Even in a presentation, that for the mens’ fall/winter 2013-14 collection staged in Milan on 13 January 2013, Ports 1961’s designer Ian Hylton and creative director Fiona Cibani unleashed their imaginations to tell a powerful story, with black and white videos depicting a sculpture of Yury Gagarin by Pavel Bondarenko.
It’s as if Hylton is saying, we 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. At least, that’s what the glasses were saying, heavy acetate-rimmed glasses that spoke of ordinary men ready to become something else.
The colours are grey and black, with accents in 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. Tailoring 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 bag. Hylton himself said, “Ports customers travel a lot, and they know the world. Our man is fashionable. The Ports 1961 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 by Hylton and Cibani: trench coats, Chesterfields, Harringtons and duffle coats are given sophisticated details and quality materials. Shoes are tough and chunky, with mocassins featuring five-layer soles and oversize kilt fringes on the uppers.