Pietro Filipi Spring/Summer 2012

Featuring designs by movie star Aňa Geislerová, the Czech brand's new collections hit the mark

Národní 31, the flagship store for Pietro Filipi, is a quiet oasis on one of Prague's most bustling corners. A collection of journalists, bloggers and friends gathered there last month to see what's in store for Spring/Summer 2012 courtesy of the Pietro Filipi design team and celebrated actress-turned-designer Aňa Geislerová.

Men's and Women's are located on the ground floor, where the focus is on weekend and casual collections, while the upstairs of the store features more work wear, suits, evening wear and bridal. (Though, to be honest, I think there are better bridal salons or designers in the Czech Republic so, until the cut has a bit of a remake, I suggest skipping it.)

Let’s start with the menswear. The new Flash collection (part prepster, part Martha's Vineyard) evokes city living with escapes into the country or to the seaside. Polos are in striking colors such as cobalt, sunflower, flamingo pink, peony, and kelly green. Swimming trunks in a variety of colors are also available but, should you be leg-shy, these are probably not for you -- they hit a little high on the thigh.

Looking at the racks around the Flash collection, three main themes dominated the space: refined sailor, the sporty guy, and the uptown hipster (part refined elegance, part scrub, equal parts cool). Throughout the three main trends, stripes played heavily -- traditional sailor in navy blue and white, more sporty polos in peony and gray combinations, and, in the uptown category, buttoned-down dress shirts or striped cotton/linen-blended scarves. Lightweight sweaters made in a cotton/silk/wool blend are perfect for the Czech summer, allowing you to still look good on those cool nights. Jackets and blazers were either in a more conservative Jersey cotton or in a sporty neoprene or similar windbreaker-style material. Regardless of the fabric, all jackets/blazers were either of the one-to-two-button varieties or were baseball- or anorak-style. Having a cut a man can be comfortable in, regardless of the fabric, is half the battle of selling to this unique group of individuals -- also known as the male.

The women's collection is located at the front of the store. Bursts of peach, sand, and tan-colored raw-silk three-quarter-sleeved V-neck jackets and A-line dresses are perfect for a garden party or for lunching with friends. Maxi dresses in floral patterns were very similar to those in the archives of the great fashion houses found around the world. The trick has always been to create a floral pattern that is simultaneously up-to-date and classic -- if you fail, it can easily look contrived or cheap. Fear not Pietro Filipi-lovers: the brand certainly succeeds in bringing their floral lilies up to date, taking the traditional schoolmarm maxi dress into a new era. High-waisted cotton skirts with calfskin leather jackets were among my favorites. They were versatile enough not only for the many temperatures of summer, but also for the sheer number of times one can wear the same jacket or skirt in different combinations.

As with the men's collection, the Pietro Filipi designers decided that the resort theme in the women's section should continue into summer. Dark denim and lots of neutrals in either tan or sand stuck to the theme of "sailing away" to French ports of call. Nautical themes inspired bold-striped shirts, trench coats and anoraks, which were all accompanied by discreet details such as roping and brass rivets.

Back at the front of the store, updated versions of our more casual counterparts focused on bright colors like strawberry and lipstick red, in either three-quarter-sleeved jackets, blouses or shirts. I found the pops of black and white to be a relief, as there is only so much bright I can look at before I start to feel ill. A butterfly pattern featured both warm and cool colors, which was cute but a little too busy for me.

Let me start out by saying that I enjoyed the multifaceted line of Aňa Geislerová's collection. Unfortunately, there were too many trends on display for me to draw a sound conclusion about what the "Aňa from Pietro with love" line figured was the most important development for Spring/Summer 2012. There was a cute playsuit in black, a flamenco-style dress in black and white with frills galore, futuristic details like peplum and large pockets at the natural waist in colors like teal, cobalt, chartreuse and strawberry. It started to get confusing when you added in the floral, pastel trend, which consisted of items like an all-white cherry blossom jacket and a multi-tiered, light-colored floral dress, which was beautiful but didn't seem to fit.

I had asked whether or not the collection would debut as a whole or whether it would roll out as vignettes instead, giving the consumer a chance to buy more of the collection over a staggered period. I was told it would debut as a whole, which I personally think is a mistake. Don't get me wrong -- I really enjoyed the collection and it seems that Aňa Geislerová never lets the consumers of Pietro Filipi down -- she's always on trend and allows the consumer to experience another side of fashion that may not be readily available to them, but the current collection was more of a hodgepodge leaving me to wonder: if I had only 3,000 CZK, which item would I buy?

Spring/Summer 2012 was a step in the right direction for this Czech brand. While the Pietro Filipi and Aňa Geislerová women's collections were both original and versatile, the true winner in my book was the menswear. They crossed borders and offered a limited range with finely tuned details and a direction that was easy to understand. While there were some missteps, the Spring/Summer 2012 Pietro Filipi line will be hard to surpass when Autumn/Winter 2012 comes around.

Happy shopping!

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