Seeing photos of the Barena collection doesn’t really do it any justice. It’s best enjoyed in person. At Pitti I consistently walk away from the Barena booth saying to myself: “Barena is my favorite thing at the show”. That is not hyperbole, I really mean it. Barena encapsulates the Italian art of looking smartly dressed and remaining utterly casual. It’s something that is often overlooked or under appreciated on these American shores. It really is a good concept though; look as dressed up as possible and feel as dressed down as possible. Who could not like that?
Founded in 1961 and based near Venice, Barena has a long history of making great clothing. It is only recently, under the creative direction of Francesca Zara, that the collection truly come into its own. To me Barena draws a parallel to one of my other favorite Italian brands: Slowear. Both should be talked about more, both should be sold in more stores and both should be on the backs of more men. With both now available in New York at Barney’s, at least they are obtainable to a degree. It’s a start.
Much like its ability to be properly dressed and at the same time comfortably casual, Barena balances the art of being humble and outstanding. Very few can lay claim to those traits, and even less can do it while looking as good as Barena does.