>The Debut of Ports 1961 – Men’s – Classic and Suave Debuts at Milan Fashion Week

27 Jan

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TEXT, VIVIAN KELLY
Yes, we’re STILL in a recession, but some companies are not just “staying the course” as George W. [Bush] was wont to say, when faced with crisis. Duckie Brown is launching a women’s line and their collaboration with Florsheim is expanding and there are other partnerships with big brands on the table. Michael Kors continues his push for world domination, following in the footsteps of Ralph Lauren. Ralph has opened a fabulous store to end all stores in NYC.
Most recently, one of my favorite “smaller” brands, Ports1961, is venturing into menswear. Ports holds a special place in my heart, ever since I attended their first small presentation in a studio in The Forbidden Zone [somewhere in the twenties and ninth or tenth Aves.] years ago. My friend, Mimi Liebeskin [one of the most chic women I’ve ever met] and I declared ourselves “in love” after the shortie presentation was over. Why? Because we both travel – a lot – and could imagine ourselves wearing every single one of these classic with a twist pieces, many in flattering neutrals in interesting fabrics.
Since then, the Cibanni sisters have stuck to their original aesthetic but have also taken risks – which I love – and is something that is normally reserved for “avant garde” collections one sees on the Paris runways.
One of the best was the “Patti Smith Collection” a few seasons back. Bingo. It was arty, intellectual and cool, like the chanteuse herself.
Ports debuted their PORTS 1961 Menswear Collection in Milan this month.
When Simone of Atelier PR sent me the announcement and pics of Ports1961 mens, I was initially stunned at how, well, “square?” the guys looked in their precisely cut suits and coats. Then, I “got” it. The men are a foil to the more adventuresome Ports women and there ARE some fundamental similarities when you start looking more closely.
Part of Ports1961’s [women’s] underlying DNA is its classic wearability. As PR Director, Tony Alcindor told me, “We try to make pretty clothes that women want to wear.” It SOUNDS so simple, but it’s not, really, but every season, despite some more avant garde inclinations, there are ALWAYS pieces that will find a long-term home in a woman’s closet. Every spring, I eagerly take out my lipstick red zip front cotton sweater and celebrate the start of spring and not needing to wear a coat. In fact, it’s already been packed for my April Puerto Vallarta trip.
Taking the conversation back to men’s, this line is a collaboration between designers Fiona Cibanni and Ian Hylton. Ian’s “a name” in the fashion biz, but I had to do a little research. Turns-out, Ian is THE EVERYTHING MAN. He’s a merchant, creative director and designer. He started out in 1985, helping to launch Club Monaco later-on, helped to “re-invigorate” the Men’s business and to develop a brand extension for home called Caban. From there, he worked with Saks Fifth Avenue and launched Suede magazine. As Vice President of Ports International he’s now flexing his creative muscle with Fiona for Ports Men’s.

Ports1961 Menswear DNA:
Classical sculpture is at the core as is “the finest Italian tailoring and the most advanced fabrics to achieve the highest level of luxury. This collection reflects the quintessentially modern need to maintain an enduring classicism in today’s world.”
The press release says it best,
“This season, Ports 1961’s menswear throws down the gauntlet to declare: from now on, only the best of everything…is good enough.”
Who can argue with that?

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