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This is hot stuff folks. The hottest models. The hottest colors. The hottest patterns & designs. The hottest fabrics. And it oozes class because it is all Italian made. In fact, the brand is so edgy that you cannot deny it to have a definite wow factor. We’ll explain it as it is still not too late to discuss summer 2015 for one collection that you really do not want to miss out on. We’re introducing Etro from Puglia in Italy: The masters of cashmere design and wild, wild colors.

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These pictures should speak for themselves as you notice the plain variety of Mediterranean bright colors but there is much more than meets the eyes here because these colors are created by Etro according to what BDMOTP will call the uncertainty principle – each color or dye is created in organic fashion – the Etro colors are all grown.  Which means that each color ends up being unique and cannot be framed or cast into stone or words.  This is uncertainty principle number one.  For example: As for whites some of the following materials are used:  Bamboo, Hemp, Nettle, and yes, even regular organic Milk. The concept here is that each fabric worn is also a luxury good, or precisely, and if you so wish – a jewel of its very own kind.

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Etro owns a collection of 150 cashmere shawls dating back to the time period of 1810 / 1880 and the cashmere patterns that can be found in the collection have become the DNA and signature of the luxury brand. Yes Etro makes accessories and perfumes as well — they have a lifestyle concept — but any brand that makes jewelry out of its fabrics will be remembered first and foremost for how things dressed & worn will look and shine.  Thus Etro has adopted the Paisley symbol as a universal mark of excellence. Widely adopted around the world in many different cultures around the globe the origin of the famous pattern harks back to the original form and shape of the date fruit. There is an element of inscrutability to its shape. And from this vague and ambiguous form Etro creates and finds a thousand other shapes for its patterns and its design. None of them really meant to be known or cast in stone. A large and dense fog of shapes and forms, unsettled, yet various, but infinite in its inclusions. The idea is to create exclusivity of product by in-determination of form and shape. Uncertainty principle number II.

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By now you are probably thinking ‘what the heck’, but it gets worse. Because the veritable jewel-like summer collection is based upon the following motto: ‘We are what we eat’ – all Etro style for summer 2015 is measured according to the kitchen by the culinary arts. Yeah not kidding! Spaghetti Vongole in the form of what you wear and how you dress, ravioli & meatballs with Bolognese sauce in the designs on your trousers, perhaps Chicken Marsala with mushrooms à la citron in the picture below. And yes it is not coincidental that a world food expo in Milan coming up very soon. The hottest Italian dishes served on the hottest clothes worn on the runway by the hottest models. This will be a long hot summer. A myriad of variety of dishes. You are what you eat. Uncertainty principle number three.

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Ultimately though the incredible Etro summer 2015 collection oozes class. Simple Italian class and style. It’s the finishing. The handwork. The remarkable cut for gentlemen that one can only find in Italia.  It carries and wears so loosely and yet so beautifully. When you enter the flagship store (we went to the one in Paris on Boulevard St Germain where there was an evening hosted by GQ recently others are located in Milan, New York, and London) the ambiance is quite immediately one of high class as an environment for exceptional sartorial items – one of a kind shining sartorial gems. And it is highly remarkable that this effect actually also shows from the vitrine and showroom windows on the outside. Because the Etro Paris flagship is located right next to Ralph Lauren, and opposite from Lagerfeld and Sonia Rykiel.These are all excellent brands. But from the outside in comparison Etro stands out and has an edge. And now we understand why this is.  Because Etro has the X-factor.  And it is called the uncertainty principle.

 

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( …and the winner of the X – factor contest is … MILK WHITE)

Posted by Sandro Joo and photos from Etro.

Shearling and wool are coming to us from all angles for Autumn/Winter 2015, and Ermanno Scervino is not exempt. This 70’s trend has been a major hit on the runways for the coming season, not just in Milan but in London as well, and of course we await to see if the trend carries through Paris and New York, which I suspect it will.

As usual, we see patterns with Scervino, this season in the form of plaids, florals and stripes (unfortunately, none of last season’s polka dots are spotted making a comeback). Slim-fit pants are all the rage and knitwear continues trekking on through 2015-16.

Mixing prints, such as stripes, with heathered knitwear and tweed is another trend spotted for the coming winter, and Scervino certainly does it right, with muted colors, among pops of oxblood and navy. Fur colors and the addition of volume is something the slimmer man will appreciate (a shearling coat can’t help but add some sizeable excess) and green and oxblood velvet loafers complete the elegant looks. Striped socks peek out from the slim, short trouser look, mixing right along with the other prints and patterns. A nice touch, if you will. And I will.

Although Scervino embarks in the trend route this season, his clothes still give off the air of Italian elegance and style one always expects for the “Uomo Italiano”.

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Posted by Lori Zaino and photos by Paloma Canseco.

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It’s very late in the day on day three at Milan fashion week and we are catching a glimpse at the standing showroom models of Harmont & Blaine, an informal menswear company from Naples, Italy. For those of you who don’t already know the brand H & B makes high-end casual menswear for the cosmopolitan man who loves colours, and who loves well-made premium quality clothing. Collections are themed around the Mediterranean lifestyle, and Harmont & Blaine is well known for its small Dachshund logo.The company has 500 employees and 60 stores in Italy. Seventy stores exist outside Italy in some of the following locations: Prague, Moscow, Mexico City, Cartagena, Milan, Miami, Doha, Dubai and Santo Domingo. This casual men’s – and outerwear is fit for both work AND weekend.

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We study the FW 15/16 collection during the presentation and read that the press release states that the collection is themed ‘a kaleidoscope of sounds, colours, scents, and cultures.’ And indeed for a winter collection this show is particularly vibrant in its colours, even though mocha and coffee cream seem to dominate, not to speak of what the press release dubs ‘yellow tuff’ and (BDMOTP’s favourite newly discovered colour during Milan fashion week) ‘Pompeii red’ – after the colours of the bricks of buildings in Napoli.

Frequent overlapping and interchangeability of the materials and fabrics used in the collection contribute to kaleidoscopic Mediterranean effects. The jacket padding is light. The denim is soft. You will find macro structures with micro patterns like Prince of Wales or the classic bocks in checkers.  Robust yarn knit-wear is found in all jackets, coats, and trousers which will eventually give the impression of a quilt mosaic which is the motif and signature of this collection’s theme of a Mediterranean kaleidoscope. Thus you will find multicolour inlays in different types of pockets or pouches or on the inside your polo shirt. And of course the traditional Mediterranean horizontal sailor-stripe pattern is inevitably making a grand return – even in winter!

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The protagonist title for this winter fashion story perhaps could be the Return of Corto Maltese (the eponymous comic book hero created by Hugo Pratt) who, long sideburns and all, always goes in casual style and Mediterranean colours sailing the seven seas while maintaining a rather diffident and phlegmatic attitude towards all the many things occurring around him. We can imagine him wearing Harmont & Blaine while finding his path, slowly sailing softly onward towards the horizon in what can only be called the grand kaleidoscope of life.

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Posted by Sandro Joo and photos by Paloma Canseco.

“Pass go. Collect your Dollars.” For some people these words may make no sense at all, but for those enthusiasts of board games, this can only mean one thing: it’s Monopoly time!

This game, devised in 1935 by Charles Darrow, has inspired “au jour le jour” in the creation of the next A/W collection, which not only brings to our memories those endless evenings fighting for our properties but also some reminiscences of pop art in all its forms.

It is definitely the brand’s chic and fun spirit what creates a combination of  high-tech and tailored fabrics that scream out loud: don’t paint it black, go for prints. That’s the main reason why graphics become the main protagonists, including question marks, toy cars and light bulbs, recreating the classic board game’s icons. The result is a splash of color and patterns that builds up a style somewhere beyond sixties’ rockabilly.

Materials also play an important role in this game, including thread embroidered denim, Prince of Wales and quilted coats, Vichy prints and wool or cow-print fur creating a patchwork effect in jackets and coats.  This colorful range of graphics joins stylized figures and long vests in sand, black and pastel colors alongside with silk or poplin shirts emblazoned with ruffles.  Turtleneck sweaters have their own place under next season’s must-have denim with sheepskin jackets. And it must be said, the supercool and most adventurous will pair these with some glam glittered shoes.

So channel your inner player, gather around the board, roll the dice and be prepared to collect your outfit. Are you ready to play?

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Post and photos by Paloma Canseco.

When watching the runway shows as a fashion writer perhaps the first thing one looks at or tries to discover are the different signatures of the designer and the house, and the specific signature of the collection. What sets this collection apart from others? How does this brand express itself uniquely? Of course the devil, like so often, will be in the details.

But not so with Canali. For Canali, at least in this collection, has appropriated the color canary yellow unabashedly. It’s flaunted, and not served discretely–like we so often see with many shades of burgundy or green, in both the accessories and the menswear, probably because there is no hiding from this stark of a primary color on the spectrum. And one color in a collection is often enough, especially in winter, so that the other colors during the Canali show inevitably strayed from grey, back to black and white, the latter often in manila making it softer on the eyes after or before the yellow spankings that the eye would take in the midst of the dark of winter.

But that was not the only signature which was evident and on display during the show, because between the different motifs and patterns of the winter collection lurked one indelible and bare thread: An ubiquitous stripe or line, composed in different paths, tunnels, and canals–in different widths–sometimes even forming a checkered group of blocks–in abstracts–as if appropriate for the various concepts worthy of the architecture of a modern building. Canali clearly is composed and designed not just for style, but for the sake of art for art. It gives an extra touch which goes above and beyond the mere sartorial and which makes it, in combination with the colors, so very pleasant to the eye. There is a looseness and happiness about it, which would do any dark winter well – as if casualness were to be given its name in the expectation of spring to come.

Thus this collection blends the formal and the informal, the traditional and the modern, by using only two different signatures – with sweaters, jackets, and coats as outerwear in premium materials like cashmere and with some unique detailing done in braiding: A playful and pleasant collection it is indeed as opposed to all the dark colors and shades we usually get to see on the runways during winter.  Quo vadis uomo?  Man, where do you go when you wear Canali?

The lightness and the pleasantness of this grand winter collection makes BDMOTP chose for Nice, France on the place Garibaldi in front of the grand hotel. Not because the Méditerranée is very close or because the soft Mistral wind, even in winter, will come your way – of course this helps, yes, living on the Côte d’Azur–but no, the reason is that against the marvelous colors of the buildings in Nice that you could perfectly blend in so as to always go in complete discretion: Canali yellow, for the man in winter whom no darkness needs!

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Posted by Sandro Joo and photos by Paloma Canseco.

This proved one unexpected and impressive show at Milan Uomo: Pal Zileri after the BDMOTP team got lost in the cold in the industrial outskirts of Milan, where we expected a simple presentation but where we were met head-on in a grand rebuild industrial loft equipped with the latest cutting edge sartorial technology – it’s hard to describe really but suffice to say it was a hybrid of a fashion show / presentation where the models were standing behind solid white screens (look closely at the pictures below) which become transparent depending on the light that is being projected in the room behind making the models visible while they are gently turning around on their axis on a small pedestal: Only in Italy of course – the home of Michelangelo’s David, Bernini’s Madonna and other great works of sculpted art, would you come to find and expect such latter day Renaissance ‘camera obscura’ technology –  and sartorial art form – functioning as, according to the press release, a symbolic bridge between the present and the future.

The contrast between the dank, cold, and damp industrial city outskirts and the inside of the showroom could not have been greater and a large host of invitees gratefully conversed and discussed while the show repeated and repeated every 20 minutes until every guest could have its say, every photographer his best shot, and each lover of fashion his or her favorite look of the new Pal Zileri collection while peering into the void through the screens.

Pal Zileri is a “democratic” tailoring group in that its collections are designed FOR ALL (the name of the original company) and has a tradition which goes back to 1970 and the Italian province of Vicenza. Every quality garment is entirely produced in Italy and the new collection has the ambition to merge the concept of avant-garde with traditional sartorial craftsmanship: AVANT – CRAFT, an international contemporary approach in a time-honored tradition. The press release mentions as key words for characterization of the collection: Nonchalance, elegance, synthesis, modularity, and function.

But BDMOTP would like to add the word class to that mix despite Pal Zileri’s democratic roots. For simply everything and anything sartorial in Italy always oozes class. Especially when standing like Michelangelo’s David on pedestals behind white transparent screens while slowly turning and slowly adjusting their brick red leather gloves; a hounds tooth pattern on your alpaca sweater; your leather or angora overcoat loosely hanging over your shoulders; your hair swinging with a casual drop of the shoulder from right to left in front of your face as you gaze over your shoulder to see if a Vespa is not running your way here on the industrial outskirts of town in Milano so that maybe you can hitch a lucky ride back into the city center towards the Duomo – because cars have trouble getting here – and even getting out of here – so that you have no choice but to bring that cashmere scarf – by Pal Zileri – against the cold and the wind while riding the back of the Vespa, no not democratic at all any of this, except that anyone who really wants to, can do this – YOU TOO can have that touch of Italian class democracy, when you will be wearing Pal Zileri

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Posted by Sandro Joo and photos by Paloma Canseco.

At Angelo Galasso in Milan, London, Moscow, or New York, you do not find things for ordinary mortals:  These are the collections made UNICO (uniquely) for men which you will remember from made for star-spangled movie sets, for billionaires, for royalty, for celebrities, or for any other man who has the moral courage and the wherewithal to UNICO (uniquely) stand out from others.  The items in the Angelo Galasso collections go beyond the individual and the personalized, frankly speaking, they reach for the stars.

Here is a sample of some of the exceptional things to expect:

  • Old sewing machine stitching which allows for 10 stiches per centimeter rather than 7
  • Horizontal buttonholes to streamline your looks
  • Sewn in collar stiffeners
  • Vivid flamboyancy in magic & vibrant colors on the spectrum
  • The recurring hexagon Angelo Galasso signature
  • The Polso Orologio concept which leaves room inside your shirt to wear your watch
  • Traditional patterns in unusual places (hounds-tooth suede shoes anyone?)
  • The recurring dragooned and beautiful Angelo Galasso logo
  • Internal & strengthened cotton linings
  • Unexpected applications of different leathers (snake, crocodile, ostrich) laid into the fabrics

And that is just a sample and a beginning of the uniqueness of the collections.  These museum pieces (quite literally as some of Angelo’s concepts are in museums) are collector pieces each and every one and as shirts are concerned are entirely made by hand.  Most pieces are fit for a modern or a more traditional prince.  They really do not need much showing or advertising because beautiful things of this quality will attract its very own clientele at the appropriate time and place.  Word to mouth suffices and perhaps therefore the less we say in this small article the better that it is.  Let the pictures in this speak for themselves.

Angelo Galasso has a surprisingly large range of menswear in view of the unique quality and value that is offered.  Shirts, shirts, shirts, the most incredible baroque jackets and costumes, shoes, but also jeans and outerwear adorned with a real magic touch.  Again, the whole range goes beyond the personal and the individual because each precious item is UNICO (unique).

When BDMOTP visited the showroom in Milan on the Corso Matteotti, the fall / winter collection was on full display and we studied Angelo’s latest trends as we were given a guided tour.  We marveled at the creations at hand and learned that the theme of the collection is one of ‘Metropolitan Empire’.  But then all of a sudden Angelo himself was there, and perhaps that we should have asked him about being voted Best Dressed Man by GQ in 2013 ahead of David Beckham and Daniel Craig, but instead we asked him about what was his inspiration for the dragon in his famous AG logo – it was the question for the one moment of the one opportunity.

It turns out that Angelo had a recurring and recurring dream about a dragon as a boy which later inspired him to go into tailoring and clothing design.  And so, Angelo Galasso design & clothes for men:  Enter the dragon!  Go visit at your own peril …

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Posted by Sandro Joo and photos by Paloma Canseco

If Ali Baba indeed once had a treasure, you would probably find it here at this quite magnificent palazzo in Milan where Bertoni 1949 is showing us their latest collection, with the one distinction that the 40 thieves would not know where to look or what to find because the treasure itself is all that which has as a purpose to hold hold and protect things beautiful:  Trunks, bags, cases, boxes, holders, folders, and anything else that can hold something precious, special or personal is on display in the marbled and tapestried galleries here in the Valigeria (a house of suitcases) Bertoni 1949 Varese (from Varese) in Milan on the Via Bigli in the heart of the Montenapoleone district.

A checkered floor in black and white marble through a columned portico welcomes us to introduce the latest autumn / winter heritage collection of trunks and coffres based on the theme of the ‘American dream’. We are entering the house of treasures. On the one side stands an array of trunks in the fashion & style of Jackson Pollock the spotted trunk parchments representing the graffiti-strewn workman’s tables of the house itself – all those many hours of work having left their spots and stains in the same way Pollock left his mark indelible – a workman’s signature and homage all in one.  On the other side in classic white we find Navajo motives so recognizable in its simplicity and beauty of form in red and black:  These are the ultimate nomad trunks of course – for those who do not travel just for luxury or in style – but also for the sake of adventure.

Yet in this large treasure room of trunks the smallest item is the masterpiece. It’s been the hottest item around in the realm of trunks, cases, and handbags for a while now, only celebrities spotted with it (and to BDMOTP’s knowledge not one single man as of yet), Delphine Arnault probably the first one to have ever carried one in public, and higher in demand than a Gucci baseball cap at discount during Christmas time:  The mini-briefcase slash handbag, that locked and buckled petite malle bag as treasure trunk – une minaudière de l‘exception, Bertoni’s all in white, with three black stripes, and a Navajo red cross.

Upstairs, with renaissance tapestries as the backdrop, we find the hand bag & case collections, some structured, some foldable, one bag yet more beautiful and better made than the next.  All is hand stitched and marca punto (stich marked), leathers range from croc and alligator to French calf and goat parchment, all is beautiful, all is (very) well made, and all is available – which is a miracle in its own right.  These are unisex items and they should be because at this level of quality manufacturing & luxury differences between peoples seem to dissipate and slowly blend into the horizon.

Bertoni 1949:  A treasure house of that which treasure may hold!

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Posted by Sandro Joo and photos by Paloma Canseco

The Milan Uomo AW15 Massimo Piombo collection was all about heavy, warm outerwear. Luxurious fabrics like Hungarian baby alpaca, Mongolian cashmere, Scottish mohair and old Austrian rammand virgin wool were used to create soft and warm garments, but also give off an air of elegance.

Plaids and tweads were prevalent throughout the collection, and even mixing unmatched plaids, such as a scarf of one style plaid and a jacket of another plaid pattern was a trend forthcoming for the coming season.

Heavy scarves, floor-length, in fact, one could even call them capes, shawls or blankets were included with the collection, assuring not a single Massimo Piombo fan will catch a cold this winter.

Bold colors such as hot pink, purple or bright orange were toned against the typical browns, blacks and navy of winter, giving the collection a vibrant pick up. A classic Scottish warmth came through mixed with that Italian elegance, and that, my friends, is Massimo Piombo.

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Posted by Lori Zaino and photos by Paloma Canseco.

The style of Caruso is very precious, very sartorial – and only the best of men go clothed in it – because you need a certain degree of appreciation of what means elegance, tradition, and style in men’s clothing before you will discover it. Where does this come from we may ask, that a real gentleman is suited for Caruso and Caruso suited for real gentlemen? Is there something in the motto of the tailoring house ‘In Menswear do as the Italians do’ perhaps that would lead us to this conclusion?

Well of course there is the Italian part, because indeed Caruso has the grand Italian tradition of the small family tailoring and clothing manufacturing business which started somewhere on the Italian country side (in this case near Parma) many years ago (in this case 1958) who then made it through relentless competition to the top of the industry by offering superior quality clothing manufacturing to its customers in grand cosmopolitan centers like Milan or New York. Today Caruso has 600 employees and the brand is recognized worldwide.

But there is more, and this may very well be the secret to the success in that today Caruso is so highly regarded with men who truly like to go in excellent traditional Italian style, in an excellent most perfect Italian fit, and with a most outstanding tailoring manufacturer as far as quality is concerned, because Caruso before it was a brand used to make clothes not for customers but for high quality retailers.  And THIS is precisely the difference with other brands, because the brand Caruso before it came on its own (it is now listed on the stock market and has investors from around the world and specifically from China) tailored not just for individuals but mostly for large well-to-do and well-known international luxury goods companies – which inevitably meant a grand variety of assignments, not just in one style, but in many styles, which undoubtedly must have given the competitive edge and economies of scale over houses which only tailored to their own (style).

This unique experience is what BDMOTP thinks makes Caruso so unique and so universally acceptable for men who seek class in clothing, because when being shown around the premises on Day II in Milan FW for the new collections all traditional menswear classics appeared, including a large selection of capes for men, waistcoats, and even that ultimo retro classic – the stove-pipe pair of trousers. There is something magic about a collection which seems so natural in style & class and it must have been all that accumulated experience over the years of working for the best of the best companies around the world in various assignments which has made Caruso special as a brand.

There is a great attention to detail and a great love for clothing and tailoring in the work of all collections, while maintaining that impeccable Italian fit for men at all times.  Or, to put it in the words of executive director Umberto Angeloni:

“A Caruso suit exudes neither ostentation nor trendiness; it reflects man’s current body (athletic lean) while maintaining comfort in the cut.”

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Posted by Sandro Joo and photos by Paloma Canseco.

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