Ports is moving to Milan. The label has been showing menswear in the
city where its clothes are made for seasons now, and for Spring, its
womenswear will follow suit. A few girls wearing Ports' Resort
collection joined the ragazzi on the runway to give a preview.
Backstage, Fiona Cibani was enthusing about her decision to head for
Italy. It was even reflected in the theme of the collection, the secret
garden. Milan is famous for the beauty hidden behind its gray walls. The
print she created with a local Milanese artist, an abstracted floral,
was the most literal example. But the brilliantly colored collection,
with passages of goldenrod, petal pink, celadon, and purple, all kept up
the blooming theme. "Spring is definitely about color, and the energy
that color brings," her menswear designer, Ian Hylton, added.
Between the colors selected and the emphasis on trapeze shapes, with
high-closing smock tops and oversized cabans, the collection sometimes
felt too feminine for the tailored look Ports has been favoring since
its reboot. Fabrics like shantung and silk/nylon didn't help. But the
fact that Milan is an old boys' club for suiting doesn't mean all of its
suits need to be for old boys. Will the Ports man wear saffron shantung
single-breasted? "In part or in whole," said Hylton confidently. "The
Ports man has evolved." How far is debatable, but the craft in this
accomplished collection isn't.