This past summer, during an exceptionably slow day at work, my friend (and former co-worker) Matt spontaneously summed up the entire current menswear wave with one word: “Italiatrad.” While Matt’s impromptu portmanteau was all we needed to kill a day discussing the marriage of Neapolitan and Ivy, after that day I’d practically forgotten about the word altogether, although I’m pretty sure Matt’s been searching for a “real” definition of the word ever since. This past week though, I found Italiatrad back at the forefront of my mind, as I sat there reading the announcement that Antonio Ciongoli was leaving his role as deputy creative director of Michael Bastian to spearhead the creative direction of Isaia’s resurrected diffusion brand, Eidos.
Last week I was fortunate enough to pick up an item that has instantly ascended to the top of my wardrobe-an Isaia Aquaspider sportcoat. The four-season wool jacket is arguably one of the most important items in anyone’s closet, and yes, pretty much every label ever has some variation of it packed into their collections, but to be fair Isaia’s Aquaspider collection is on a whole ‘nother level.
While the name might sound like some rejected comic book character, the Aquaspider is the one of the keys behind Isaia’s indisputable reputation as one of the most innovative brands in Italian tailoring. The material is unique to the label and has become one of their most frequently used fabrics within their collections, and with good reason. In layman’s terms, Aquaspider is water-repellant and stain-resistant, but to put it that simply doesn’t really do the material justice. Unlike most materials that are treated with water and stain coatings as a final step once the garment is completed, Aquaspider is treated during the weaving process which makes the repellants both more concentrated and more natural looking. Another important note about the weave itself is that it’s significantly wider and longer than the average fabric and only one hundred percent Merino wools are used in the fabrication process.
The result is a jacket that is nothing less than gorgeous. While most water or stain resistant materials have an awful plastic-like sheen and texture that can only be compared to that of a garbage bag, the Aquaspider’s hand is soft and oddly organic. There’s no shiny look to the jacket, yet it still catches light just so, showing off a nice dynamic pattern and hue. The thicker weave also gives the Aquaspider on if it’s most desirable attributes-the drape. Aquaspider molds itself around the wearer for a fit that can only really be described as the jacket literally remembering it’s owner’s frame. Isaia might be one of those unavoidable names in modern menswear, and I know that after a while we all have a tendency to start ignoring those brands that become too talked about, but after putting on that Aquaspider for the first time I can assure you Isaia deserves all the attention that they get.