Pal Zileri is a brand that owns its own textile mills and so every year it introduces new, innovative fabrics that combine the best of high-tech material development with an unerring sense of classical style. A 100% cashmere raincoat that is totally waterproof. Traditional materials combined with neoprene – as used in wetsuits – to offer remarkable insulating and waterproofing performance.
We met Yvan Benbanaste at the presentation, where he illustrated some of the principal looks of the collection. I asked him what his major inspiration was.
"1950s films, Visconti, you know, The Damned."
Are films in general important to you as a source of inspiration?
"Oh yes, absolutely. I watch about six or seven movies a week. Cinema is important, equally painting and art in general."
What was the last film you saw?
"Les garçons et Guillaume, à table. It's a brilliant comedy about a family, and in particular a son who gradually discovers that he's not gay. It's a coming-in movie!"
So it's a surprise, a bit like your textiles that look traditional but conceal a lot of technology?
"That's right. Pal Zileri is privileged in that we make our own textiles, and so the new patterns that we are highlighting this year are exclusive for us. No-one else can use them. In addition, the textiles themselves offer new combinations and new characteristics. For example, this silk-cashmere overcoat has a lining with real goosedown inside, so that it is very warm and very light. This raincoat is 100 percent cashmere, but it has been engineered to make it completely waterproof. Then there is this piece, suede and neoprene, also rainproof. We invest a lot in research and development, above all on the textiles."
There is a lot of violet in this collection. What is your approach to this colour?
"You know, violet is a classic colour, it is like grey for men. It's great to work with because it is supremely distinctive, and at the same time, it matches with everything. With all the classic shades of white, grey and black, but also with other colours. In addition, it is the quintessentially dandy colour, and this is one of the highlights of this collection: the contemporary dandy, the decadence that is part of the inspiration."
Today, dandies are often frequent flyers, and Yvan showed us some of the very practical knitwear jackets that never crease.
"And then there's this jacket, Viaggiatore. It was in the previous collection, and it is our number one seller. It's light and practical, and it always looks good, because you can do what you like" – Yvan vigorously crumpled the sleeve, which sprang immediately back to its pristine condition – "and it always looks perfect. In this collection, it is now available in our exclusive patterns, in addition to the plain-colour versions last year."
So, in fall/winter 2014-15, you can take your classic male elegance around the world, confident that your sharp, tailored looks will look as good when you arrive as when you depart.