According to artistic director Jason Basmajian, Brioni, one of the Italian suit makers of record, has shaved 15 years off of its demographic. Under Basmajian, the house is headed in a more youthful—though no less luxe—direction. It's no less tailored, either. "We still believe in the three-piece," Basmajian said. Faith in the suit is one of the big stories in Milan this season, but Brioni is no fair-weather friend. They've been making them for generations.
The youth comes in courtesy of slimmer, shorter cuts that hew closer to the body, and lighter constructions and fabrics. (Despite the Fall season, many of the jackets are unlined.) The original Brioni man might not have dreamed of wearing one of his suits with a denim shirt and a knit tie, but the new one would. There are topcoats and car coats the old fellow would recognize, and a new one, the jewel-toned Foglia coat in deep purple double-faced cashmere, that maybe he wouldn't. Brioni is betting that if you build it right—right to the tune of 5,000 hand stitches per jacket, 80 percent of them hidden invisibly on the inside—they will come. When you're talking about a sporty suede hooded parka fully lined in mink, that pilgrimage starts to look like a trip to Lourdes.
But luxury has a way of curdling if it's worn without some levity. Brioni addressed the fact head-on with a presentation starring both models and real men, chatting, playing poker, hanging out. They included a handful of Italian businessmen, the spirits heir and perfume-maker Kilian Hennessy, and Vegard Vik, chief of special services for the Oslo police.