A Classical Touch From Spain

Massimo Dutti offers elegant, nearly timeless items of clothing for men and women.

The Spanish chain Massimo Dutti, which also owns the successful Zara chain, is an interesting addition to the Israel fashion scene. The chain's shop, located in the Ramat Aviv Mall, addresses an older audience and offers a classical collection with slight trendy adaptations. It provides an elegant and not overly busy answer for men and women who are looking for basic and high quality items that last for several seasons.

It is precisely this adherence to the classical and the elegant with a nod to fashionable updates, especially in the cuts and the small details, that makes Massimo Dutti a refreshing fashion option. The items may evoke a certain conservatism but they remain faithful to their wardrobe function as classical and nearly timeless key pieces.

Massimo Dutti - 21122011
Conservative cachet. From the fall/winter collection.

Massimo Dutti's collection for men is a good example of welcome fashion conservatism. From formal wear to casual clothing it is evident that the chain is about more than a bow to trends and seasonal additions. Special attention is paid to the quality of the fabrics and the sewing, from the chino pants to the handsome corduroy trousers in terra cotta orange to the checked shirts in narrow and wider cuts. This is also true of the pleasant knits of a cotton and cashmere blend, the long-sleeved polo shirts and the cardigans that prove that you don't need any twist in order to make them a basic item in every man's wardrobe. Ditto the selection of minimalist and high-quality suits in a narrow cut with narrow lapels.

Fashionable 'musts'

The collection includes classical pieces that in recent years have become a fashionable "must": handsome blazers in the style of the Prince of Wales, Ivy League jackets with suede or leather elbow patches that can function as casual wear for day or evening, coats of waxed cloth that afford a vintage look and are suited to the local weather, handsome duffle coats with rope button loops and a selection of leather aviator jackets with a removal layer of nylon. In addition, nylon quilted coats or warm down coats make the coat department at the chain one of the best options for the Israeli man on the coldest nights of the year.

The accessories group accompanying the collection is not a bad addition, especially in the area of bags for men - a problematic area in Israel that does not get enough attention. In the collection are leather weekend bags, an item useful mainly for those who take short trips for their work, leather moccasins with tassels that are becoming more and more popular here too and a selection of good quality and classical scarves, socks and gloves.

A confused collection

The women's collection, however, looks more confused and problematic. While the men's collection remains faithful to the classical line, the women's collection suffers from tension between the conflicting goals of the designers: Are these classical and timeless clothes for sophisticated women who do not succumb to seasonal whims or is this a fashionable and trendy collection for young women? The collection includes casual clothes alongside more tailored and classical ones as well as leisurewear and undergarments. The selection suggests a lack of focus more than a broad spectrum answer to the range of clientele. The new evening dress is a holdover from the chain's international connection and answers the need for a more elegant and sexier collection for this month's end of year parties. But it is an example of a less successful attempt to match international trends and offer evening dresses that will compete with the new offerings on the market. The collection is colored in hues of gray, black and cream and the Chanel spirit wafting from most of the items does not succeed in rescuing them from the conservative look they project.

On the other hand, the leather jackets in shades of orange, blue and deep red or items like shirts and dresses in combinations with leather offer a classical and up to date option without shouting that they are too fashionable. The emphases in the rest of the collection are details like lapels, plisse sleeves, buttons and bowties that give some of the items a delicate glamour of the sort that makes a statement of quality and prestige but does not look as though it is trying too hard. There are silk wrap shirts in bottle green, gold or petrol blue that hint at vintage influence, or tops and dresses combining deep red and black with leopard print, which give the collection an up to date but minimalist touch. The trousers of thick cotton and jodhpurs evince modest classicism.

The chain's outstanding advantage are the suits and coats departments for men and women. Items like leather and woolen jackets receive special care at Massimo Dutti and prove that quality and prestigious materials do not need to be especially costly. With the approaching start of the sales season, this is a golden opportunity to acquire a coat or a jacket that will last for a good number of years and will not go out of style all that quickly.