The best cloths of Spring/Summer 2019

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This is the latest instalment in our series highlighting my favourite new seasonal cloths - providing a heads-up to readers on those that will mostly only be around for six months.

It’s interesting to see how the ranges develop. While Caccioppoli is always great for those wool/silk/linen summer jacketings, and Zegna is the most urban - all dark reds and petrol blues - every season there are small changes, with Zegna looking rather more casual this Spring/Summer for example.

This time I’ve also dropped in a few of the new bunches from English mills that are doing something significantly different - in this case the Indigo bunch from Harrison’s and summer jacketings from Holland & Sherry.

 

Solbiati

Street Lino and TimeOff

A linen specialist, Solbiati isn’t that relevant for Autumn/Winter bunches but comes into its own in Spring/Summer.

It has probably the largest range of plain, lightweight linens out there. So if you like the 8/9oz Italian weight of linen rather than 11/12oz Irish ones (they wrinkle more, but also breathe more) then this is the bunch to go to.

I particularly like the grey tones - such as NS13022 and NS13023. It’s not easy to find a grey linen that works, but if you can then it’s a great substitute for grey flannel in the winter.

The TimeOff bunch from Solbati has their wool/silk/linen range for jacketings, which doesn’t have many subtle checks I’d recommend, but there are some nice plains such as NS12035 and NS12033 (250-260g).

 

Solbiati NS13022
Solbiati NS13023
Solbiati NS12035
Solbiati NS12033

 

Loro Piana

Jackets and Trousers

Loro Piana (which of course owns Solbiati) had less this season that jumped out as interesting and fresh. They normally have something in an orange or lime-green that I’d probably never wear, but is done well enough to make me consider it.

However, looking at the new version of the Tasmanian bunch did remind me how good they are for lightweight summer suits. In the winter I’d want something heavier, but these 250g worsteds are lovely - not too fine, a nice balance of luxury and performance.

Navy and grey is easy - and there is every type in the bunch somewhere - but I personally always like the warmer, more casual colours, like the greige of N691072 or deep brown of N691081.

 

Loro Piana N691072
Loro Piana N691081

 

Piacenza

Dunes

Piacenza now has better distribution in the UK, through Yorkshire Textiles, and I’d recommend looking at them for their camel hair.

There is a whole bunch of just camel hair, called Dunes, and while most of the weights are fairly light, the colours and patterns are more than you’ll find anywhere else. One of the subtler patterns is my favourite, 4/35.

 

Piacenza 4-35

 

Lanificio Ermenegildo Zegna

As I mentioned at top, it’s interesting to see how the Zegna range is becoming a little more casual - most obvious in the way they style the cloths.

Zegna is one of the few mills that includes pictures of models wearing the cloth made up, which can be helpful, in subtle tonal fabrics in particular. In this season’s Anteprima book, there are a lot more polo shirts and knits going under, under those tailored jackets.

I’d pick out 61014 (230g wool/silk/linen) and the deep greens like 61063 (260g wool/linen).

 

Zegna 61014
Zegna 61063

Caccioppoli

Jackets, and Special Cotton and Irish Linen

Caccioppoli is normally my go-to for summer jacketings, and there are the expected variations on subtle-check-over-brown.

The biggest variation is often the texture with these staple cloths, and they do produce different looks. Compare 390103 (290g) and 390135 (250g), for example.

One is a much thicker, coarser yarn, which uses that robustness to have an open weave to let air through. The other uses a finer yarn that is lighter in weight and smoother, but not as breathable as a result.

In terms of looks, its similar to the difference between my Solito and Dalcuore jackets.

Caccioppoli also have a range of Irish linens which is unusual, particularly as they’re lighter in weight than most at 190g, yet still with the stiffness associated with Irish linen.

 

Caccioppoli 390135
Caccioppoli 390103

 

Drapers

Vintage

The Vintage range from Vitale Barberis Canonico was one I saw launch at Milano Unica in February (reported on here), and it’s now carried as a bunch by Drapers.

It is a distinctive collection, with a lot more creams rather than whites, and colours you rarely see in other collections such as a vibrant, grassy green.

If you’re after something different that isn’t too showy, it’s worth a look. I’d pick out 5220 or 5217 (both linen/silk/cotton, 280g).

 

Drapers 5220
Drapers 5217

 

Ariston

Ariston is normally the crazy cousin among Italian mills, and this season is pretty typical. There’s camo, loud windowpanes, even jersey suggested for jogging trousers.

However, there are some nice pieces mixed in too, such as the natural-feeling cream/brown check P102-1, which is a 330g wool/cotton mix.

That has a small amount of polyamide in it, which I don’t mind if the designer feels it’s needed. But I’d steer clear of the ‘high twist’ linens that are 26% polyamide, even if it does have a lovely slubbiness too it like D074-03.

 

Ariston P102-01
Ariston D074-03

 

Harrison's

Indigo

Lastly, highlighting some new bunches (but not strictly seasonal ones) from the English mills, Harrison’s Indigo bunch is worth a look.

Most of it isn’t actually indigo in colour - though there a few at the beginning. Rather, it’s the Harrison’s take on wool/silk/linen jacketings, which here means taking out the silk entirely and offering wool/linen. Apparently it was felt this was more English, without the slight sheen of silk.

Below is a nice green with a shade of indigo: 98217, 8oz, 80% wool and 20% linen.

 

Harrison's 98217

 

Holland & Sherry

Oceania, and Blazer Stripes 

The Holland & Sherry Oceania bunch isn’t new, but it’s a little more experimental than usual.

After the usual patterned jacketings (for which I normally prefer Caccioppoli) there are several cottons in unusual patterns, including the bold slubby stripe of 1619952 (10oz) - which almost has a Japanese feel - and the sugary pink/green/blue stripe of 1619960 (9oz).

The latter feels similar in inspiration to the rowing blazers bunch from H&S, which is certainly catching onto a fashion. The only one I’d wear from that would be a navy stripe like 1919008 (7½oz). Nice that it was my college colours too.

 

Oceania 1619952
Oceania 1619960
Blazer Stripes 1919008
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Alfonso

Hi Simon,
probably you didn’t noticed that the irish linen in the Caccioppoli range is sold at 75cm width not the usual 150cm, so it weights 380g

Anonymous

A lovely survey with the exception of the knock on Solbiati. Besides cotton and linen, they have a third element: soft jacketing, which you can find in their Graffiti collection. This is a fall-winter offering; there’s even a range of flannel. They also have a Winter Cottons book with twills and corduroy with colors and treatment you would not find elsewhere.

Ian A

Hmmm! Brown Glen Check seems to be a current trend!

Harry of Monmouth

……… er……………… nothing new this season from Scabal or Dormeuil ?

ANONYMOUS

Hi Simon,

I am looking for a new summer suit for HK weather and am struggling between two options.

First is a silk blend fabric. It is Moonlight Shimmer from Holland and Sherry (240g 50%Silk 45% Wool and 5% cashmere). Second is HS Crispaire. As I am kind of skinny, I am looking for something that is stiffer and with a good drape.

Which one would you recommend? Cheers

Alex

Simon,

I’m thinking of buying a summer suit and I’m torn between buying one of the peg at drakes or having one made at graham brown. Given that they are of a similar cost point, do you think Graham brown would be able to make a suit in a similar aesthetic to a drakes off the peg suit.

Dr. Michael Sagner

Simon, what’s the best way to order these fabrics?
Thanks, Michael

ANONYMOUS

Hi Simon,

If you have to pick a summer cloth, would you pick HS Crispaire or VBC revenge?

Cheers

ANONYMOUS

Sorry Simon,

I forgot to put Perennial on the list. Out of perennial / revenge / crispaire, which one would you recommend for a summer suit?

Joseph Genuardi

Simon,
Really like these cloth articles. Some of those you mentioned above get a lot of attention in the shop. I think a high-twist performance cloth run down would make a great feature. It used to be only a couple of mills (Minnis, Smith) had this offering. Now almost every one has some version. Could be cool to hear reader input too on feel / performance.

Noel

Is there any cotton/linen blend you would recommend, mainly for trousers? I would prefer a linen blend without wool or silk, mainly because it makes it slightly easier to maintain by doing things like spot cleaning when needed.

Noel

Hi Simon,

Many thanks for your reply. I agree regarding style. My question was a bit confusing, but I was wondering more about which merchants might have linen / cotton blends if I want to go for that sort of cloth.

ANONYMOUS

Dear Simon,

Would you suggest light or dark brown button on a light grey suit?

Thanks.

Henry

Simon, what color buttons you would recommend for off jacket made of Caccioppoli 390135 cloth? Would you prefer The Lining Company Col.7 Fawn or Col. 9R Reddish Dk. Brown? Regards

Stephen Pini

Simon,

I have been looking for a weighty (11/12oz+) wool and cotton blend with a nice twill that I can make into a casual(ish) Neapolitan DB – any suggestions?

When I think of cotton I normally think Caccioppoli but not sure if they do blends as well. I think adding a bit of wool to the mix gives the fabric a little more structure.

Stephen

Richard T

Hi Simon,
I’ve been toying with commissioning a casual summer suit in grey. The Solbiati NS12033 is particularly attractive, but do you think the wool/silk/linen mix would not work for a suit, particularly for the suit trousers?

Anonymous

Simon

I thinking about commissioning a jacket in the below cloth. I’d like to wear it with fresco type trousers. My concern is that the texture is very similar. What are your thoughts? Linen trousers would be an alternative but they won’t hold a crease as well as fresco.

http://www.caccioppolinapoli.it/shop/prodotto/390158-jackets/

Anonymous

Something like a small square gingham shirt? I’m thinking of beige over grey fresco trousers. Thoughts?

Henry

Simon, would you use Solbiati NS13022 for linen safari jacket? Regards Henry

Anonymous

Simon

For a fresco suit to wear at the height of summer, would you fully line the jacket or partially line?

Anonymous

You don’t think the lack of lining will be a problem given the lightness of Fresco?

Anonymous

Yes, breathability is the priority. My main concern is that I’ll lose some of the shape of the suit. Am I being overly concerned about this aspect?

Anonymous

Many thanks for the reply. Do you think suede or scotch grain double monks in a formal last could be worn with a fresco suit? Or are the materials too casual ?

Anonymous

Hi Simon, what do you think of Lanificio di Pray as a fabric mill?

DAVID

Hi Simon
Looking at getting a summer more casual looking suit (patch pocket, relatively unstructured) which can be split up into separates as well as wearing as a complete. i.e, a suit that is versatile enough to dress down
I guess my choices would be between high twist wool, linen, pure cotton suit and then there are some of the mixtures you have mentioned above. The mixtures (wool/silk) seem more “textured” and seem more versatile to dress down?
Would a relatively unstructured jacket and trousers work with some of these wool / linen or wool/ silk / linen mixes? What about the Harrisons Indigo range of mix wool summer cloth?
Can you forsee any issues with using the mixed wool

Anonymous

Hi Simon, may I ask your opinion on the Piacenza Dunes collection? I see you are recommending it for Summer even though it’s a little on the ‘heavy” side for summer at 300gms/10.5oz. Is that because baby camel hair has good air regulation already and would it fit hotter regions (25-30degrees celcius) like Asia? Also, how does it wear in terms of durability? Am thinking of using it for a versatile sports jacket

Anonymous

Hi Simon,

I came across these two blue summer fabrics from Cerruti at my tailor. I got all the basic suits and am looking to expand into the “jacket trouser seperates”area. I am particularly interested in a mid blue jacket to pair with grey trouser (light mid and dark). What are your thoughts on this two choices respectively? The first one is a silk linen wool blend and the second one is wool linen blend.

1.comment image
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Cheers

Anonymous

Thank you for the response. I read this post again and discovered some amazing caccioppolinapoli cloth. As it is quite difficult to have a examine the fabrics myself, I would like to hear your suggestions. Out of these two, which one would you suggest?
http://www.caccioppolinapoli.it/shop/prodotto/390162-jackets/
http://www.caccioppolinapoli.it/shop/prodotto/390127-jackets/

Anonymous

Thank you that was very useful. I tried to look for alternatives. Can this navy glen check paired with various grey trousers for a jacket trouser look in a business casual environment? Also would you recommend a fabric like this?

https://www.instagram.com/p/B2LQQsiBhSH/

Cheers

Anonymous

Hi Simon, this tan colour jacket H&S fabrics caught my eyes but it is 100% silk. How is this material compare to wool/silk/linen blend? How is it in terms of drape, crease resistance and longevity? Cheers.

https://apparel.hollandandsherry.com/en/fabric/use/jackets/1619400-oceania-tan-tonal-large-tartan-check

Carl

Drakes has a pure silk jacket in its current spring collection. I tried it out in a store and it seemed very nice. Not your first summer jacket but maybe your 4th.

Carl

Reda has a linen-wool (57-43) blend in 260 g. Do you this would work in a neapolitan summer jacket? https://www.reda1865.com/row/structured-solid-jacket-and-blazer-jacket-linen-wool-super-110-039-s-brown-260g-126-7523

Rupesh

Hi Simon,

I recently liked the cotton twill by Holland and Sherry in beige, cream and taupe with a weight 420-480g (14-15oz) which are considered as Autumn/Winter fabrics. Do you think they would be serve well in warmer climates as well? As I prefer the heavier fabric as I also agree with your view that they can hold shape and drape better. I am considering for a pair of trousers. My second question is for light beige colour suit, I have seen a fabric by drapers in worsted wool (Batavia weave) for all seasons at 260grams. Would you say this would be a great option in holding shape and drape?

Thanks

Rupesh

Thanks

Rupesh

A.

Hi Simon!
How would you pair the Harrisons Indigo fabric you listed? I’m really interested into :D.

I thought like mid grey Fresco Minnis -49
And surely cotton trousers, but which shade? Do you have a reference of a cream neutral one which works?

What else?

Kind regards

Stanley

Hi Simon

Do you have any good green linen cloth recommend (for trouser), i prefer dark green, i found some light weight (8-9oz) from Ariston , but i cant find any heavier one (11oz).

i know wbill has one, but it is too pricey in Hong Kong, or do you think 8-9oz still okay for making a trouser?

Stanley

Hi Simon

Thanks for the quick reply, so other than dark, lighter shade (compare to dark, but greener) also do good ? in terms of versatile

I can only found that type of colour in cotton

Stanford Chiou

Hi Stanley,

I don’t know how much it costs, but Solbiati’s new Art du Lin bunch weighs 13oz (heavier even than W Bill), and it’s available at the Anthology in Hong Kong.

There are only twelve colors, and only one green: https://bit.ly/3gctRku

You can decide for yourself whether it’s dark enough for you, keeping in mind that a photograph is not always a fully accurate depiction of a cloth’s color.

Stanley

Hi Standford

Many thanks for the information, it is a very nice colour, i will take a look for it