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Peter Pilotto to reveal first ever menswear collection in Milan

Published 18th September 2019
Credit: Courtesy Peter Pilotto
Peter Pilotto to reveal first ever menswear collection in Milan
Written by Kristen Bateman, CNN
With loud digital prints, feminine silhouettes and sharp tailoring, London fashion label Peter Pilotto has been putting a bold spin on British style since its inception in 2007. Fittingly, the brand's co-founders Peter Pilotto and Christopher de Vos have long used London Fashion Week to launch their latest creations.
But this season, the design duo are doing things differently.
Instead of their traditional London show, the pair will send models down the runway during Milan Fashion Week on Wednesday. And they'll offer up gender-neutral pieces as part of their debut men's collection.
"I think our brand has always somehow related to Italian fashion," said Pilotto. "It's always been about colors, research, fabrics or fabrications."
It's the designers' first foray into menswear since they launched the brand over 12 years ago. "We're really excited about it, because we're usually known for cocktail dresses," said Pilotto in a phone interview.
The two designers met at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, where they both studied, and quickly grew together as design and life partners. They have since propelled themselves to a celebrity favorite, establishing Peter Pilotto as a household label.
The duo has also have won numerous industry awards, ranging from a NewGen sponsorship by the British Fashion Council to winning the Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent in 2010.
Peter Pilotto/Zoe Communications
"For years, we've been doing the occasional garment in each collection that worked on a guy," explained Pilotto. "Some of our friends would end up wearing these pieces, especially knitwear, and would really enjoy that."
"The idea to be more playful with the wardrobe was something that really fascinated us," De Vos said of the new collection. The men's items have been designed so that women could just as easily wear them.
Around 20 pieces of the entire collection -- featuring a special toweling fabric and new silhouettes -- will be worn by male models.
"We're really going back and looking at what the essence of the brand was about," explained De Vos in a phone interview. "And I always think there was a sporty feel to it. There's definitely going to be a high energy dose of colors and garments that express Milan's dynamic environment. We like to be quite playful about it. It's like borrowing your girlfriend's clothes."
Peter Pilotto/Zoe Communications
To mark the move to MIlan, the brand will show its collection in a theater built during the 1940s. And the change of location also reflects the brand's roots. Pilotto has a strong connection to Italy, being Austrian-Italian (while De Vos is from Belgium and Peru).
"For years, we've been developing all our fabrics, as well as extra sample pieces and production in Italy," said Pilotto. "Besides the work we do in fashion, we love traveling and (we) love to explore different places. I was always was fascinated by architecture from Italy and it's almost like Italy could be our second home."
Peter Pilotto/Zoe Communications
The Peter Pilotto label has been worn by a variety of celebrities, including Beyoncé and actress Priyanka Chopra.
Britain's Princess Eugenie chose to wear the brand when she married Jack Brooksbank at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle last year. With a low-cut neckline that folded around the shoulders, the dress revealed a scar on the princess' back from surgery she had for scoliosis. In the design process, Pilotto and De Vos studied the archives of dresses worn by members of the Royal Family during wedding ceremonies.
Princess Eugenie arrives at St George's Chapel ahead of her and Jack Brooksbank's wedding ceremony on October 12, 2018 in Windsor, England.
Princess Eugenie arrives at St George's Chapel ahead of her and Jack Brooksbank's wedding ceremony on October 12, 2018 in Windsor, England. Credit: Pool/Max Mumby/Getty Images
Most Peter Pilotto dresses are priced under $2,000. The designs focus on luxurious materials, such as last season's glimmering crystal-embellished plissé-lamé midi dresses inspired by Hungarian Zsolnay ceramic glazes. The kind of digital prints that made the duo famous can be seen in the form of ruffled floral-print hammered silk-blend dresses.
According to Business of Fashion, industry insiders estimate the business turns over about $15 million to $20 million per year.
Peter Pilotto/Zoe Communications
Beyond their new menswear collection, Peter Pilotto is also planning to launch its first line of handbags during the forthcoming Spring-Summer 2020 show in Milan.
"There's going to be an element of playfulness and interesting material combinations," Pilotto said of the new bags. "It is, overall, an exciting moment because we are exploring a lot of new things. It's exciting to be expanding the story."