Object No.1

Object No.1

OBJECT No.1: Romeo Gigli mohair tonic trousers, flat fronted, tapered leg

That the shy Italian seemed to simply vanish back into the shadow from whence he came makes them all the more alluring.

Today, he has no prominent empire. No current day column inches. Even at the late eighties and early nineties height of his career there was never a diffusion line with a logo.

When the world was looking for a dangerous silhouette and linear architectural tailoring, Gigli was the beautiful, nonchalant, enigmatic other.

His clothes took the other route to making the wearer look attractive, with no arrogance, no overt masculinity and no gratuitous detail. Gigli was the Italian tailor who had the confidence to swerve the trope, when typically, Italian tailoring embraced flamboyance and celebrated exuberance.

This was clothing that felt conjured out of a Sicilian mezzotinte yet felt almost uncomfortably contemporary. It always a provoked a delayed response. This, remember, was an era dressed in a deafening scramble of Michiko, Gaultier Junior and Mugler. Gigli was much, much more subtle. It was sartoria that felt less designed than simply found.

Mohair tonic Romeo Gigli cigarette-cut trousers in impeccable condition. The sheen of the cloth is as lustrous and liquid as the day they were guiltily carried out of Browns for the cost of a weeks rent. The dates are fuzzy, but let’s assume late eighties. They were worn solidly through an episode of hedonistic abandon. They made it through. And now here they are being discussed as a definer of timeless and provocative style. They make for pretty good value if you put it like that.

They would probably have been worn with, at the time, a pair of Prada loafers, maybe even a very early pair by Patrick Cox. But I imagine what they would look like worn in a contemporary take with a pair of white cotton Vans. With a pair of bitter-chocolate Fabiola Huarache sandals, they would look incredible.

A beautiful object is there to be repurposed endlessly. These simple trousers from a different millennium do just this.

Alexander Coggin is an American photographer living in London.