Mean Cuts

Milanese duo 6267 sews up the masculine vision of womenswear.
By Grandin Donovan
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For a duo that has been compared to Balenciaga, Valentino, and Dior, Roberto Rimondi and Tommaso Aquilano, the men behind Milanese upstart 6267 are surprisingly demure. Roberto, tall, shy, and tight-lipped, seems eager to get back to bed rather than deal with an upcoming luxury tradeshow. Tommaso, who has a more boyish pluck, apologizes for his English before warming into an animated explanation of the pair's work. Despite taking first in Vogue Italia's "Who Is On Next" competition last year, they lack any prima-donna tendencies and present themselves as modest, genial, and serious Italian tailors. Introduced eight years ago while working at Max Mara, Roberto and Tommaso continued on at other houses before launching 6267 (named for Roberto's summer camp clothing ID number) in 2004. With its strength of line, retro lashings, and Vogue Italia spotlight, 6267 turned industry heads, and was tapped to revamp aging cashmere label, Malo.

Each of us has his own experience, his own story," says Tommaso. "Roberto is grounded, and I am more of a dreamer.

Tommaso and Roberto's creative process tends to oscillate between collaboration and individual work. Each season, the choice of fabric is their critical first step. Following extensive research and meetings with suppliers and producers, they discuss what they can realize with their textiles, table initial ideas, and then develop their own concepts into sketches, reconvening later to examine what they've come up with. "We compare and work together," says Roberto. Adds Tommaso, "We are constantly checking in with each other."
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"Each of us has his own experience, his own story," says Tommaso. "Roberto," who previously designed for Prada, "carries the bag of the technician—he knows how to structure a woman's jacket, from a special point of view that comes from prêt-a-porter. I carry more the vision of couture; he translates the material, the assemblage. He is grounded, and I am more of a dreamer." This interplay produces their most common praise: that they produce ready-to-wear clothing with the conceptual rigor and quality of line typically found in couture.
6267's first two collections were notable for their high-waisted, slim-cut silhouettes, expert tailoring, and attention to detail. Fall 2006 offered mid-century luxury juiced with '80s flash. Feather and fur coats capped a collection of leggings, capes, high-rise riding pants, strictly cut dresses, and pleated skirts paired to wasp-waisted jackets—all grounded by a mellowed palette of black, gray, flesh, and brindle.
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Our identity is always the same," says Tommaso. "The line rests always on the construction and the research of the fabrics. Every season we have different input from what is current, but the severity remains.

The spring/summer 2007 collection reached back to flapper-flounce cues from the '20s and '30s, but returned for another dose of '80s edge. While the aggressive cuts and sharp jackets remained, the more natural fabrics of previous seasons yielded to techier textiles. Lurex; cotton, linen and satin crepe spun with metallic thread; deco geometric prints; and micro-bead embroidered mesh appeared in an iridescent palette of black, bronze, silver, lapis lazuli, and smoky quartz.
"The starting point was Sonya Delaunay and the Futurism movement," says Tommaso. "In film, we were inspired by the independent spirit of Louise Brooks." While the '80s can be seen in the pair's leggings, fluid drapes, and disco-diva fabrics, their influence is as much in spirit as it is in form: Tommaso notes Malcolm McLaren and the confluence of punk, rock, and pop music, along with Hunger-era Catherine Deneuve, as significant touchstones. Overall, their collection—combining long and short jackets, velvet bras, satin slip-dresses, low-slung shirts and slim pants—succeeded in binding the '30s' and '80s' notions of luxury and future-glam into a compelling whole.
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Despite their different strengths, Roberto and Tommaso are united by a common aesthetic approach, what Tommaso calls, "the desire to see femininity in a masculine light," to juxtapose harder cuts and structured designs with more fluid fabrics. They are adamant that, however their line evolves, they will adhere to this fundamental conceit. "Our identity is always the same," says Tommaso. "Our idea of combination, of mixing. The line rests always on the construction and the research of the fabrics. Every season we have different input from what is current, but the severity remains."
For information, go to www.6267.it.
Milanese duo 6267 sews up the masculine vision of womenswear.
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