilsson's proposals for fall.
Nilsson has always had his own clothes made by a tailor, so he was keen to incorporate that experience, working with a handful of the most classic masculine elementscamel, navy, chalk-stripe, gray flannel, glen plaidand a couple of silhouettes (one softly fitted, the other with a broad shoulder and a flared pant leg). The emphasis was on lightness of construction, which felt like the right move for a house that, under Gianfranco himself, was famous for its architectural weightiness. But Nilsson is as obsessed with detailing as Ferré was, pointing out the working buttonholes on a jacket sleeve, or proudly pulling open a mac to show its properly fused seams. This first collection layered tones and texturesa glen plaid suit paired with a shirt and tie in the same grayfor a subtle richness. That's why a pair of poured-on leather pants struck a bum notehow did Steven Tyler get in here? As an honorable mention, the superb shoes, handmade in Naples, were one more reminder that men's footwear is having one hell of a moment.