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Picking apart Pal Zileri’s autumn-winter collection

Italian menswear designer Pal Zileri explores the concept of ‘avant-craft’ with its sleek autumn-winter 2016 collection

For the opening of the luxury menwear brand’s new Milan headquarters, Pal Zileri immersed viewers in a video art experience inspired by the ‘Camera Obscura’ technique from the Renaissance, as they explain, ‘[to stitch] the artisanal Veneto origins of Pal Zileri to its new position at the leading edge of sartorial technology’.


Indeed, ‘avant-craft’ is the term coined for the brand philosophy which has underscored the Italian label’s recent creative showings, bringing to international catwalks an innovative take on sartorial standards, with contemporary sensibilities, proportions and techniques executed by the hands of Italian craftsmen. It’s a look inspired by Italian tradition and given definition by a transcendent modern edge.

The aesthetic expression of this outlook is evident in the silhouettes of Pal Zileri’s winter range. Proportions are classical yet updated. Jackets are shorter with narrow, supple lapels, and pants are straight-legged. Overall, there is sense of tasteful restraint, along a spectrum from the more generous volumes of outerwear to the sleek and figure-hugging formal wear.


A closer look at the finer details reveals how even the fabrics selected are given the ‘avant-craft’ treatment. Drawing on inspiration from the archives of Pal Zileri’s parent company Gruppo Forall, each motif has been reinterpreted and restructured. Houndstooth and Prince of Wales patterns, as well as other geometric designs are presented as prints and jacquards. Each element is presented with a discreet contemporary sensibility. Modern alchemic layering blends the finest yarns – alpaca, cashmere, superfine wool, silk wool blends, mohair, angora – and man-made fibres. Leather outerwear is structured yet wonderfully soft.


Contrast is as stylish as ever, with biker jackets with prominent zips worn with tailored white shirts, while T-shirts are worn with formal wear.

As motivated by Pal Zileri, these ‘contrasts transcend the traditional boundaries of menswear to respond to the needs of the contemporary sophisticated man.’ This is the spirit of avant-craft.


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