This season, Michael Maccari has the Perry Ellis man thinking happy thoughts, and wearing it on his sleeve. Or rather, his accessories. The designer presented his second collection for the brand yesterday, and when we met him backstage pre-show, we couldn’t help but notice his jacket lapel, festooned with a collage tiny pins. Turns out, those adorable affects had everything to do with what we were about to see.
tFS: We’re loving all your little pins. Do they have any special meaning?
Michael Maccari: They do. We’ve been exploring the history of sportswear and its workwear roots and one of my trips to the flea market, I found a whole sheet of these [pins] and they’re vintage pins from companies all over the world. I remember as a kid, my dad would come back from a tradeshow and there would be a little pin of that company. Pins were kind of a thing back then, and I feel like they really represent a company’s identity. So it’s kind of like a branding technique. What I love about these is they’re completely global, from all over the world, the colors are great and you’ll see them in the collection. We put a bunch of them in on the lapels.
tFS: What else was behind this collection?
MM: A lot of sportswear came from traditional workwear silhouettes and detail. So looking at that, we looked at vintage smocks and boiler suits, jackets. We wanted to pull the details out of that that were functional and left the extraneous details out. That mashup with technologically advanced fabrics – we have wool bonded to neoprene, we have a four-way stretch water-repelling suiting fabric and other bonding ideas. That mashup of the new and the old coming together is something we feel really good about.
tFS: There’s a kind of menswear renaissance going on right now. How is this affecting your approach to your collections?
MM: It’s freeing us up to be a little bit more explorative in menswear. Playing with shape, playing with volume, playing with fabrics, color and print – all those things that women have played with for so long, we’ve had the uniform. Now, it’s about pushing the boundaries of what that uniform is and really where the uniform takes you. I think it’s more about dressing for the individual as opposed to dressing for the occasion. It’s about go-anywhere dressing. There is a casual elegance to what we do and we want to keep that thread going.
tFS: Do you find that women are starting to wear your clothes?
MM: We’re creating a new excitement for the brand. We already have strong brand recognition domestically, we’re trying to push it globally. We’re also just trying to offer new and different products. We’ve typically been the suit separate and woven shirt kind of brand for the last 30 years. But prior to that, Perry really pushed the boundaries of what’s menswear was. So we’re really trying to get back to that and expand on the assortment and take it to the next level.
tFS: What’s your favorite piece from the collection?
MM: There’s a lot of them. I really like the bonded wool coat, it’s got a really subtle stripe and a big giant stripe, though very subtle in color change. And it’s wool bonded to neoprene and it has a great overall shape. Everyone wants it!
tFS: How are you unwinding after all this?
MM: kicking. Back! I have a place on Shelter Island and I can’t wait to just get there and chill. Cook, drink wine, build a fire!