It’s as if Fiona Cibani and Ian Hylton are saying, you guys can all be heroes. You just need that little touch of courage, enough to transform an ordinary man into something else, like Clark Kent and Superman. The Ports 1961 mens’ fall/winter 2013-14 collection tells a powerful story, inspired by Pavel Bondarenko's sculpture of Yuri Gagarin, a towering titanium column in Moscow that celebrates man's aspirations to reach the stars. At the presentation in Milan in 13 January 2013, the models wore heavy acetate-rimmed glasses, and presented this fashion in sharp focus: precision tailoring, strong shoulders, bold colour palettes, an almost gladiatorial image.
One of the hallmarks of this collection is an unconventional double-faced construction, with traditional garment types that are deconstructed, transformed and rebuilt. The knitwear is as tough as the outerwear, with exquisitely-crafted sweaters in swirling two-colour designs.
The colours are grey and black, with accents in orange, light bordeaux, light blue, and light green. Overcoats and bomber jackets are cadenced into squares and rectangles reminiscent of armour or a spacesuit, creating a contrast with the softness of the fabric. Cut is tight and taut, very male, for men who know where they are going, and who are capable of an occasional foray into decorative luxury, as in a fur lapel on a grey overcoat. The sculptured lines are contrasted with the voluptuously bright colour. The overall impression is that of people who are about to set off on a journey, as shown by the large, practical bags. Ian Hylton, menswear designer at Ports 1961, said, “The collection was designed for the executive, the athlete, the traveller in every man. A Ports man is self-assured and wants to look his best. He wants quality first of all.”
All the classic garment types are reworked in the collection: trench coats, Chesterfields, Harringtons and duffle coats are given sophisticated details and quality materials. Shoes are tough and chunky, with moccasins featuring five-layer soles and oversize kilt fringes on the uppers, and lace-ups with signature rubber sneaker soles and contrasting, classic-style uppers.
Details, details... leather gloves, reaching almost to the elbows, worn over the sweater sleeves to create a very different look; or short and minimalist. The real beauty of the Ports 1961 collection this season is that just a single piece, such as an outer garment, is sufficient to transform any outfit into something eye-turningly original. Whether you are from Smallville, Kansas, or Vulcan.