The pandemic has boosted sales and revenues of fashion companies rather consistently, which seems counterintuitive. “We’ve grown 32%,” said Kiton’s CEO Antonio De Matteis at the label’s presentation. “People have a desire for dressing well, they want to enjoy life, they want to go on. We’ve never stopped, and people respond to resilience.” But beyond showing the courage to be on the front line keeping the engine running, the offer has to be of-the-moment and compelling. “Surely people are ready to spend the money they haven’t spent in quarantine, but they do it only if the pieces have longevity and elegance,” said De Matteis, whose label has no shortage of those qualities.
Update and innovate is the mot d’ordre of menswear brands rooted in formalwear; in order to stay afloat at a time when rules of style are subverted and fluid, they have to broaden their audience, reaching out to new demographics without losing core customers. It’s like walking on a rope suspended on churning waters, an exercise which requires stamina and guts, and a bit of folly. “We’ve adjusted to the situation embracing change, but always from our perspective,” said De Matteis.
To that end, leisurewear was injected with polish, while formality was tinged with a relaxed, supple attitude. The collection was given a younger feel with a play on textures and subtle chromatic twists: coats in precious eight-threads cashmere were cut slightly oversize with an ’80s feel; travel suits had blazers as light as shirts and made in soft-knitted textures for extra comfort, while puffers were lightweight yet luxurious, often layered under soft-tailored cashmere carcoats.
Underlining the focus on appealing to younger customers, in 2018 De Matteis’ twin sons, Mariano and Walter, launched their line KNT, which represents Kiton’s cosmopolitan and dynamic identity. This season they experimented with innovative technologies, presenting a new fabrication called “under glass.” Smooth and shiny, it recalls the techno satin used in the ’90s, and it was made into a luxurious, cool series of padded bombers and blousons.