In movies, a good editor can make the difference between a tightly paced, streamlined delight and a superfluous, disjointed hodgepodge. According to Santoni, the Italian purveyor of luxurious leather goods that has been designing handcrafted shoes since 1975, the same premise can apply to a fashion collection. Case in point, Santoni Edited by Marco Zanini, a concise line of men and women’s apparel and accessories not so much designed as curated by Italian fashion designer Marco Zanini. For his first ready-to-wear for Fall/Winter 2017, billed as a selection of items rather than a clothing collection, Zanini tiptoes between the classic and the cool by combining simple, exacting lines and subtle tailoring with unexpected details, sumptuous fabrics and an artistic sense of colour.
The motivation behind Santoni Edited is twofold, to emulate Santoni’s impeccable craftsmanship and inventive sophistication from shoe- to garment-making, and to transcend the fickle cycles of fashion trends in favour of a timeless yet timely collection. Similarly to a pair of quality leather brogues or lace-up boots which you keep wearing long after you buy them, Zanini’s intention is to create “fashion-free” items that have no expiration date. That does not mean though that his designs are bland or mundane, on the contrary, they may be subdued, but they embody a radical luxury and emit a modern vibe that makes them familiar yet unexpected and thus highly covetable.
The Fall/Winter 2017 collection, which is focused on outerwear accompanied by a small selection of knitwear, small accessories, shoes and bags, is in essence a selection of staples, in other words classic items that everybody should have in their closet, re-edited in fabrics, colors and details by Zanini’s keen eye. Classics such as double-breasted coats, pea coats and raincoats are rendered in sumptuous materials like alpaca, camelhair or Japanese wools, crew neck cashmere pullovers sport exclusive prints and textures in exuberant colors like cornflower blue, pink and lime, while beaver fur coats are lined with feather down polyester vests. This editing approach not only bestows versatility and flexibility but also allows (over time) for the collection to be further expanded, modified and refined. Moreover, with a material palette of rich, tactile fabrics like wool-silk, silk-viscose, treated shearling and breitschwanz, and a penchant for meticulous detailing like leather patches and mink trims, every item is a treat to both look at and touch.
The collection is showcased through the evocative images by London-based photography duo Tim Hill & James Finnigan, a.k.a. Hill & Aubrey - not the first time Santoni has collaborated with a talented photographer in order to spin a tale. Using Milan as both a backdrop and subject, the photographers have eschewed tourist sites, postcard-like vistas and famous monuments, choosing instead to capture the urban fabric through the inquisitive lens of a flâneur. From unassuming building details to furtive glimpses of the city, the exterior images, shot under overcast skies and devoid of commuters and traffic, are modern yet atemporal, stern yet intricate, much like Santoni Edited’s sensibility.
There is a melancholy intermingling with nostalgia in these images that is also present in the interior shots, courtesy of the mid-century apartment décor and the brooding mien of the two models. The couple, as much brother and sister as lovers or friends, is photographed, both together and separately, not really posing but rather lingering as they stand unpretentiously, sit pensively or recline stoically in their cashmere pullovers, wool cardigans and quilted silk jackets, nonchalantly paired with shorts or negligees. In this sense, Hill & Aubrey’s soulful photographs, which underpin both the campaign and a limited edition photo book, perfectly encapsulate Santoni Edited’s defining values of truth, honesty and utility as well as Zanini’s call for slowness and attention for “fashion that is less volatile and superficial”.