An American man living in Milan, Edward Buchanan is no stranger to Italian Fashion. He hails from Ohio, but as the Parsons School of Design graduate who was hired on the spot by the Moltedo family, then the Bottega Veneta owners, for the position of its first ever creative director of the brand, his creations have become these captivating plays of contrasts and divergent cultural references imbued with the highest sartorial standards of Italian design.
Politics and tabloids, hi-brow and low-brow, grotesque and beautiful, catwalk and sidewalk, street and elite, brutality and altruism, chaos and peace, East and West: these contradictory notions of what make up a bustling metropolis in dissimilar societies are what embolden him. “I am still very much an American in Italy in the way that I design,” he says, speaking of his sartorial style which is no doubt comparable, in calibre, to the biggest names in Milanese fashion.
His work is “always a combination of worlds”, and for this reason, his recently revealed collaboration with Fabiana Filippi feels contingent.
Sculpted by its surroundings, the Umbrian brand was founded in 1985 by brothers Mario and Giacomo Filippi Coccetta with the region’s olive and oak trees seeping into its cashmere beginnings. No doubt, knitwear has always been Fabiana Filippi’s bread and butter, so how could Buchanan set about putting his own stamp on it? Well for one thing, his usual labour of love is Sansovino 6, a genderless knitwear line that he launched in ’09, so he’s got the savoir faire. But, to interpret a new Filippi he says it was about “working with honesty”.
“I studied the codes that existed and I attempted to respect them but at the same time to slightly disrespect them.” He continues, “There is always some chaos in my process so I wanted to lean towards introducing the brand to a new consumer while respecting the existing ones.”
Inspired by New York’s High Line and its Dutch designer, Piet Oudolf, Buchanan’s supple see-now-buy-now capsule collection for Fabiana Filippa is modestly metropolitan. The famous West Side promenade – a converted freight rail line turned aerial public park – explores the concept of urban architecture being invaded by nature, a notion that seeps into the collection. Buchanan says: “I love the combination of strict architecture and nature, the accessibility as a public park, and the beauty and peace in the middle of chaotic NYC.” Oudolf has had a pretty permanent place on Buchanan’s radar, who describes the naturalistic approach of the gardener as “so pure”.
Working with lasting perennials and greenery, his garden feels somehow out of place amidst the brutalist concrete jungle. Simultaneously though, Buchanan’s own ascent to adulthood spent running amuck around Manhattan impregnates our minds with nostalgia. Together, nature and nurture rein, making it sort of a reverse coming of age, newly imbued with the layered cultural codes of today’s youth rather than clinging onto a more mature and streamlined style.
Titled Highline, the collection sees lightweight trousers, asymmetric blouses, oversized viscose bomber jackets, terry sweatshirts and cotton poplin garments crop up with contrasting textures and timeless appeal. Milky cashmere and mohair make up the most of the range, which also boasts high-octane colour-blocking elements. The knitted accessories are a real favourite of Buchanan’s, whose bum bags, scarves, visors and ball caps braid Filippi’s signature sophistication into objects of true desire.
Photography courtesy of Fabiana Filippi.