Japan’s first moniker for ‘suit’ — sabiro — may have been named for Britain’s Savile Row, but it was in Italy where the nation’s early tailoring apprentices began to train, and from where they brought back the soft-shoulder silhouettes and rolled lapels taught by their (mostly) Neapolitan senseis. But what happens when Italian designers look to Japan instead? Or when the cultural yin-yang between the two meet in the middle, uniting Italian creation and Japan’s meditative order? You get Lardini’s upcoming spring-summer ’21 collection, the ‘Art of Silence’.
As the founder and Creative Director, Luigi Lardini, puts it, “There’s always been a mutual appreciation of Japanese and Italian craft, and this has long inspired me”. The Marche-based brand, which he founded as a teenager in 1978, is renowned for its textile innovation, strong family ties, and sustainability — all characteristics that make Japanese brands appealing, too. Along with Alessio Lardini, the brand manager and second-generation family member, the Art of Silence is inspired in part by their travels east: of the natural grace of Japan, with various woven fabrics and motifs evoking the colours of small wooden villages and bamboo forests, or the serenity of cherry blossoms. It’s a collection that remains Italian in its confidence but with an earthy Japanese composition.
There’s an eco-stance here, too, thanks to their ‘Rexclusive’ fabric — crafted from plastic bottles — with a hand-printed safari jacket, a new natural palette for the ‘Luxor’ trousers, exclusive linen and silk weaves for the unstructured jackets, and a bowling-collar tee made of fil coupé cotton, with unique dragonfly or bamboo illustrations.
The name borrows from a series of quotations on nature and silence, including one by the Edo-era poet Matsuo Bashō: “When the temple bell stops, the sound keeps coming out of the flowers.” Lardini’s emblem, their artist’s stamp, happens to be a flower on the lapel.
Below, Luigi and Alessio recount how their travels have inspired the ‘Art of Silence’ — how one Lardini enjoys the calm of a steamy onsen bath while the other observes the smallest details of a well-dressed woman, simply passing by.