Monday, April 13, 2009



April 8, 2009


Words, Images Judith Ecochard

We finished reading the NY Times bestseller, “Deluxe How Luxury Lost Its Luster,” by Dana Thomas-the other day---a fast paced read about the homogenization of upscale global goods.

It seemed appropriate to think about that take on the fashion business as we entered the spacious drawing room at the Italian Consulate-where the fifty-six years old Fratelli Rossetti staged their F/W 2009 collection.

This family run, Parabiago based Italian business is the glamorous epitome of hand crafted, labor-intensive produced shoes and accessories …and to us, the antithesis of some of the brands Thomas writes about (with an air of disdainful story telling we note).

Which is why, we think in a humbled economy, smaller entities like Fratelli Rossetti, that do without pricey ad campaigns, but proffer true luxury with obvious attention to details, and exclusive materials…will survive as the mammoths that cater to the mid market masses retrench.

Off our soapbox…ha, ha…we did manage to think about the highlights of the women’s and men’s collections.

For the ladies, there are chic spectator pumps (with hand perforated brogue flaps) and flat oxfords-channeling the popular menswear influences.

Mary Jane styles are refined choices made a bit more au courant with mixed textile components.

We favored the 70’s dashes of color and construction in the (we want) mixed leather suede, stacked heeled boots and pumps, and wedges with a hidden platform-rendering them comfortable!

Color Alert: Pale Pink, Rose=LOVE.

Other modern and graceful options include equestrian boots made from buttery smooth leather, and wear with everything black ankle boots made interesting with a ankle topping strap...and practical with proprietary thick rubber soles.

The satchel to own; the large matching saddlebag that seems to be made from one piece of leather.

Other handbags we covet are the chain link oversized clutches---one in a python skin, and another with a glammy crystal buckle.
And portable elegance is defined by other slouchy and constructed carryalls featuring just the right amount of hardware... with the ideal/requisite amount of inner compartments for modern day haulers.

The Men’s have dapper selections for the guy that appreciates expertly well made, hand stitched shoes.

As usual, there are never out of style, polished oxfords and slip-ons with deep patinas achieved via hours of hand applied vegetable dyes and shoe polishes.

And in a nod to over the top luxury, the croc loafers are still available, and similar to Spring 2009, are made with one pricey piece that breaks over the top just so.

One pair of kickers is subtly detailed- with raised embellishments that result from the ‘pucker’ like texture ingeniously applied to the underside of the top piece of leather.

New for 2009 are a pair of warm shearling boots, that may never feel the cold snow but will work on the shoveled sidewalks of St. Moritz.

Our guy will love the handsome Desert Boot version made from burnished, ‘distressed’ brown leather.

ROSSETTI ONE, the less costly more sporty line…ups its style quota for next year. Women’s boots served up last year---like the wedge--- are in refreshed colors and joined by trendy (but not flashy) low rubber tread plush leather boots with a visually interesting curved top…that’ll make tucking in denim or leggings, hat much easier.

There are also sidewalk friendly, stacked platform loafers and menswear inspired tie shoes.

Suede and patent loafers, ballet flats with enough heel for comfort and matching bowler bag sized satchels…round out the collection.

Men get several versions of the lifestyle urban sneaker in suede/leather mixes in low and high cuts.

Casual shoes also include basic lace-ups and rugged suede or leather ankle boots that slip on…

…and an oxford inspired pair with hand applied perforations.

An as always, the black soles are specially designed rubber treads that repel mud and debris.

RETAIL: At Fratelli Rossetti Stores in major cities and throughout Italy. Statesides boutiques are located in NYC (625 Madison Avenue), and Chicago (909 North Michigan Avenue), …and some day, we hope, in better boutiques.