Having spent over two decades in the fashion industry, Stefano Gaudioso Tramonte, the Style Director at Corneliani is among the most experienced professionals in the business of men’s style. In the two years that he has spent at the Mantua, Italy based luxury brand, he has achieved the right balance between the brand’s long heritage and demands of the modern style-oriented consumer. He spoke to MW about his challenges and opportunities.
What’s the biggest challenge for a menswear company that’s been in business for over 50 years?
To keep up with the speed of the market today. You need to be everywhere, with the right image, and to continuously talk to consumers. You need to be a retail-oriented company in terms of service and execution. You also need to be flexible and to respect timing in order to gain the trust of the trade and the consumers. Today, it’s a must to offer something that the customer does not have in his closet, not so much in terms of style but mainly in terms of function.
You manage both the creative and business sides of the brand. Which role excites you more?
This is maybe the most difficult part of my job, because I’m always thinking with both sides of my brain and sometimes I give myself limits, because I know that some creative exercises are for nothing. On the other hand, if you don’t dream, you never evolve. I’m lucky to have a great team of creative people on one side, and on the other side a great team of merchandisers. When I’m unsure about something, I try to see things from a neutral point of view, listening to all and taking a decision that can satisfy image and business at the same time.
What are the key cuts and silhouettes that have shaped the Fall/Winter 2018 collection?
For F/W 18, we researched our archives from the 1950s, looking for fabrics and designs to be reinvented in our time. You can find a mix of luxurious yarns, colours and new silhouettes for coats. They are becoming wider, more comfortable and move with your body, creating a very sophisticated look. With regard to tailoring, the jackets are becoming a little longer, and pants more straight.
Can you elaborate on the functional detailing used in the collection?
Functionality gives a reason to buy a garment. This season, one of the hits was the project called Connected Style, where two outerwear pieces that include a special technology give the customer the possibility to recharge their mobile phone by simply putting it into the internal pocket. We have worked around a new raincoat which is completely laser-cut, with taped seams. This gives an extremely high performance in terms of waterresistance and at the same time is a beautiful design.
How can one wear pieces from your fall collection in a country like India, where winters are relatively short-lived?
We have consistently included trans-seasonal pieces in our collections that are good for many areas of the world where the temperature is always mild. In the collection, there are many pieces with a good weight (we call this collection Winter Zero), but of course at the moment the majority of the collection has a more wintery look, also because the west coast of the USA, Russia and northern Europe are very important markets for us. I’m really working on a balance for our winter collections and I’m sure there will be more and more in the future for Asian and West Asian markets. It’s an important issue, and we are addressing it, but it is also true that our customers are travelling a lot, so they need winter clothes for their travels.
According to you, what are the ongoing trends for men this season?
I think that F/W 18 is still influenced by the big wave of streetwear style that we saw in the last couple of seasons. However, there is a light at the end of this which is telling me that men are somehow going back to their roots. I’m not saying that it will be like before, but I strongly believe that elegance is coming back.
How do you set yourself apart from other leading brands in the market?
I think one key point for us is our styling – how we put colours and garments together with respect to Italian style. We do rich materials and silhouettes that are timeless, together with new and innovative garments coming from the world of active wear. This mix is giving a unique image, respecting our roots but showing our evolution.