The acclaimed menswear brand’s new lookbook recalls all that is magical about the ‘Athens of the Middle Ages’ — its art, cuisine, and knack for fostering lasting friendships.
Since the earliest days of the pandemic, ‘nostalgia for travel’ has been a constant inspiration for brands operating in every corner of fashion’s ecosystem. But I’ll be damned if I’ve seen more than a handful of players hit the nail on the head so poignantly as The Armoury. Round about now, Hong Kong’s preeminent ambassadors of “international classic” style — now in the habit of co-designing many of the labels they stock — would be departing Florence following the conclusion of Pitti Uomo — the bi-annual menswear tradeshow that had its most recent edition cancelled to “contain the spread of COVID-19 in [Italy]”. That resultant gap in the traditional fashion calendar has given the brand sufficient time and space to reckon with Florence’s significance — as an epicentre of work and wonderment.
“Looking back, [Florence] holds many important memories for us,” says Mark Cho, co-founder of The Armoury. “More than just the setting for Pitti Uomo (where we see our suppliers and sample new product), to me it always feels like the place for an especially congenial family reunion with our peers in the industry. A yearning for physical reconnection led us to incorporate as much reference material as we could for SS21: of our friends and the many locales in Florence that make it so special.”
Each look featured in the campaign has been shot in-studio (by erstwhile collaborator Ken Wu), then intercut with footage of previous editions of Pitti Uomo; and even some original illustrations from Vogue Japan blogger Misako Otani. More travel editorial than straight-up catalogue, the campaign pulls together a selection of tailored and casual looks, all insouciant enough to be worn in the heart of the Florentine (or indeed southeast Asian) summer.
Absent occasional (some might say unavoidable) hat-tips to cultural landmarks the likes of the Palazzo Vecchio, SS21’s thematic touchstones are as varied as the clothes they inspire. Burnished wingtip oxfords evoke the colour of an especially vermouth-heavy Negroni (reputedly invented here in the early 20th century); while trousers in crisp mohairs or high-twist wool suggest the cool, blue tint of cobblestone streets around Atelier Liverano. Colours coax the eye rather than transfixing: the optimal choice for a collection with so much in the way of sportswear. Scottish-made knitwear; cropped blousons; the ultimate pair of chinos: not unlike the gelato that inspired them, these are simple pleasures. All are worth revisiting.
To view the complete SS21 lookbook, visit The Armoury online.