MILAN, Italy — There is a new creative director at Pal Zileri, the Italian bastion of artisanal tailoring. His name is Rocco Iannone and he comes with a high-class pedigree that includes a brief stint at Dolce & Gabbana and a long stint at Giorgio Armani. It was the latter that left a permanent imprint, evident in the softness of the lines and in the deft way Iannone mixed and matched different materials to harmonious results. The comparisons stop there, however. The sense of decadence and the proclivity for turning old-school elegance into something more contemporary are completely Iannone's own.
Taking on a brand as classic but also as under the radar as Pal Zileri is not easy. But Iannone — who at 33 is young for his role, at least by Italian standards — is smart. He did not opt for a radical makeover nor did he go for full-blown fashion. Instead, he rediscovered one of the pillars of the house, colour, and worked around it with remarkable subtlety, avoiding the perils of the Pitti peacock effect to define a gentle but affirmative masculine character. The velvet slippers and the feathers in the pocket were perhaps a bit too fancy or decadent, but overall the collection exuded a mix of exuberance and restraint that felt convincing. Old fans of the house will find plenty of impeccable suits. For new acolytes, the outerwear seems likely to be a good entry point to the Pal Zileri world. The verdict? A promising beginning.