The autumn/winter 2020 men's collection for Tod's marks a new chapter for the Italian brand, one that's peppered with hints of familiarity in the sense that the collection isn't breaking new frontiers in men's fashion. But neither is it stuck in sentimentality and nostalgia. Creative director Walter Chiapponi's debut collection for Tod's is a confident proposal for the return to elegance, without over-embellishing with 'newness' to balance tried-and-tested classics.
While his predecessor took the idea of modernity to mean using technology to further the limits of Tod's leather craftsmanship—Andrea Incontri manipulated leathers to appear as denim or canvas—Chiapponi stripped down the idea of the Tod's man to its bare essentials. There's no unnecessary experimenting in new techniques that could come across as gimmicky. Taking inspiration from iconic men who've had a flair for imbuing their own sense of style into classic wardrobe pieces, Chiapponi adopted that irreverent approach to rework what it means to be a modern man.
It's in the name: T Club. The autumn/winter 2020 collection comes together like a band of outsiders forming their own community where they celebrate straying away from the norm and relish in supporting their own individual differences. In this case, the collection is an antithesis to the streetwear-laden aesthetic that's plagued fashion. Tod's has never been about trendsetting style, and it has never claimed to be. But under Chiapponi, it's even clearer now than ever before.
T Club appreciates the finer things in life but isn't ostentatious about it. It all boils down to quality and a sense of good taste in every detail. To start with, the autumn/winter 2020 collection relies on a timeless palette of neutrals as an anchor. Colours such as camel, khaki and tobacco help build the foundation for more vibrant accents that are used in considered moderation. A red polo knit layered in between a white turtleneck and a deep navy utilitarian coat adds a sense of youthfulness, while a relaxed-cut navy suit is refreshed with that same polo knit-turtleneck combination, except both elements are now in white to match equally white double-Velcro sneakers.
The relaxed proposal extends to what Chiapponi constitutes should be part of the new style vocabulary. There's nary a 'proper' button-down shirt throughout the entire collection. The aforementioned polo knit with its generously cut collar replaces any form of shirting. And in the collection's evening offerings, tuxedoes are worn with turtlenecks instead of traditional wing-tipped shirts—not entirely new but a show of rebellion against the conventional confines of a shirt.
In the accessories front—of which footwear is where the brand first found its footing—special attention is paid in highlighting time-honoured craft techniques. The brand's flagship style, the Gommino, is updated with braided detailing in leather and suede variations. The collection's more formal styles such as the Clint boots and loafers are both topped with chunky visible stitching around the toe and heel, and fixed with heftier rubber soles. Sneakers take on a more vintage look but interpreted in blocks of unexpected colours meant to spruce up staid outfits.
Chiapponi also dug deep into the Tod's archives and recovered the T Timeless. The new, old insignia appears as an enamel buckle on some of the collection's footwear, fastenings on bags, and more impressively, as the buckles on a new series of belts—making one a solid contender in the branded luxury belts arena.
It's bold to be proposing a new look based on classics. The confident offering that is Tod's autumn/winter 2020 collection however, is founded on the brand's known signature for dependable pieces that will last far longer than a moment. And that in itself is an act of elegant irreverence.
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