A brand review: C.P. Company

A brand review: C.P. Company

Massimo Osti’s stock has risen immensely in the past few years. His work, once associated closely with niche counter culture, has blown onto the world stage as one of contemporary fashion’s current zeitgeists; a standard at which to measure any brand’s output against. Arguably, the recent coverage given to Osti’s abilities is an important and overdue event in the course of fashion history. Whether or not you agree with such a sentiment, the revival has certainly brought the legacy of a truly talented designer to life while diversifying the appeal of early sports-fashion. With a broad back catalogue of lines and pieces it’s hard to know where to begin when looking to dissect Massimo’s career. Of course, it is Stone Island that has received the attention, but it is perhaps it’s precursor, C.P. Company, that deserves the plaudits.

 

Established in 1975 C.P. Company began life as “Chester Perry” printing a small run of silkscreen t shirts, which was an unusual technique in Italy at the time. From that innovation one thing led to another and a full menswear line was formed. It’s purpose? Using their founder’s extensive collection of militaria, C.P. set out to create stylish, functional sportswear. Under this remit Osti and his team set about revolutionising the sportswear industry. They relentlessly tested and developed fabrics which were often lightyears ahead of their time and continue to be imitated to this day.

In terms of the brand’s ascent to prominence in the U.K. you’ve to look towards a little-known Italian subculture the Paninaro for the story. The group, named after the central Milan sandwich bar in which they used to congregate were a wealthy group of young people who valued high end sportswear and consumerism as a signal of modernity in the politically backwards Italy of the late 80s and early 90s. The group were the first proponents of C.P. Company. Their style was adopted by fashion forward Englishmen who would often return to the U.K. with cases full of C.P. Company and other luxury sportswear brands. The Paninaro look became the ‘Casual’ style and remained at the forefront of UK fashion since for the latter part of the last century.

In recent years following a period that, by C.P. Company’s own exceptionally high standards, was challenging, the brand has taken the time to reflect on their roots. From their soul searching a renewed approach to innovation has surfaced with Paul Harvey, former designer at Stone Island, at the helm. Paul’s unique experience working with technical fabrics within C.P.’s sister company positions him ideally to continue Osti’s work. However, Harvey’s not alone, as Massimo’s son Lorenzo oversees the company’s marketing, keenly restoring C.P. Company’s positioning in the market while narrating his father’s immense legacy.

It’s safe to say that the brand has worked tirelessly to bring themselves back to the forefront of technical sportswear. Constant referencing of their huge archive along with revivals of classic pieces and the addition of various new silhouettes to the collection have ensured that C.P. Company once again appear the jewel in the Osti sportswear crown.

One of the true success stories of C.P. Company’s excursions into fabric development is the Cristal material so coveted by the brand’s cult following. Affectionately known as the “toffee wrapper”, it has returned to the brands collections for recent seasons, much to the delight of C.P. enthusiasts. The fabric is remarkably similar in appearance to a classic toffee wrapper and remains one of the most desirable materials in the brand’s roster. Early pieces constructed in Cristal by both C.P. and Stone Island are rare and can fetch huge prices from collectors. Cristal’s glossy surface shimmers creating a “three dimensional chromatic effect”. This is achieved by finishing the nylon fabric with a prismatic polyurethane film, which also provides a wind and water resistant coating.

This season the Lightweight Toffee Overshirt returns to the C.P. Company collection. It’s available in four garment dyed colourways each offering a contemporary take on an Italian sportswear classic. A single breast pocket and two side pockets as well as the fabrics inherent water and wind resistance offer true utility while the dying process makes these ideal garments for a vibrant summer look. Of course the C.P. lens adorns the left sleeve for the unmistakable finishing touches. We’d recommend using the overshirt as a layering piece, both versatile and bold, to complete your look. Get yours now at Tessuti.

 

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