Ports 1961 is a brand with a half-century of history that has evolved unusually, taking what could be considered the reverse path from most in the field, by first developing its trendy fashion line then turning its focus to luxury wear. Founded in 1961 in Canada, it was one of the very first brands to have the foresight to establish itself in China in the early 1990s and developed an extraordinary distribution network there, long before anyone else. In 2011, in yet another intuitive move, the luxury brand relocated its design studios and showroom to a villa in the heart of Milan – Europe’s fashion capital – primarily to be closer to the home of some of the world’s finest high-end textile manufacturers and expert tailoring know-how available in the world today. This strategy has proven to be winning as Ports 1961 is looking at double-digit growth figures and opened an elegant, two-floor flagship boutique on Paris’ august Rue Saint-Honoré just last year.
Ports 1961 is led by Creative Director Fiona Cibani, who grew up in Vancouver, where at a very young age she developed a passionate interest in fashion and an eye for detail at her family’s boutique. She went on to fine-tune her talent at Parsons in New York and it was while attending the prestigious design school that she heard of an opening at Ports and began working there under the artistic direction of Dean and Dan Caten of Dsquared2 fame. Her intercontinental background has informed her sensibility as a designer, as she has a deep understanding of the cosmopolitan, fast-paced, borderless world we live in and what her discerning clients need and expect.
With a meticulous attention to detail that means that every thread, every button and zipper is made in Italy, Ms. Cibani’s designs cater to the affluent and world-travelled who have a true understanding of and appreciation for luxury. The clothes are eminently wearable: the women’s collection this spring plays with layering and combines leather, organza and lace, in complementary asymmetrical silhouettes, and features extraordinary hand-sewn bead and baguette detailing. The vibrant men’s collection boasts ultra-light full canvas jackets and coats that are sporty yet polished, as well as slim silhouettes and outerwear in state-of-the-art fabrics that are ideal for the contemporary gladiator.
The clean and simple designs which are as discreet are as they are divinely tailored may be the new kids in town, but are poised to take it and the world by storm!