Fast cars, jet-setting, a mix of the industrial and the artisanal, of the technical and the tailored: These are the seemingly disparate elements that coherently coalesced in the new Tod’s collection, which was presented today within the modernist splendor of Villa Necchi Campiglio. (Venues are particularly lavish this season in Milan.)

The modernist theme was not a random one. Tod’s, with its focus on an active, cosmopolitan lifestyle and a proclivity for experimenting, is a modernist brand. The collection is not a fashion-y proposal, although it’s painstakingly designed and carefully assembled. It is intended, instead, as a wardrobe—a system of pieces of clothing and accessories that mix and match, hopefully living a long life with their owners as new items are added season after season.

Hybrids and tactile deceptions characterized the new proposals. Shoes, for instance, were formal on the upper part—loafers, double monk straps, and so on—but sported technical running soles. Clothing-wise, parkas and blousons were protagonists; the version in embossed sheepskin that looked like corduroy was a standout. Leather was braided with wool on a thick zip-up cardigan. The muted color palette was reassuringly classic.

Working within a strict framework most of the time is stimulating. The Tod’s design team has wearability and functionality high on the agenda, but they always manage to keep things interesting and fresh. The new collection, with its graphic precision, came out strong and focused, with the nods to car design being a subtle yet palpable reminder of the label’s initial claim to fame: the driving loafer.

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