The draw of nostalgia is one that often proves irresistible, especially when it comes to getting dressed. Recent seasons have seen designers ranging from Richard James to Gucci mine the cultural touchstones of the past five decades—turning out power suits that would look right at home in a 1980s C-suite and chunky corduroy and loud argyle reminiscent of the groovy 70s. And though these pieces are undeniably fun to consider as they tromp down the runway, for most of us they prove nearly impossible to pull off in our thoroughly 21st century day-to-day reality.
This, however, is not the case with Corneliani’s Archivio collection, available in the brand’s boutiques and on its recently launched e-commerce site this month. Instead of rehashing retro silhouettes (many of which are sure to feel just as dated in five years from now as they did the first time around), the Italian brand has taken a more considered approach. Its designers took a deep dive into the fabric archives at the mills the company has been using to turn out it’s fine tailoring for 80-plus years, pulling out the most iconic—think Prince of Wales and Glen checks and durable whipcord wool—to rehash for the modern man.
The resulting line is an homage to the classic codes of menswear, paying special attention to those time-honored fabrics and always-sharp silhouettes. Pieces like the rich brown cheviot design pea coat (£1490) feel like they could have been pulled out of the closet of your especially stylish grandfather—mixing the Sottish fabric’s signature herringbone pattern with a tailored shape that still manages to leave plenty of room for chunky sweaters to be layered underneath. You could lean into its slightly 1970s look by styling it with complimentary warm browns, but throw on an easy pair of sneakers and the shape feels instantly of-the-moment. The more formal Prince of Wales checked suit (£1720) and cheviot unlined coat (£1590) will also slot into your wardrobe similarly. The latter’s sharp shape updates what otherwise could be an overly stuffy style, especially when paired with ankle-grazing trousers to better show off your sleek shoes.
Like with the Row’s debut collection of classically minded menswear, Corneliani’s take on the impulse for retro redux is not one that gives into fleeting trends. Instead, it’s about building a wardrobe that bridges time and space—making looking sharp wherever you are a snap.