If you've been keeping track of my coverage of Stefano Ricci for seasons past, you'd be familiar with the elite luxury brand's penchant for taking inspiration from Italy's vast cultural heritage. It has been a consistent Stefano Ricci narrative, one that not only celebrates Italian craftsmanship and sartorial sense, but also the lesser known or forgotten stories of its home country.
After a period of digital showings—brought about by the pandemic—the Stefano Ricci family whisked journalists away onto the next instalment of its adventure for autumn/winter 2022, about a month before Pitti Uomo 101. It's in the city of Mantua, a little over two hours from Milan by car, that the brand decided to craft the collection around.
Mantua is not a common sight in any travel itinerary, and especially for many of us on the trip, it was the first time we've ever stepped foot in the city. But Mantua holds just as much cultural importance as most other Italian cities. The city's Teatro Scientifico Bibiena for example, was graced by a concert by an almost 14-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 1770. And the Palazzo Te—a palace of leisure for the ruling noble family of Gonzaga constructed in the 16th century—is home to one of the most famous frescoes of Late Renaissance art, Giulio Romano's 'Fall of the Giants'. Together with the Gonzaga family's royal residence, the Palazzo Ducale, they were the backdrop of an impressive and grand Stefano Ricci autumn/winter 2022 campaign—quite honestly, the brand's best yet.
Look and feel: True to form, the Stefano Ricci autumn/winter 2022 collection was a continuous exploration of the brand's venture into more contemporary styling, while still maintaining a sense of classic Italian elegance that it's grown to be known for. What's always apparent within any Stefano Ricci collection is in the fine, luxurious materials that it deftly employs throughout. Its latest include the addition of these materials in key touchpoints on a garment. For example, a deconstructed coat (a treatment that the brand has been exploring of late) was a combination of cashmere with highly sought-after vicuña—the latter being quite an important material for the season.
The lookbook for the collection was fashioned like an itinerary of sorts, detailing a full idyllic day of spending time in Mantua and of course, in Stefano Ricci. There's a continued ease throughout the entire autumn/winter 2022 collection, marked by a heavy use of blousons and outerwear that were versatile enough to be worn with carefully crafted tailoring as well as the collection's more sporty offerings.
What to look out for: Without a doubt, the blousons are the big stars of the collection. They come in an array of luxe compositions, but my favourite is definitely the cashmere check variation in look 12 that's a nod to classic menswear tailoring. For something a bit more spiffy and elegant, look 57's cashmere, silk and vicuña blazer would be a heavenly addition and especially so when matched with the look's subtle tones.