Scarf \ $79 Jacket \ $395
PICTURES \ SUPPLIED
It was the 1980 movie American Gigolo that inspired Dom Bagnato to take a few leaps and bounds with his autumn/winter 2012 collection. Storyline aside, the film shows a young and handsome Richard Gere impeccably dressed, wearing suits, leisurewear and sports jackets supplied by a then lesser-known designer, Giorgio Armani.
Bagnato, who has been in the business for almost 30 years, gives men’s wear the kick it deserves this season. He’s bringing checks and tweed back, partly inspired by Gere, who channels sexy in the most elegant of manners throughout the film.
Bagnato travels overseas twice a year (sometimes three times) selecting the best fabrics from fashion fairs in Milan and Paris.
“Everyone has been a bit safe and cautious with men’s wear more recently,” says Bagnato, who works closely with his wife, Pia, and two children, Melina and Nunzio. “Every time the cycle gets cautious and the consumer chooses to play it safe, it gives me a chance to say let’s shuffle things a bit.
“This season I wanted to put some checks back into men’s suits. I really focus on some new texture and adding colour through shirts and ties. Our brand is known for being creative and different, and we wanted to push it a bit more.”
His son became part of the business in 2009, while his daughter works as his public relations and marketing manager. She has extensive experience in the industry.
Suit \ $995 Shirt \ $139 Tie \ $99
“I have always used Melina as a backdrop for information,” says Bagnato. “The real surprise was that I didn’t really have an inkling that my son wanted to join the business. Back in 2009, right before we were about to go overseas, he was also going away with mates and casually mentioned he’d love to come into the business. He works with me in all areas now.”
Bagnato has been around long enough to witness key fashion moments and flops. But he always looks on the bright side. He opened his first retail outlet in 1990 with the assistance of Pia. “Pia came to help me for a year and stayed for eight. She looked after retail and I looked after wholesale and manufacturing back then. Now that we are a design and retail company, Pia is involved in the strategic part of the business.”
Bagnato is also stocked at Myer. The relationship works well, and in late 2010 he launched an exclusive diffusion line for the chain called Domingo. “We were actually stocked in both major chains (the other being David Jones) until 1994, and then we went with Myer. Our first Myer collection was called Cocktail, with suit colouring inspired by drinks like Midori. It bombed, of course, because it was on a floor full of dark suits. But Myer stuck with us … We have built a great relationship over 18 years.”
Suit \ $995 Shirt \ $139 Tie \ $99
Bagnato grew up in Tatura in the Goulburn Valley and bypassed his family’s fruit and veg business, instead following his godfather, Tony Casucelli, a tailor. Later, on the advice of an uncle, he moved to Melbourne to study. That was at the age of 16, the same year his younger sister died crossing the road to meet him for lunch in Tatura. It shaped his life forever.
“The death of my sister was very traumatic for everyone. It reminds you that life is precious. In business you can go through tough times which force you to change, but sometimes life forces change upon you.”
It’s all about checks, slick blazers and fashionable tailored suits for Dom Bagnato’s 2012 winter campaign. There’s a splash of colour in knitwear and scarves too. Channel chic and elegant with a footnote to American Gigolo style.
Anthea Solopotias recently launched her own fashion label, which debuts for spring/summer 2012-13. It’s all about colour, texture and bright romance – think flowing silk dresses, silk tanks and shifts that feature epaulettes for fun.
Swapping shoelaces, adding bright ones and mixing it up sounds like a teen fixation, but grown-ups can also have fun too. Mr Lacy (which started as a skate and street-wear label overseas) is about all that glitters – bright gold, fluorescent pinks and greens for an ’80s trip.
If you’re lucky enough to be jetting out of the cold and heading somewhere exotic and poolside, consider We Are Handsome’s The King swimsuit. It’s certainly showstopping and taken from its Matriach 2012 collection, available July/August in Australia.
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