At Pitti, Collaborations From Kimmel And Throup
Among the 1,000-plus exhibitors at the 79th edition of Pitti, which opened in Florence on Tuesday, were Adam Kimmel and Aitor Throup, two longtime Style.com favorites, both launching new collaborations with iconic heritage brands and both coming up trumps by creating gotta-have-it hybrids between past and future that will make next fall a better place to be.
Kimmel worked with Carhartt. (A first look from that collection is above.) In his case, that was a whole lotta history. The family-owned company has been dressing America’s working stiffs since 1889, which is the kind of durable blue-collar kudos that has ensured Carhartt’s coolness with skaters and snowboarders. In other words, Kimmel’s heroes when he was a kid. He himself got his first piece of Carhartt outerwear—synthetic duck, quilt lining, corduroy collar (they still make it)—when he was 10. His own take on the brand is, in fact, less a collaboration than a 29-piece Kimmel collection manufactured by Carhartt, so he is able, as he says, “to offer a product at an incredible price point” to an audience that may have craved his Italy-produced signature line without having the readies to buy it. That said, the Kimmel-Carhartt connection is umbilical. The designer has always been acutely sensitive to function in his clothes, and his silhouette has always been forgiving—he used to call it “an American cut,” as opposed to Euro skinny-minnie. Still, he’s trimmed some of the Carhartt bulk. The stiffness is gone, too. In fact, to wear these clothes is to love them. A worker’s jacket in an almost luminous indigo moleskin was softer than velvet. A substantial parka/jean jacket hybrid (2-in-1 pieces are a Kimmel signature) was much lighter on the body than on the hanger. Such user-friendliness will win hearts, minds, and dollars when Kimmel/Carhartt shows up at Barneys later in the year. (Barneys’ Jay Bell brokered the relationship, so the store has an exclusive.)
Barneys is also where you’ll find Aitor Throup’s latest collaboration with sportswear giant Umbro (above). Last year, he remodeled the English football team’s uniform for its ill-fated World Cup appearance in South Africa. Now, he’s revisiting ten iconic pieces from Umbro’s archives (for example, the jacket worn by manager Alf Ramsay in 1966, the year England won the Cup). Throup is obsessive in his research. There’s at least two years’ worth in this new venture (it’s actually called Archive Research Project), and there aren’t many designers who could match Throup’s understanding of the way an athlete’s body moves in clothing. He refers to it as “data informing design,” which, techspeak aside, produces garments that follow and flatter the human form as elegantly and effectively as the finest bespoke tailoring. Throup is quick to point out that when Umbro launched in 1924, footballers’ uniforms were tailor-made. In restoring the essence of that tradition, he’s guaranteeing that sportswear will never be the same.