The best new thing I saw at Pitti is Officine Generale, a collection that was actually launched last January. Sure, that doesn’t technically make it brand new (the SS13 collection, though, is just landing at H.W. Carter & Sons in Brooklyn, Unionmade in S.F. + more), but when thinking of clothing brands, the second season is still technically new, especially by Pitti’s standards, where things tend to move very slowly and deliberately, much like a Neapolitan dinner. In the end, Pitti’s predictability is actually what makes the show charming. Yet, it’s those unexpected discoveries, like the classic French styling of Officine Generale, that keep us coming back to Florence twice a year (the bistecca fiorentina doesn’t hurt either).
The collection is inspired by military clothing and classic tailoring, and takes elements from both without going crazy. My feeling: a little goes a long way. This collection is positioned perfectly for anyone who wants to dress comfortably and stylishly without screaming where he comes from. Wearing these clothes, you could go anywhere and be from anywhere. Options are not limited. It’s a concept that’s easy for me to embrace. Options are good.
Pierre Mahéo, the man behind Officine Generale, appreciates how powerful such influences can be, and he chooses (thankfully) to tread lightly. The result is a collection of simple, classic and highly wearable pieces. It’s basically everything I could possibly want in a collection—subtle design, nice fabrics, quality construction in an interesting color palette. He doesn’t go crazy with the military references either. The collection — entirely made in France, Italy and Portugal — is sort of A.P.C. meets Todd Snyder meets Mister Freedom. These items are made well and last for a long time, an important aspect for clothing that’s not going out of style anytime soon. [Officine Generale]