This year, we went to Pitti with an open mind. New brands awaited. New collections! We saw much, and much that we saw was good. And as hard as it is to see thousands of vendors, let alone pick favorites from among them, we’ve narrowed our top picks down to just two brands – one streetwear, one classic menswear. Part of that is because in addition to looking great, being made to a high standard, and offering a compelling viewpoint in a saturated market, both of these brands have that something special – and by something special, we mean style.
Streetwear: De Bonne Facture
Although still a young brand, De Bonne Facture is no longer a newcomer. We visited their showroom last year, which you can read about here, and they’re now stocked in multiple countries, as well as across the US. Despite the modest growth (and despite LeBron apparently appearing at least once in the knitwear), De Bonne Facture remains married to two things: the first is Déborah’s (the designer) almost manic insistence on quality. I have to say, it’s almost distressing to examine a garment at Pitti and not see a single errant stitch or thread – but it speaks to the exacting standards to which the clothes are manufactured.
The second defining characteristic of De Bonne Facture is harder to quantify, and it’s also a big part of the reason we’ve selected it. Personally, I’m convinced it has something to do with Déborah herself. Arianna did mention her briefly, but she does have a strange magic about her. Part of me thinks that De Bonne Facture is so good primarily because Déborah wills it, in a Jedi kind of way – althou perhaps it’s as simple (and as socially complex) as having excellent taste. She’s unapologetic, and firmly herself, and the garments reflect both those traits. She also wears her own clothing most of the time, and tells me she’s frustrated when people ask if and when she’ll make a women’s collection. In her words, she already does – De Bonne Facture is not so much unisex in the way of early 00’s names like Rad Hourani, but rather almost sexless. The clothes are so successful simply as objects that they don’t require a clothes-hanger-thin model to show them off.
What’s certain is that Déborah has an eye for matching materials with garments. Everything feels right – all the pieces have an appropriate heft; you’re not thinking “If only” about any of the details. When you try on the coats, the pockets are wear they should be. The shoulders sit well. Similarly, the trousers are cut to go with shoes or sneakers. The accessories aren’t an afterthought so much as a well-considered finishing touch. Even the jeans, which in the past Déborah has told me they only made because “Everyone has to make a jean,” are dyed in natural indigo and cut with a slight carrot shape that fits perfectly with the silhouette echoed across the collection.
Speaking of the collection, there are a few new pieces that are absolute standouts. One is a robe coat done in a highly textured wool-blend, and as much as I’d love to take credit for inspiring said garment during our last visit, I admit that I’m not that influential. Either way, it’s beautiful, with a nice heft that makes it drape very nicely. The other piece is a suede varsity-style jacket lined in cream shearling which really has to be seen to be appreciated. Otherwise, you can expect high-quality knits (inspired by traditional shapes but well updated), comfortable trousers, and really (truly) nice shirts and even henleys.
Ultimately, De Bonne Facture is special in part because of the restraint the garments show. As usual, the clothes retain their classic, muted colors. Navy and camel have been joined by a light clay color that lends itself particularly well to outerwear. Everything is nicely textured without being overwrought, and the details that are included (such as a special loop, taken from an old military coat, that keeps the belt on the new robe coat in place) don’t feel extraneous or intrusive. They are, like Déborah herself, uncompromising, and I can’t wait to see how the brand grows.
Classic Menswear: Camoshita
Camoshita is, by this point, a household name on Styleforum. As is Yasuto Kamoshita, who – I swear – is, every single day, the best-dressed man at Pitti Uomo. The guy is a legend – there are plenty of men at Pitti Uomo who I would describe as “well-dressed,” but very few who are “elegant.” Yasuto Kamoshita is the latter.
So are his clothes. Camoshita, despite being something of a love letter to – simultaneously – Ivy style and the golden age of Hollywood, possesses an innate sense of playfulness that’s very modern. It’s tailored clothing that’s relaxed, not just in silhouette – Camoshita regularly plays with loose, comfortable shapes – but in style. For example, a knit wool hoody worn under a plaid field jacket and over a band-collar shirt looks perfectly at home next to a double-breasted suit.
I always look forward to seeing the Camoshita booth. And it’s not just because the clothes are nice, but that the experience of seeing them is so well thought out. Many brands at Pitti only have the space or inclination to present a rack of clothing for you to sift through. Camoshita, by contrast, is overrun with lovingly-styled displays of the clothing. I’m not even really a #menswear guy, and it’s menswear heaven. It was one of two brands – the other being Snow Peak – where Arianna was compelled to mention that we didn’t need a picture of every detail on every garment, and could we please go somewhere else now.
Unfortunately, the light inside the booth is still not the greatest for pictures, but we’ve tried to snap a few for you (by we, I mean Arianna), and perhaps you can at the very least get a sense of the silhouette – a loose, almost egg shape on top – primarily through the slightly oversized outerwear, and a slim but relaxed trouser on the bottom made up the bulk of the offerings. In particular, I appreciate that there’s no single decade that Camoshita presents, in the way that other brands have collections devoted to 90’s style, or 50’s-style suiting, or that sort of thing. Although you can look at the collection and see some reference points – is that Dick Tracy over there? – nothing is even remotely costumey, and everything has been elevated with pleasantly modern fits and finishes.
Again, it’s the ineffable that pushed Camoshita into our top pick. The way it all works seamlessly together, the way the fabrics and cuts are considered, even down to the way it’s styled – all in all, Camoshita is a collection in the truest (fashion) sense of the word. It stands alone, reliant only on itself and some good ol’ romance, and it sure as hell impresses.
Despite being, in many respects, drastically different, both Camoshita and De Bonne Facture share the same sense of being much more than the sum of their parts. That said, they’re also similar in that each part is beautiful in and of itself. They ooze style – not just in the way they look, but the way they feel and what they stand for. For now, feel free to tell us which of the two brands you’d rather wear every day – and if you visited Pitti, what you thought the standouts were.
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Calling Camoshita Classic extends the definition of
Classic to become a meaningless category.
How so? It’s already a largely meaningless category in menswear parlance, generally used (especially on Styleforum) to refer to any kind of tailored clothing.
Its not though, or rather it has become a meaningless category on internet forums due to the extension of the definition (which has happened on the forums). Calling any kind of tailored clothing classic menswear is akin to calling any car made 40-50 years ago a classic car. There is a framework of what constitutes what has historically been considered classic menswear, I will agree that it has become somewhat meaningless as now any outfit that includes a belt or tie is “classic” but that doesn’t mean that we should all take the same lazy approach to the subject.
I’ll have to disagree on a few fronts. First, this kind of marketing spin has existed since long before the internet. You can find plenty of brands pre-dating the late 90’s claiming to be “classic” or “authentic” in old print advertisements.
Second, in the particular case of Camoshita, “classic” is used to refer not only to the section of Styleforum (classic menswear) that Camoshita is most likely to appeal to, but to the fact that it’s a brand inspired by “classic” tailoring (1950’s and 60’s American style), and enamored with “classic” Italian touches and construction details. Furthermore, Camoshita is an outstanding example of a particular style and cultural mood – Japanese construction fused with an eye for American Ivy Style and an interest in Italian techniques. You’re free to take issue, but for our purposes Camoshita’s certainly classic.