How 6 top fashion brands reinvented their signature items
We single out the latest representative products from top fashion houses, and pinpoint the standout features that will take them – and the brands they represent – into the future.
Bottega Veneta bags – say, the Cabat
tote, or the Veneta handbag – are
generally distinguished by the house’s
signature intrecciato woven leather.
Indeed, there is plenty to like about
this motif, which is woven by hand.
For the men’s bags, however,
Bottega Veneta has introduced a new
signature look – one where the
intrecciato panels serve as an accent,
rather than the material for the entire
carrier. This season, this aesthetic can
be seen in the Oculus Duffel bag.
01 FULL CIRCLE
What does this bag and Rome’s Pantheon have in common? The
former has eyelets inspired by the
oculus, or hole, in the dome of the
The large eyelets on the handle
attachment are made of a metal circle
surrounded by a leather one. They are
not just striking design accents, but
also sturdy structures for the handles
to pass through.
02 MATTER OF CONTRASTS
Intrecciato leather panels create a
tasteful contrast with the smooth
calfskin used for the main body
of the Oculus Duffel, but the differences between the two go
beyond texture. Subtly contrasting
finishes add further interest to this
monochromatic accessory: The
intrecciato panel has a shiny finish,
while the main body of the bag is
crafted from matte French calfskin.
03 IN THE DETAILS
This carrier balances the
suppleness of its form with a
cool, minimalist severity.
The latter is derived from its
almost all-black palette, including
neat black stitches and hand-painted
edges, and matte metal elements.
ERMENEGILDO ZEGNA TIZIANO SNEAKERS
Founded in 1910, Ermenegildo
Zegna might have a long history in
menswear, but it was only 15 years
ago that the Italian clothing and
fabric giant began making leather
shoes. In 2002, it began ramping
up its leather-crafting capabilities
with the takeover of high-end
leather apparel-maker Longhi, and
established the joint venture ZeFer
in a partnership with Salvatore
Ferragamo. It now fully owns ZeFer.
Today, the house is creating
signature items in the leather goods
segment. Aside from luggage and
dress shoes such as its L’Asola loafers
(distinguished by a buttonhole-like
slit), the product that most sums up
Zegna’s generation-bridging new era
is its Tiziano sneakers.
01 XXX MARK THE SPOT
The trio of Xs formed by Tiziano’s
laces echo the triple-XXX stitch
you will find on the back of these
sneakers. Established by Stefano
Pilati, the brand’s former head of design for its most premium
Couture line, this motif – which is
always hand-stitched – continues
to distinguish Ermenegildo Zegna’s
most exclusive goods.
02 CUT AND SEWN
These sneakers take after leather
ankle boots, but are more casual,
edgier and more minimalist than their
inspiration. They are made from soft
calf leather that is cut laterally and
stitched together. White, light brown
and dark brown are this season’s
03 FIRM FOUNDATION
As a decorative accent with an
artisanal touch, a leather insert in
a contrasting hue and embossed
with the words “Ermenegildo Zegna
Couture” is sewn into the soles, which
are made from extra-light white
rubber. While you can’t see the shoes’
undersides here, they actually feature
a herringbone pattern – a nod to
Zegna’s sartorial expertise.
LOUIS VUITTON ECLIPSE MONOGRAM KEEPALL
In the 1900s, a must-have luxury for
some high-end train travellers was
the Louis Vuitton steamer trunk,
decked out in the familiar brown and
gold monogram logo – a pattern of
flowers and quatrefoils created by
Louis Vuitton’s son, Georges, in 1896.
With the advent of new
modes of long-distance travel, the
brand’s Keepall bag emerged in
1930 to become the must-have for
fashionable globetrotters everywhere.
Today, the French maison again
refreshes its codes by pairing the
versatile carrier with a cool, new
version of its monogram.
01 SHADOW PLAY
Recently introduced in the Fall/
Winter 2016/17 men’s collection,
the Monogram Eclipse canvas bag
features cool grey and black tones that
make it a sleeker, fresher counterpart
to the traditional Monogram in brown
and gold. It is paired with hardware in
shiny, dark-grey metal.
02 A WORTHY COMPANION
The Keepall was originally created as
a supplementary bag, to be stashed at
the bottom of your luggage and taken
out when required. Today, the roomy
and lightweight carrier, which comes
in various sizes, can still be folded and
tucked away when not in use, but is
more likely to be used as a primary
travel bag for convenience.
03 IT TAKES TWO
When heritage labels collaborate
with edgy artists or brands, the
former’s most iconic products make
the best canvas for experimentation,
remaining recognisable despite new
details. Here, Japanese streetwear
label Fragment Design puts its own
imprint on the Keepall with reflective
silver stripes; its logo on a broad black
stripe; and iridescent hardware.
HERMES SAC A DEPECHES
It might not be as famous as the
Birkin or the Kelly, but the Sac a
Depeches is to the male Hermes fan
what the aforementioned bags are to
female devotees of the brand. Created
in 1928, the briefcase gets its name
from the French word for dispatches.
Now, it can be used to store important
missives or a work tablet. That the
Sac can boast famous users – John F.
Kennedy and the Duke of Windsor, to
name a few – attest to its appeal. This
season, it comes in a narrower form.
01 MATTER OF SUBSTANCE
Black Evergrain calfskin is used for this update of the Sac a Depeches.
First used by Hermes in 2004,
Evergrain calf leather is distinguished
by its fine, regular printed grain. It
feels supple and smooth to the touch,
but is sturdy enough to hold its shape.
As it gets shinier and softer with age,
this leather briefcase will last way
beyond a season.
02 IN ANY CAPACITY
The brand describes the bag’s
narrower form as being “made for the
age of mobility”. It’s slim enough to
be carried by its handle, or under the
arm, clutch-style. That said, the Sac a
Depeches is apparently Hermes’ most
popular model for special orders, and
can be customised to have up to 12
compartments – or even made large
enough to stow an artist’s canvases.
03 LOCK AND KEY
Important missives need to be kept
under lock and key, and that’s exactly what this briefcase can provide. It’s fastened with a handsomely brushed metal clasp, which can be locked with a specially provided key. For those who find pure metal too cold, there is also a variant featuring a clasp with a leather inlay.
BRUNELLO CUCINELLI REVERSIBLE JACKET
In 1978, Brunello Cucinelli got his
start in the fashion industry by selling
53 sweaters made from brightly
coloured cashmere. Today, you
won’t find many vivid shades in the
collections by the man now known as
the King of Cashmere.
These days, the Italian brand’s
designs generally revolve around a
casual-meets-tailored aesthetic, and
are mostly rendered in a neutral,
nature-inspired palette. Think
tailored jackets paired with technical-
fabric vests, or a hoodie jacket
thrown over a navy pinstripe suit. It’s
functional, quality clothing for those
who don’t want to think too hard
about fashion, yet want to look stylish
in their busy lives.
But make no mistake, the brand
certainly has new tricks up its sleeve.
These innovations are tastefully
and subtly executed – in fact, its
collection of reversible, hand-finished
outerwear has become one of the
signatures of the company.
01 DOUBLE VISION
Reversible clothing is not a new idea,
but Brunello Cucinelli does it more
skilfully than most. Whichever side
you wear it, this bomber jacket looks
wonderfully finished. This is made
possible by a fabric-making technique
that weaves two fabrics together on a
special loom, creating double fabrics
of different colours or patterns.
02 CASHMERE IS KING
The brand is synonymous with
cashmere, a soft wool derived from
the lush undercoat of cashmere goats.
Tucked beneath the goats’ outer
and longer coat, these fine and soft
fibres protect the creatures during
harsh winters. Shepherds harvest
the cashmere in spring by gently
brushing the undercoat.
03 STRONG FINISH
Thanks to the way the double fabric
is constructed, this jacket does not
require any lining. It is also carefully
hand-finished so that both sides
of the garment do not reveal the
underside of any stitches. Other
noteworthy details: The contrasting
cuffs and collar, both of which are
made from cashmere; as well as
heavy-duty zips that ensure smooth
fastening whichever way this
reversible jacket is worn.
Today, Berluti offers beautifully made
clothing alongside its leather goods,
but it remains best-known for its
exceptional shoes, skilfully crafted
from patinated leather in various
hues. In recent years and in response
to wider trends in fashion, the
company has expanded its catalogue
of dress shoes to include more casual
options such as the Alessio, a sneaker-
dress shoe hybrid.
However, its formal offerings,
such as the Alessandro, remain
bestsellers with its clientele. This
season, the icon that was created by
brand founder Alessandro Berluti in 1895 gets a subtle update.
01 OF SINGLE MIND
There are few Oxfords that look as
minimalist as the Alessandro. Its
secret: It is made from a single piece
of leather, and is free of stitches
and extraneous adornment. Like
many “simple”-looking designs, its
minimalist form belies the laborious
process behind it. Its construction
requires the use – and skilful working
– of large pieces of leather that are
free of blemishes.
02 MADE IN THE SHADES
While the shoe industry has no
shortage of patinated leather – where
dye is applied so as to create contrast
and shading – we think Berluti has a
lock on the look. The house’s jealously
guarded secret includes its use of
specially tanned Venezia leather,
and dyes comprising pigments and
03 RIGHT ANGLES
The Alessandro has remained largely
unchanged since its creation more
than 120 years ago. But even icons
need occasional sprucing up, which is
why the Alessandro has been given a
slightly edgier look this season, with
a more defined, angular toe box, as
well as a row of tiny studs at the edge
of its sole.