This isn’t the first time we’ve championed dressing up for a flight, and it won’t be the last, but here’s a perfect example of what we mean…
You’re looking at the Italian National Team stepping off their flight to Brazil for the World Cup. In three-piece suits.
It’s one dapper sight to behold, and unlike Team USA who, naturally, opted for sweatpants—okay, it wasn’t that bad, they wore sleek, Nike-issued warm-ups—the Italians look like they’ve dressed for the occasion. Because it’s not just about getting to the tourney, it’s about arriving on the grandest of world stages and looking like you’re supposed to be there—before even stepping foot on the pitch.
The international menswear cognoscenti are descending upon Florence as we speak, for the 84th installment of Pitti Immagine Uomo.
And as any well-read menswear enthusiast will tell you, it pays to know what exactly all the fuss is about (especially if you find yourself flipping through Tumblr or in a heated debate with your tailor in the next few days). So with that in mind, we’ve prepared an A-to-Z primer of talking points and trivia that should get you through the semi-annual spectacle of peacockery.
You may have heard the news of the recent split between Umit Benan and Trussardi ringing across #menswear land over the past few days (it only became official yesterday). And while it all sounded like just another power move in the tumultuous business of fashion, anyone with a vested interest in their tailoring—whether or not you’re keeping an eye on the runways—ought to know what it all could mean to them.
Fictional girlfriends aside, there are a lot of great things to be said about the fantastical escapism provided by the Internet.
And there’s no faster escape route than Tumblr. So since it’s Friday and we’ve got a long weekend ahead of us, we thought we’d help guide you on the pictorial menswear journey you’ll inevitably find yourself lost on, sometime in the next 72 hours. Whether you’re in the mood for super-sprezzatura, American nostalgia or just cool pictures of the extremely fashionable people traipsing around Europe—we’ve got you covered.
There are dive watches… and then there are dive watches—the kind that have been given the stamp of approval from the Italian navy and titans of industry alike.
We’re talking, of course, about the legendary Italian timepieces from Panerai that trace their roots back to 1860s Florence (when the designs were shrouded in military secrecy and tested on top-secret underwater missions).
Luckily, they’re not just tactical timepieces, they’re seriously handsome works of horological art—especially the black Radiomir 8 Days Ceramica, which has all of the telltale signs of Panerai’s rugged Italian-ness and Swiss precision, down to their signature case shape and Panerai P.2002 movement (produced exclusively in-house).
Just in time for your next semiformal scuba trip.
The Italian upstarts over at Esemplare had us feeling for fall months ago, and finally a few of their jackets have begun to slowly trickle westward (to England, which is good news for those of us without an Italian proxy buyer on call).
Oi Polloi has just received a handful of good-looking numbers in some mossy tones that are right on time for a weekend upstate. This bomber-style jacket in particular has got all of the makings of the perfect fall accomplice—replete with shawl collar that can be turned up in the face of any strong gusts.
At all costs: protect your neck.
Today in Italian shoemakers you never knew existed, meet Green George.
If these suede double monks are any indication—yes, they’re handcrafted and Goodyear welted—this is a brand you should get to know. This mustard-y suede pair of double monks was the standout from the small batch of shoes that just arrived at Por Vocação, but the waxed-suede brogues are also worth consideration as fall nears. Set your radar accordingly.
We’re always singing the praises of grenadine ties. (Let Mr. Bond show you how it’s done.) So here’s a bit of great news: the champions of sensible menswear trimmings at The Knottery have just unveiled a new batch of honeycomb-woven silk stunners in their webshop.
As usual, you’re getting a steal—the grenadine silk is from a legendary mill in Como, Italy, and the ties have been unlined in a way that still ensures a satisfying knot. Another nice touch: the ties come in solid colors (often you’ll find grenadine ties that have a navy base with the primary color woven into it). Like all of the Knottery’s offerings, once they’re gone you may never see them again—so you’ll want to strike while the iron is hot.
Tassel loafers and driving shoes have been getting a lot of love this season—each with their own merits—but this best-of-both-worlds hybrid from the Tuscan cobblers at Arfango is a horse of a different color. You’ve got the suede, unstructured slouchy comfort of the driving shoe paired with the formal finish of a tassel loafer. It’s what you’ll want to be wearing the next time you find yourself tagging along for a semiformal soiree on the Amalfi Coast.
As it typically goes with releases of this nature—midseason, by a lesser-known overseas label—finding a pair of these is going to take a little work (or an Italian translator). So aside from hunting down a proxy, your best bet is to wait for them to wash up stateside—we’d suggest keeping an eye on Barneys, who carry Arfango, but have yet to stock this particular model. Happy hunting.
Swashbuckling never goes out of style.
We’re thinking of Corto Maltese, the hero of a famous Italian comics series that swept through Europe alongside Fellini and Serge Gainsbourg. He’s basically an older, more rakish Tintin, dashing through the Pacific circa WWI, stirring up trouble.
The series never quite reached our side of the Atlantic, but between the nautical vibe and his easy continental charm, he’s inspired more than a few designers in his time. And more importantly, he’s mounting a comeback in the states. Maltese’s most famous book, The Ballad of the Salt Sea, gets a new edition from Rizzoli on Tuesday, complete with a fresh translation.
Fair warning: there will be male earrings.
You can never have too many Italian tie makers.
So we were pleased to get word of a new custom house in Napoli that specializes in digging up luxurious 40-year-old silks. They’re called Passaggio, and their work takes both money and time. Each batch will take nearly a month to get through their factory—if you want it faster, go to the Germans—but in that time you’ll nail down precisely which dimensions, fabrics and finishing touches complement your collection of suits.
Their favorite trick is stitching together a tie from a single piece of silk (most ties are made from two or three separate pieces) for a lighter, more casual drape, an old-world affectation that’s increasingly hard to find.
They’re still a few months away from e-commerce, so they’re working by email—but nothing this good is ever easy to find.
Zuckerberg gets all the attention, but the menswear scene just birthed its very own IPO. And Brunello Cucinelli is about to get even bigger.
This week, Cucinelli started the process of listing his brand on the Italian stock exchange. The result is that by May or June, a third of the company could go onto the open market, bringing roughly $175 million into the Cucinelli family coffers. It’s the first fortune made by the recent boom in Italian menswear, which has led the company to 50% growth in the past few years.
It also means the end of Cucinelli’s status as an entirely family-owned company—one step closer to the Pradas and Guccis of the world—but by our lights, Brunello’s earned a little payday. Hopefully he’ll use it to buy a few new castles.
Those L.B.M. 1911 blazers we showed you last month have finally gotten the lookbook treatment, and the resulting pics are pretty spectacular. They’re also… how to put this… ridiculously Italian.
It makes sense. After all, L.B.M. is a 100-year Milan brand, and not absolutely everything is going to work across the Atlantic. But in the interest of keeping the Italophiles honest, we’ve put together a guide to separate the flashes of menswear brilliance from the flashes of chest hair. Gentlemen, things are about to get real…
There are a handful of brands guaranteed to drive the Italophile bloggers crazy—your Isaias, your Bogliolis—but for some reason, LBM 1911 attracts more lust-worthy glares than any other.
Part of it’s the price point—LBM is the more affordable counterpart to Lubiam, so they manage quite a few aristocratic items for plebian amounts—but it’s also just plain good stuff. Their stock in trade is the subtly checked blazer, but it’s usually a little more windswept than the Cucinelli counterpart—just that much easier to wear.
And if you need firsthand evidence of all that accessible elegance, look no further than their newly arrived spring/summer ’12 lookbook—featuring as many lust-inspiring blazers as we’ve ever seen in one place. Well, at least outside of Yoox…
One of the perks of the Italian Invasion has been a serious uptick in adventurous blazers. Like raw denim before it, an odd jacket can be a great way to dress up without looking like you’re trying to impress the boss—which should make it one of the more versatile items in your closet. But as with any patterned piece, it can be dangerous territory if you don’t know your way around.
So to help you get the most out of your next odd jacket, we’ve put together a quick roadmap of what’s great and what’s risky. It’s simpler than you think…
Part two of five.
As we introduced yesterday, The 12 Original Playboys were a self-proclaimed ‘elite breed of professional pleasure seekers’ who fascinated the world in the 1950’s and ‘60s. They did so with exceptional genes, unparalleled wealth and, as we learn from today’s batch, exquisite style and grace.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Italian equivalent of the preppy ribbon belt.
It comes via Anderson’s Belts. They’ve been producing belts in Parma for almost 50 years (despite the painfully English name), and they’re well-steeped in the tendencies of the local gentlemen of style. Imagine it holding up the bottom half of a khaki cotton suit and you’ll see what we mean.
Hopefully at least one of the half-dozen hues will match your tie.
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