Ingo Wilts is apologizing for missing our allotted FaceTime appointment to speak about his Boss Ready to Wear spring 2021 Boss collection Milan.
“It was an emergency—it started raining!” he laughs good-naturedly, when he calls back an hour later. “We have figured it out, but we had to adapt a little.” Wilts and his team had been working hard on the collection in Germany, before moving the collection to the showroom in Milan and carrying out fittings for the last two weeks prior to the show at Palazzo del Senato. Reminded of the logistical stresses of hosting a physical catwalk show, it’s surprising, perhaps, that more designers haven’t opted for digital unveilings of their new collections, especially given the COVID restrictions. Not Boss.
“We were one of the last ones who showed last season, and we are one of the first to show now,” says Wilts, referring to that anxiety-inducing period in February when the coronavirus was tightening its grip on the city as the fashion shows played out. “Coming back to Milan is a show of optimism. Plus, we are German, we have rules, and we will follow the rules for our 133 guests and our staff very carefully.”
Wilts admits he’s over the downtime that lockdown afforded at home in his loft apartment in Germany even if, at first, he rather liked not traveling incessantly. “I started cooking and baking again, exploring this side of myself, and just before lockdown I started running again,” he says. “But then I couldn’t go out so I ran around my loft in circles. I would run around in circles for 45 minutes,” he says. “It was so relaxing, not being constantly on a plane. But now I really miss it.” If he could get away for a holiday, he’d go straight to New York. “My friends there say it’s not the same, but it’s the first time in a long time I have not spent my summer vacation in the U.S. I love that city,” he sighs.
Such radical life changes manifested in the Boss collection, too. “When we started designing this collection last year we were not expecting lockdown and I would have said it was: Tailoring! Heritage!” He gives me some jazz hands across the screen. “But we had to adjust everything. We still have the tailored side, but we pushed the casualization.
This collection is more casual than ever for Boss.” Fans of a well-cut suit shouldn’t despair: There are several long-line styles in the collection, in camel and pale blue, with elegant, gently rounded shoulders and trousers with just the right amount of slouch. But just as convincing are the pairings of suit jackets with luxurious cargo pants and flat hiking sandals, of a double-faced leather coat with a hoodie and tracksuit trousers—a new, more laid-back prospect for this most meticulous of brands, and one which suits it.
There are moments of whimsy, too: Instagram scrolling led to a collaboration with the London-based artist William Farr, whose wire and flower sculptures have been translated into delicate floral prints that wend their way in hand-stitched embroidery across crisp white suiting. Knitwear in forest green feels equally fresh, a new color for Boss. But there are plenty of old favorites.
“We repurposed a lot of fabrics in the stockroom. My team is totally into it; even for the sportswear pieces they used smart clothing fabric and put a bonding behind it to make it feel new.”Ingo Wilts
In a further green-minded move, the brand will donate the 40 acacia trees that decorate its show space to the city of Milan. What won’t change? The familiar exhaustion that comes once a show has wrapped. After the last guests have left, Wilts will be taking two days to decompress in Milan. He grins at the prospect, positively relishing being in another city again. “I’m so excited!”