Italian fashion is admired for its gracefulness, innovative production and unique flair but this has largely been in service of a conservative fashion tradition—especially in regards to menswear. The classic menswear brand associated with the country is heavy on suits, knits, dressy chinos and light on the kind of everyday casual wear that has become so much a part of the uniform of modern life.
It’s the reason for drastic decisions like Justin O’Shea’s disastrous spell as creative director of Brioni. Italians are the best at something that men simply don’t care to buy into in the way they once did—the off-the-rack suit. We’ve written about this decline before and we’re certainly not the only ones to notice.
President’s is a relatively new brand to grow out of the Larger 7 Bell group of Tuscany—one of the original Italian Denim companies dating back to the 1950s. President’s seems to acknowledge this shift in men’s clothing and has moved to address it. Founded by the third generation owner Guido Bondi in 2010, President’s feels like a response to the wave of Japanese influenced Americana that was then at its height. In fact if pushed to describe the brand to a newcomer “a really Italian Beams Plus” wouldn’t be far from the mark.
Although to say that the brand is imitative would be unfair. It sparks with those Italian qualities I spoke of earlier—superb construction, creative production and an intrinsic elegance. This has come through most strongly in the ss17 collection’s outerwear which includes a standout poplin field jacket (during a season where every brand seems to be trying their hand) and in a subtly hand painted camouflage pattern reminiscent of the British Denison smock. Utterly contemporary but respectful of tradition.
In the same vein the seemingly familiar jersey pieces—a raglan sleeve crewneck with triangle detail at the neck and a zip hood with kangaroo pocket—are in fact rendered in a cashmere knit rather than a cotton jersey. These pieces may look to the street, militaria and workwear for inspiration but they are every bit the enviable Italian luxury of old.
With some top worldwide stockists like Oi Polloi, Soto Store and Unionmade let’s hope this is the year that the brand truly gets some traction. It’s heartening to see the dedication and skill of the old Italy applied to the new urban uniform.