Posted in Archive, on September 12, 2015
In 1985 Massimo Osti designed a series of jackets and trousers for a new label called 'Coast to Coast'; his work on these designs, as well as an entirely new wool treatment, inspired him to create an innovative and more formal clothing line called C.P. Collection.
The name was derived from Osti's desire to create every element required to complete a man's wardrobe. Along with tailored pieces such as classic blazers and camel overcoats, he also designed garments as diverse as baggy nightshirts and silk underwear.
The secret to all the innovations within C.P. Collection was Massimo's ability to treat materials in unique ways. He became passionate about the feel of the fabrics he used and was particularly fond of an old tailcoat in his archive that had a peach skin feel, almost like velvet. His desire to replicate this effect resulted in his development of a new emery brushing technique; this treatment allowed him to create 'Velvet Wool', which he went on to use throughout the suiting in C.P. Collection.
As this formal line developed, Osti began to treat the cottons and silks he used in such a way that they lost all their rigidity; he named these fabrics 'Church Cotton' and 'Shining Silk', and began to wear pieces manufactured from these materials on a daily basis. Massimo wanted to provide everything for a man's formal outfit; he aimed to create pieces that were elegant and refined, yet easier to wear than the generic formal attire of the time.
He did this through enhancing the softness and looseness of the materials and constructions he chose; he also began to design C.P. Collection with increasingly precious fabrics, as the cost savings of industrial production methods allowed him to invest in acquiring more valuable materials. He also invested in immaculately packaging each piece to accentuate the sense of refinement that became synonymous with the collection.
One of the collection's early presentations was held in the Studio Marconi art gallery of Milan, where it was exhibited in a wardrobe designed by Osti himself. This exclusively commissioned piece was inspired by office furniture of the 1940s and it contained an array of coats and jacket as well as cotton, silk and wool shirts, pleated trousers, fine cotton t-shirts, socks, boxer shorts and long silk underwear. When interviewed, Massimo explained the collection by saying that "to be elegant there is no need to have five different jacket models; five different ties are enough, as are a single kind of underwear, not twenty-two... Long underwear made from silk might seem like something for a dandy, but in reality they are functional in winter; otherwise I wouldn't have made them."
(Images courtesy of the Massimo Osti Archive)