Brooks Brothers goes big for 200th anniversary show in Florence
Brooks Brothers chose Florence and the city's famous Pitti Uomo tradeshow to officially celebrate its 200-year anniversary this week. The American brand, which was founded in 1818 and acquired by Marks and Spencer and sold in 2001 to Italian Claudio Del Vecchio, organised for the grand occasion its first-ever standalone runway show in a majestic setting.
The show took place Wednesday night in the impressive Salone dei Cinquecent (Hall of the Five Hundred), with its painted wooden ceiling and frescoes by Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, inside the Palazzo Vecchio, which houses Florence's town hall.
Decorated for the event in navy and gold embroidered walls, recognised monikers of the brand, the room had also hidden - behind a blue velvet curtain on stage - the Italian philharmonic orchestra.
The musicians started by playing different American melodies, which included 'Empire State of Mind' by Alicia Keys, as models crossed in front of the orchestra, before descending some stairs and walking along a runway, which ran the length of the room.
In total, Brooks Brothers showcased 51 looks; all menswear and made internally in the studio - with the exception of eight womenswear looks, which still embodied a men's aesthetic, designed by creative director, Zac Posen.
Overall, the collection was heavily influenced by Brooks Brothers' iconic pieces, remade in today's style, offering up a men's wardrobe for every daily occasion.
An elegant navy blazer with gold buttons opened up the show, with a series of formal looks: three-piece suits, Regimental ties, bow ties and flannel suits. Not to mention the brand's classic 'button-down' collar shirting, launched by the company in 1896, easily identified by the collar's two sides buttoned down at the ends.
The collection also offered up more relaxed pieces for the weekend including corduroy sets, jackets and bermuda shorts, as well as t-shirts, gilets and jeans.
Featured a mixed casting, the show offered to the public a true piece of America, a panorama of US fashion, which has imbedded itself in the imagination, crossing over from the films watched.
Guests were then invited to continue the voyage across the Atlantic post-show, witnessing an exhibition dedicated to the history of the brand, expressed via photos and archives pieces.
"We have been disruptive for 200 years, even though most people don't know it," explained CEO, Claudio Del Vecchio, standing in front of the black and white images.
Brooks Brothers was in essence the first firm to offer made-up clothing. Besides the 'button-down' collar, it pioneered other men's classic, such as the original polo button down Oxford shirt in 1990.
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