Aldo Maria Camillo’s stunning sartorial signature debut
Fashion designers, being ultimately artists, rarely have straight-line careers - one reason for the huge applause that greeted the culmination of the debut show of Aldo Maria Camillo in Florence on Thursday evening.
Camillo, a highly popular figure in the industry, has held several key positions in menswear this decade – from designer of Cerruti to right hand man of Haider Ackermann in his brief tenure at Berluti. But, at both houses, circumstance ruled that Aldo was not allowed to achieve his full potential.
Tonight at Pitti, however, with his signature collection debut at Pitti, Camillo staged a great show of highly accomplished tailoring, ideal attitude and uncanny self-editing.
The audience of some 500 was willing Camillo on this evening, and the auspices were good from the opening second. In a brilliant piece of staging, courtesy of producer Thierry Dreyfus deep inside the former railway station, Stazione Leopolda, an electric blue light suddenly illuminated a glass elevator and the first couple descended two floors and walked out of the lift into this co-ed show.
An ideal couple – a Eurasian guy and Botticelli gal – walking in matching looks: perfectly cut, heroic army greatcoats; v-neck white t-shirts, flawless, gray flat front pants and chunky Chelsea boots. Simple but uber effective, the pair looked so in control.
Above all, it was a great statement of modern tailoring – riffing on elements of Helmut Lang (yards of moleskin, Lang’s fetish fabric) and Martin Margiela (unexpected fabric combinations like leopard and leather, and uncanny volumes). Yet, all of it felt very much in Camillo’s own vernacular.
He followed his openers with Langian suits of hipster pants and two button jackets; loosely cut redingotes; divine anthracite double-breasted jackets and forgiving moleskins pea coats.
A masterly self-editor, Camillo also injected in some wildcat print elements. Cheetah chic combos of pants and vests. The key message, however, was that these were clothes than thousands of cool guys will want to wear. So, when he took his bow almost shyly at the finale, the huge outpouring of cheers felt like a consecration.
“I have been working on this for several years. I auto-financed the collection, though Pitti made a major contribution. I wanted to start from sartorial and move to casual outerwear. Working on construction – a question of millimetres that you only appreciate when you put on your coat. Fashion without the need for decoration,” said the designer.
Produced in the best Italian factories; and made in contrasting Italian cottons and British wools; refinement meeting rough; tough tailoring encountering sensitive styling – in a palette of browns, ebony and anthracite.
He may have had a topsy-turvy career – through no fault of his own – but this evening in the capital of the Renaissance, Aldo Maria Camillo had a major triumph.
“Aldo really needed a win tonight and he got one, a big one. Clothes that people really make men look great,” commented Linda Loppa, former director of both Polimoda, Florence’s fashion college, and of the Antwerp’s fashion college, and thus continental Europe’s foremost fashion educator.
A wise judgment, and one universally shared in Florence tonight.
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