In the morning of Day II at Milan fashion week the BDMOTP team visited Santoni on the via Montenapoleone, a street in Milan which is to men’s fashion and style what Beale street in Memphis TN is to blues music, and indeed got the full Monte in that we were given a grand tour of the spacious premises located on the second floor above what must have been yet another palazzo – a tour not easy to forget, for what makes Santoni so impressive is not just the incredible array of leathers, materials, shapes, styles, forms in shoes and other (mostly) men’s footwear used, no, what makes this unique brand grander than any other shoe store around (only Berluti may be comparable but then only in quality but not in variety) is that all the myriad types of collections present from showroom to showroom from display to display are all – and without exception – are made and finished with the highest possible quality which you will be able to find anywhere.  It is therefore not just the variety of the collections or the high quality itself, but the veritable royal & voluptuous abundance of high quality which makes Santoni so rare.

At Santoni, le roi c’est moi!

Fox-fur covered moonboots; a flat folding Derby; red, yellow, and blue crocodile loafers; penthouse slippers; triple-buckled riding boots made to fit a Machiavellian prince; knee-high buckle-strapped sandals; spiked ankle-high ghetto boots; many traditional classics, classics, classics with loads of elegance; satin strings on color-faded city walkers: What we find here at Santoni and what we are shown with much love and passion by the proud makers & sales personnel is an incredible collection of footwear which can only be described as baroque or rococo in its abundance & variety and to which no set of pictures we take – no matter how beautiful – will do poetic justice.

Santoni has 500 employees and most of whom are creative artisans & craftsmen working daily from a traditional production facility located in the provinces of the middle of Italy, and has stores in Milan, Rome, Cannes, St. Moritz, Tokyo, Beijing, Guangzhou, Dong Guan, Shanghai, Doha, Moscow, and, indeed, Baku.  Santoni works in cooperation with a famous car company on the luxury finishing of car interiors as well as with a luxury watchmaker on watch bands. As for price the different collections come in three different ranges: affordable, high-end, and a category which BDMOTP will qualify here as Special!

For the man who loves a high design quality shoe, and who cannot find the type of shoe that he is looking for anywhere else, the Via Montenapoleone in Milano today is calling you. Please let it be known that Santoni is not just worth one trip or one visit as a luxury destination if you would go today, but that Santoni will be a place which you will visit time and again for the rest of your life – because these shoes will wear on you and once they are yours, you are guaranteed to come back to Milano to have them remade, tailored, or changed, or replaced.

In fact, shoes are more personal than cars. So if you are the type who only trusts one good and old car dealer where you have been for the longest time ever since you can remember, then you will be safe coming to Santoni in Milano knowing that this new relationship will not end any time soon.

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Posted  by Sandro Joo and photos by Paloma Canseco.

This Neopolitan brand Kiton dates back to 1968, and continues headstrong into AW15 with a beautiful, elegant collection. The Milan Uomo AW15 line, reminiscent of Downton Abbey with it’s structured, formal lines, double breasted lapels and pea coats is launched into the 21st century by way of layers, layers and more layers. Combing British tailoring with Italian class, the strong lines and warm materials like tweed and wool will wear well for winter. In addition to gorgeous garments, Kiton presents the “Milletrecento Mani” (which means thirteen hundred hands in English), a photo exhibit dedicated to many years of Italian fashion.

Plaid has a strong presence in the collection, and pops of bright purple, evergreen, velvet and pink make the collection stand out from the usual black-and-brown basic fall color palette. I predict, after seeing the London and Milan menswear collection, that we will enter Autumn of 2015 filled with color, adding a little excitement to this next season of colder weather.

Not sure where to find Kiton? Never fear, as they have recent and coming openings in Macau, Chengdu, Zurich, Houston and San Francisco, clearly targeting the Asian and US markets.

BDMOTP favorite: Blue and white tweed overcoat

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Posted by Lori Zaino and photos by Paloma Canseco.

The year is 802,701 AD – the 8,028th century – and life as we know it has seriously devolved, regressed, if not warped into something entirely un-recognizable : It is the grand premise of the old novel by H.G. Wells called The Time Machine, in which a protagonist travels to a distant future searching for – what else – love! When he arrives he finds that the earth has changed into the Garden of Eden where everyone lives in peace and happiness except for that somewhere amidst the flowers and the fruit trees there stands a gigantic monolithic anomaly – the Morlock Sphinx – a giant face with an ominous expression and peering eyes in the middle of a lush and serene landscape from which the peaceful denizens of a future Elysium shy away from casting as much as a single look for some mysterious and strange reason.  And this is where an eerie story about Philipp Plein Men’s AW 15/16 starts, for unbeknownst to all deep beneath a far distant future hollow earth there dwells a distorted & menacing but humanoid lurking danger – creatures who cannot stand the sun and who shy away from the clear light of day…

The creatures in this story from 1895 are called Morlocks and because the description of what is presented in this old book so uncannily resembles the themes and stage of the Phillip Plein show (themed Warriors), we’ll give you the Wikipedia entry:

Morlocks are a fictional species created by H. G. Wells for his 1895 novel, The Time Machine who dwell in the world of AD 802,701 in a troglodyte civilization, maintaining ancient machines that they may or may not remember how to build. Their only access to the surface world is through a series of well structures that dot the countryside of future England. Morlocks are troglo-faunal humanoid creatures, said to have descended from humans, but by the 8,028th century have evolved into a completely different species, said to be better suited to their subterranean habitat.

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And so it goes expressed as in one single paragraph on the Phillip Plein runway on this dark & damp Saturday winter night in Milano, where everyone is trying to get in except the pope: So for fashion’s sake let’s call the PP warriors Warlocks instead of Morlocks, those dark & menacing underground creations are all slowly paraded – or should we say romped & slumped – out of the gaping mouth of a large black monolithic feline idol – the Morlock Sphinx – with one thousand guests present seated 7 rows high in a hexagon cage fighting arena and called into worshipping and venerating the idol silently waiting for sacrifices to come as a perpetual and incessant droning of 4 morose repetitive tones appears to warn of imminent danger.

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With this ambiance in mind here is what then follows during, before, and after the show in rapid succession:

  • Italian fashion icons Franca Sozzani (fashion executive) & Anna dello Russo (fashion journalist) show up on Front Row.
  • Followed by Italy’s most ‘famous’ self-promotion power-blogger Chiara Ferragni who shows she likes the attention of cameras by parading up and down front row for all who care to see (who is she again?).
  • Who is then subsequently most marvelously upstaged by no one less than Paris Hilton who is, surprise, surprise – a little camera shy, as she tries to go unnoticed in the crowd on the second row, but who now ‘reluctantly’ decides to oblige a swarm of un-expecting paparazzi by slowly standing up and offering everyone a short glimpse of her beautiful self (she looked a little tired but handled it marvelously) as she accepts catcalls coming from the crowd in broken English: ‘I love you Paris!’
  • A flickering fast lightshow then introduces the lowering of a cage from the ceiling around the ring while the eyes of the Morlock Sphinx menacingly start to follow the crowd with two searching torch lights.
  • Now the show begins with a ringmaster in the fighter cage introducing two ultimate fighting type warriors (UFC style) who begin to do battle surrounded by– not again but aye – several blonde ring girls dressed in black and wearing eye-straps holding up points scored for each landed punch.
  • Followed by the introduction of – yay – Snoop Dogg who after performing a great version of Snoop Dogg Who Am I disappears again.
  • Then and only then Philipp Plein’s grand collection of Warlocks – in plain ornate warrior collection and dress (it is the theme of the show) – slowly start rolling out of the mouth of the giant idol morbidly plodding around the cage fighting ring to the classic sounds of Johann StraussBlue Danube Waltz.
  • Which’ friendly sounds and tones are then interchangeably replaced and alternated by the dark sound of black barreled war drums played by drummer warlocks dressed and body-painted as aboriginal Australian warriors (or as latter day Kiss-loving-glam rock fans) all standing around the fighting cage ring and ready to do battle.
  • Until…

Yes, until what exactly? Because the ring show is so overwhelming that it not just takes away from the viewer’s focus and appreciation of an otherwise very interesting collection, but that it actually leads to the collection itself being marginalized to a point of no return of interest for fashion – as Snoop Dogg is now coming in for an encore and as two VJ turn tables are lowered from the ceiling into the cage fighting ring for two VJ’s to do ‘battle’. Yay, and BOOM fireworks and pyrotechnics!

Continuous battle continues! Everything battles in this show. Paris tangles with the girl from The Blonde Salad and it is no contest. The ringmaster battles with the crowd and loses it completely. The warlock models do battle with their own show and seem on the losing end. Snoop Dogg does not need to do battle because many people are probably here to see Snoop Dogg – just fine – first and the collection only second – and maybe rightfully so because he is great. The only two real fighters are in the ring but are fighting a faux battle, a first fight at 50 percent and the next fight at 60 percent. They never really fight. The blonde black laced & styled dancing & prancing girls are battling each other for attention. The warlock drummers are awfully good and win the crowd as the crowd gazes away from the warlock models.

Yet there are three warlock models whose image is powerful enough to manage to break through the mold of the show:

  • an intimidating dressed-in-leather-and-black Mogadorian (yes look it up) who carries a black baseball bat menacingly in his right hand – his mullet showing us that he means business and that it is better to never meet his type on the street
  • two model–warriors wearing spiked Mad Max helmets – the old gladiator look but styled towards a post–apocalyptic future set decidedly in 802,701 AD
  • another warlock model in black and white showing a mixed-media version of a traditional American Football outfit (which of course includes different forms of padding and protection – another signature of the fashion part of the show)

But for the rest the poor models are getting buried (to stick with the vernacular) in the grand battle royal which is this gem of – what is supposed to be – a FASHION show. Such an interesting and daring collection but no match for the pyrotechnics shooting up to the ceiling from the rafters and from the top of the cage. No vest nor handle – pun intended – on the two ultimate fighting champs. Probably getting only a few glimpses from Paris on row two. The only thing that wins out in the end here is a twilight of the idols.

Thus the Philipp Plein show notes state that his men’s collection ‘mirrors the adrenaline-fueled aesthetic of the challenges that men face nowadays’. But make that rather benzene – not adrenaline – as Rammstein would have it – or kerosene as in rocket fuel – or perhaps even glycerine: A nitroglycerine-fueled aesthetic anyone? Who likes to carry a black baseball bat around in the hood?  Hghn!? A spiked Mad Max mask maybe? A roller-ball football outfit in black & white?

Let’s hope BDMOTP doesn’t get – pun intended – blacklisted from the next show for writing this scathing article, because the show was absolutely great – but just too much over the top in order to do real justice to the quality and creativity of the collection. It’s sad because the fashion creations by Philipp Plein – including and not limited to the manifold marvelous materials that were used – were most definitely worthy of study and observation in more detail – had we been given a chance.

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But no offence is taken and all is forgiven – tout est pardonné – because BDMOTP, in order to cover this show, crossed the Alps from a sad Paris still in shock from violent events earlier this month, to a happy, peaceful, and dancing Milano partying in grand style so that we do not only feel privileged & grateful to have witnessed this quite wonderful underground presence – a descent à l’enfer – of a dark, brooding, and morose group of warlocks, lead by Snoop Dogg & conceived by Philippe Plein for a grandioso show and a reverse-slam-dunk after-party: No, we feel very lucky!

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Posted by Sandro Joo and photos by Paloma Canseco.

Day 1 of Milan Uomo fashion week and for a first showroom presentation we are visiting a flagship store opening of Caruso, home to some of the best and finest men’s suits that this world has to offer. And for this you have to come all the way to what very well may be the world’s epicenter of stores best equipped and suited for great men’s fashion:  the Via Gesu in Milano! This is where classic Italian elegance for men meets great style and great tailoring.  It’s that secret haven for men you somehow always knew that existed somewhere but from which you never knew where it was. So come on and take a trip to Milano and find out for yourself now that you know where it is.  And visit Caruso, because you will not be disappointed if you are looking for the best of style & class that Italian menswear has to offer.

Caruso’s new store is a concept store which actually allows for a man’s very own performance in the grand old tradition of the Italian theatre and opera. For all of life is a stage and every day that passes we are want to stand on it – but this will not be possible without great clothes and some good style – if you are a man. So very ingeniously the Caruso concept store in Milan features a build–in theatre & opera house – but in reverse, where YOU are the protagonist because you are given the view not from the theatre hall onto the stage but from backstage through the curtains into the grand hall itself where all people are sitting and staring in your direction. It is the place indeed where every self-respecting man understands he needs to be if he wants to be successful as a gentleman in life. Right behind the stage ready to enter and get a piece of the action of the grand opera which is life eternal, not in hiding, but right there where action is no longer avoidable, where you will need your best dressed suit when everybody will be watching you as the curtains are slowly opening up. Backstage – before the opening of the Act:  A place for real men only!  At Caruso’s in Milan.  A marvelous concept indeed and perfectly fitting for the style and elegance that Caruso represents.

As for the Caruso style and menswear itself, a later article will follow this one, as BDMOTP visited the Caruso showroom presentation at another location the following day. But safe to say for now that Caruso also has a store in New York, on 45 East 58th street, if you cannot make the trip to Milan any time soon.

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Posted by Sandro Joo and photos by Paloma Canseco.

This is a vibrant, colorful and interesting collection which BDMOTP would qualify first and foremost as younthful.  Yes the designer Mr Ooi is young but somehow the show and his collection for fall winter 15 /16 seem to hark back – to the future. There is a lot of deconstruction going on the runway here in Milan Day 1 with all types of materials in Mr Ooi’s rather marvelous comedia dell’arte cacophonia of creative menwear design. He uses fabrics as well as molded rubber as well as faux fur, faux leather and bonded sequins in the form of scales. Other trends noted were wool, unorthodox tailoring, different cuts and seams, a whole array of contrasting colors (although black & white with red stand out), everything cut up, only to be re-cut and cut again by the seams as well as across and over the surface, the language in this paragraph so much cut up and deconstructed so as to mimic the event itself; yet all this with grand focus and overarching purpose because what you see and witness by the end of the show is something which trend spotters usually look for in vain in movies (the Hunting Games or I am Number Four), in the latest game releases, in buzzed updates on social media: A clear vision of the future!

We imagine college sophomores or young working men in 2022 when style is no longer related to fashion. Because all style is home made every day. Every man has become a creator and a designer. Every man has a three D printer at home and each man by will and whim creates his own and latest style by adding several substances, layers, materials, cuts, patterns to create a suit or why not a dress for himself – created on computer the night before only to roll it all out on the 3D printer the next morning before going to school or work. Yes I do want to wear large red bands across my heavy rocker boots tomorrow (great signature in the collection this) and yes I do want that retro gothic trench coat made out of rubber because today I want to freak out my teachers a little bit – so that my friends will be proud. Oh and I like wrist bands across my coat arms, and a wooly collar scarf for good measure, and this pattern I am using was designed as non-repetitive last night at home – it took me a while to create. Let’s have the computer cut across the seams in odd geometrical figures for this is the space and information age and we are all made of stardust. The cosmos has become our home and creation our destiny. And lest we forget that it is indeed 2022, that whole thing with the blurred-lines started a decade ago. But today it is normal that men are wearing dresses and skirts and we love it.  We are looking to ‘break the classic menswear silhouette’ (words from the Edmund Ooi press release for the show) after all. Today we all adorn our mixed-media suits adjusted each day for the purpose of each scheduled meeting – just as we would love to have them. You see, in every man, deep down, there is a stylist and a creative designer and it was Edmund Ooi seven years ago in 2015 who first dared to express this with so much passion in his grand vision of what the future for men’s style may hold. Because in order to be able to build and to create, we must first learn how to deconstruct.

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Posted by Sandro Joo and photos by Paloma Canseco.

Corneliani is show of the week Fashion Week Milan 2015 opening on Friday January 17 and there is a damp and rainy cold hanging over Milan – climate conditions ‘adverse’ – so that we are here to see the Corneliani Fall / Winter 2015 show appropriately helps with the ambiance because deep inside the Villa Eugénie, which is really an old Pallazio, it is warm and comfortable despite the smell of musky underwood emanating from the fallish and winterish underground created for the show on the runway – a nice touch for the gents to walk on leading to and fro a gigantic and strangely contorted snow covered tree which would remind of something out of Tim Burton’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, if it were not for solemnly pleasant piper and piano music accompanying the show’s choreography.

The tree signature comes back on several sweaters or pullovers during the show’s performance which rhymes and fits in with the overall ambiance of what is being presented – we see many shades of grey (there are 23 shades imaginable in what some call the fourth spectrum, all that is within range of black and white), and interestingly as the stand out color to emphasize the large range, some ochre and very little burgundy.  All designers these days are very much aware that in order to make one thing stand out from others (in this case all the shades of grey) you need something in the opposite (some ochre here, a little burgundy there). This would not work well in military parades but it works magic on the runway at a good fashion show.

As for style the show is dedicated to what the creator calls a rendez-vous with a prince. But if all things princely were the reason for the show then it was hard to spot.  Indeed the classic Corneliani style and look is deft, daft, stylish, neat, nice, elegant, aye, even chic comes to mind, and there are some old aristocratic overtones to be found in the way these coats, capes, sweaters, pullovers and gentry trousers flow discretely in all their myriad forms and perfect fits, but the Prince did not come to mind once except perhaps in the materials that are being used to fabricate this truly wonderful collection. But that was good.  Because a rococo or baroque approach to things would have ruined this discrete but beautiful show.

As it stood – only the hidden color burgundy and the contortions of a mangled tree aspired to new princely heights – but when the models returned for one last stand on the runway their faces all aligned with military precision gazing into the same direction one thing became clear: This show oozed class, and in the cold of winter or in the misery of the fall, to brave the elements, you do not need to dress so warmly as long as you dress WELL and in impeccable Italian style – in Corneliani of course.

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Posted by Sandro Joo and photos by Paloma Canseco.

“Make art, not war”. Couldn’t have said it better myself, Mr. Frankie Morello. This was the theme for the SS15 collection, with models sporting appliquéd pictures of Italian artistic statues on shirts and jackets. The designs were definitely creative, featuring 3-D plexiglass sewn onto blazers for a cubism effect (Picasso, anyone?).

A few shots from backstage:

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And of course, the official “slogan” of the show: Make Art, Not War.

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The graffiti prints and the grey juxtaposed with bright tones such as orange and blue made for a real “pop” of vibrance. Boxy and straight silhouettes seem to be trending for SS15 and Frankie Morello was not far behind in this aspect. The designs were distinctly modern, and many garments even sported the message on many a shirt or jacket “Make art, not war”. According to the designers, “art is important for fighing intellectual  apathy”. And that it is. Anyone who says fashion is not art…is wrong!

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Posted by Lori Zaino and photos by Paloma Canseco.

The Tillmann Lauderbach show was inspired by a Joel Shapiro exhibition in New York City. The exhibit showcased cubed sculptures created from wood. Tillmann loved the randomness of the pieces and was inspired to design his collection in a similar, unexpected way.

Summer sweaters, long spring coats, trenches, and short pants were ever present within the collection. Boxy silhouettes also ruled the designs.The sunglasses were collaboration with Rigards Eyewear, and the glasses were sculpted out of buffalo horn. The leftover horn was also used to create jewelry and accessories for the collection. These clothes are for an edgier man, one who prefers to dress in a simple yet modern style.

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Posted by Lori Zaino and photos by Paloma Canseco.

Ermanno Scervino is always one of my favorite runway shoes to attend, and this season did not disappoint. Polka dots were a reoccurring theme, however I never felt it was overdone or overly feminine.

Our lovely photographer, Paloma, was given a backstage pass for the show, and she was able to capture some great behind-the-scenes photos for BDMOTP before the show began.

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Scervino showcased in my mind, one of the garments he truly does best: coats.Trenches, blazers and other light summer coats ruled the runway, and I loved each and every one of them. Several boasted linings of bright colors, like orange or green, giving a more basic look a bit of summer brightness. Houndstooth and herringbone patterns also made an appearance which was fun, because typically we only see that style in fall or winter looks, but it definitely worked. The collection was excellent down to every details, shoes included.

At the end of the show, all the models walk out together as a group, showing the cohesiveness of the collection.

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Posted by Lori Zaino and photos by Paloma Canseco.

The Dirk Bikkembergs Menswear Summer 2015 Sport Couture collection was inspired by the triathlon: swimming, cycling and running. The looks were clearly sporty, with figure hugging shapes and several fabrics like spandex or neoprene, which lend themselves to sport as well. Some items more formal, such as suits or street wear still carry the casual and athletic aspect of the looks. Other trends appearing were distressed leather jackets and sophisticated dark denim looks. Of course, items more directly encasing the sport vibe, such as swimsuits, windbreakers and rain coats also walked the runway.

Enhancing the sporty theme, the runway was lined with men in white body suits, ready to run, swim and bike. You have to admire Dirk Bikkembergs for creating a theme and really sticking with it.

BDMOTP favorite: evergreen windbreaker, leather jackets

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Posted by Lori Zaino and photos by Paloma Canseco.

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