Styleforum Maker Space – I Sarti Italiani

i sarti italiani bespoke suits abiti su misura sicilia sicily

While Neapolitan, Milanese, and even Roman tailors are world-famous and respected, we can’t possibly ignore the fact that tailoring schools flourish all over Italy – even on the southern island of Sicily.

I Sarti Italiani has been making bespoke suits, trousers, and shirts since 1986; they focus on precise, careful stitching, and they only use the best quality materials for their suits. The lining is always cupro bemberg, the buttons are either corozo, horn or mother of pearl, and the canvas is in camel hair or horse hair.

The selection of fabrics is on point: Ermenegildo Zegna, Loro Piana, Cerruti 1881, Draper’s, Vitale Barberis Canonico, Bottoli, Larusmiani, and Scabal are only few of the names you’ll find in I Sarti Italiani’s fabric book.

i sarti italiani palermo styleforum maker space quality

Sicilian tailoring features the same, relaxed characteristic of Neapolitan tailoring, without the flairs typical of the Partenopean tradition. I Sarti Italiani offers bespoke solutions and blends Italian craftsmanship with unique Southern taste. Our very own Peter Zottolo has recently written an article about his recent experience with I Sarti Italiani in occasion of a recent trip to Italy.

You can find I Sarti Italiani in Sicily at these locations – but they also do a home or office bespoke service for those who are too busy to stop by the showroom:

Sartoria Montelepre (PA) C/da Vallotta s/nc 

Show-room Marsala (TP) Via Mario Nuccio n°10-12 

Show-room Palermo Via Isidoro la Lumia 27/A 

Official Website


At The Maker Space, you’ll be able to chat with the tailors and get measured for your Sicilian bespoke suit. Click here to read more about the event and RSVP.

Nesting and Cutting Leather with Grant Stone

Grant Stone is a footwear company that focuses on making high-quality Goodyear-welted shoes and boots. With decades of experience in shoemaking, their offerings focus on comfort, well-made lasts, and a product that will last a lifetime. They offered to take us behind the scenes to take a look at one of the most important aspects of shoemaking: nesting and cutting the leather that will make a pair of shoes.

Grant Stone is an Affiliate Vendor on Styleforum. You can discuss the brand further on their affiliate thread here


Goodyear-welt construction consists of many steps which can vary depending on the footwear being made as well as on the materials. In this article we want to touch on one of the first processes and why we feel it’s so important.

First and foremost, every factory or brand has their internal standards and direction. This, combined with the material and construction, creates a guideline for manufacturing. In welted footwear, one side of the spectrum would be bespoke and the other would be volume production. Given the type of shoes we are aspiring to make, we try to ask ourselves, what would a bespoke maker do? The answer is usually a basic, proven method. However, bespoke methods will require more time and sometimes revolves around materials that aren’t used in volume production. If we want to make a great product and set a precedent for each department, this helps us look in the right direction.

Grant stone styleforum cutting leather nesting leather

Nesting patterns onto the leather is the first step to making the shoe or boot upper and is one of the most important. “Nesting” is when a person methodically maps out the upper patterns onto the leather hide. This allows the person to closely inspect the article and avoid any blemishes while utilizing the majority of the hide. It’s one of the most critical steps for a few reasons. For a factory, this is where money can be made or lost. It is a difficult job because there isn’t a straight-forward Standard Operating Procedure, and you may not know the result of a decision made until the shoe is nearly finished. For example, a questionable piece of leather may look okay once the shoe is lasted as the upper is supported. Once you remove the last, the upper may show wrinkling or other issues which were not apparent.

Grant stone styleforum cutting leather nesting leather

Every leather acts differently when it comes to aesthetics and performance. The pattern being used also plays a large factor, as some are broken in to multiple pieces while others can be a large, single pattern, which can make it difficult to find a suitable area on the hide. Even when sourcing leather from world-renowned tanneries, properly cutting the pattern (including direction) is critical. The majority of high-end footwear leathers are tanned with aniline dyes which purposely reveal the natural characteristics of the leather. While the transparency gives the leather a certain depth and character, it also exposes the blemishes such as veins or scars. It’s quite common to find subtle lines throughout the best areas of the article which tend to be near the rear-end of the animal, just beside the backbone. This part of the animal’s skin has endured less movement and encounters less everyday abuse such as cuts and scrapes.

Pictured below is a cow hide used on casual footwear which has a high wax and oil content. This article has an exaggerated “pull-up” effect which means the oils and waxes inside the article are able to move around freely. Not only does this give the article a lot of character, this will keep the article hydrated over the years when enduring water and other elements. When this article is pulled over the last, the oils and waxes are drawn out of the article highlighting the base color of the leather. This type of leather (especially in lighter colors) can be quite difficult because some blemishes that were not visible due to the oils will appear after lasting.

Grant stone styleforum cutting leather nesting leather

When mapping out the leather, cutting an extra half pair from a hide will improve yields but if the shoe is pulled aside later on in the stitching or lasting department due to quality issues such as excessive wrinkling or blemishes, the loss is much greater than just avoiding that part of the hide to begin with.

The standard comes down to the type of footwear being made, the cost and what the consumer expects. A bespoke maker might only cut one pair of shoes from an entire hide, while a volume manufacturer with very competitive pricing will try to use every last bit of the article. We have to find a middle ground, but tend be more cautious with our cutting, as we understand that there will be fewer issues later in the process and end product will be sound, as our customer expects.

Marks such as scars can’t be used on this type of footwear, so they are avoided altogether. If we had to summarize our cutting standard, we might say that we focus more on the overall grain structure. While most of the loose grain is near the edges of the article or the belly area, loose grain can also be found in the center of the article. To avoid using these areas, the person nesting has to inspect the area, lightly moving or flexing the leather to see how it reacts. This will give an indication of how the leather will look if it’s flexed during the make process or on the finished shoe. Another way to check is not only on the surface of the leather, but the flesh side. The below photo shows the grain side and flesh side of a prime area (A), versus the belly area (B). It is clear how the belly area has wrinkles on the surface and how it translates to loose fibers on the flesh side. While loose grain is usually considered a cosmetic concern, it can affect the integrity of the shoe as loose fibers are not as strong.

Grant stone styleforum cutting leather nesting leather

If there is an area we might be more lenient when cutting, it might be color variation within a pair. While it isn’t desirable for the right and left shoe to be two different hues, minimal color variation does not cause performance concerns and usually can be alleviated with hand stains and creams in the finishing room. Using these methods to finish the leather allows for deeper color while not concealing the natural grain or base colors. Since these leathers are not pigmented, there are multiple shades of color within an article and they will continue to change overtime due to the outside elements and wear.

Below is a photo of a new longwing being broken in, flexing the vamp. After flexing this shoe one time, it is clear there will be a clean vamp break and the leather has a tight grain. While the colors and other attributes may change overtime with wear, the vamp break will stay for the life of the shoe.

  Grant stone styleforum cutting leather nesting leather

 


This is sponsored content. To learn more about Grant Stone, visit their affiliate thread here. To shop the collection, click here

A Review of Lanieri: Su Misura Suiting

Note: for a limited time, Styleforum members can take 200$ off a new Lanieri suit by using code STYLEFORUM200 at checkout! This offer is only good from 5/19/2017 – 5/28/2017. Visit Lanieri to make your order.


Although I buy a lot of stuff online, with clothing I’m usually hesitant unless the place has a good return policy or I know how it will fit. I especially don’t want to deal with the difficulties of returning clothes internationally. So I usually just go with makers that I know – probably like most of you do as well. However, sometimes I have placed online orders through online Made-to-Measure manufacturers in pursuit of a specific style, fabric or pattern.

I had often seen Lanieri online, and had also spent some time browsing through their thread on Styleforum, in which Riccardo Schiavotto – one of the founders of Lanieri – showcases the expanding range of options that their company offers. Browsing their website and the thread, they make clear that they manufacture 100% Made-in-Italy garments. They use fabrics from prestigious fabric mills and merchants, including Reda and Vitale Barberis Canonico (both of which are investors in Lanieri), which provide choices for a wide range of tastes and budgets. They use a well-established Italian tailoring house to make their garments in northern Italy, and the cutting, stitching and finishing of the garment is done entirely with Italian labor. More or less, Lanieri is trying to remind their customers that – like food – Italians still take style and quality in manufacturing seriously.

Their attention to detail extends to customer service and marketing. On Styleforum, Riccardo listens to the concerns and feedback from the community, answering questions about the manufacturing or materials, while also working to incorporate more customization. For instance, Riccardo has pointed out that their pants feature horsehair canvas in the waistband, or that they offer a selection of horn or mother of pearl buttons. He has taken the time to listen to the community, and soon Lanieri will offer full-canvas suiting, sometime by the end of summer (currently their structured jackets feature a true half-canvas).

So when Fok, Styleforum’s owner and administrator, asked me if I’d like to write a review of Lanieri in exchange for a suit, I jumped on-board and said yes. Please note that I am under no obligation to review them in any specific way. My only compensation was a suit of my choice from a selection of their fabric offerings. You can read Styleforum’s Review Policy here.

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Designing a Garment

Lanieri has a number of options that allow you to create your own garment so that it meets your sense of style. Personally, I appreciated the online visualization of the garment, which updates to show the various options you’ve chosen as you design your garment. You receive a feel for the overall look of the garment you’re creating. Of course, you are not able to see or feel the real end product, with all its nuances, until it is in natural light in your hands–but for what it is worth, the visualization gives you a sense of whether you are designing an abomination or your dream suit.

Their buyers vary their selection of fabrics each season, and offer a range of staples in addition to more exciting and more nuanced options. The fabrics have descriptions that showcase a wide range of weights, Super numbers, and weaves. The more interesting fabrics currently include some linen mohair blends, tonal Prince of Wales checks, or wool-silk blends. If all else fails or you need a staple, there is always a range of essential wool suiting.

review of lanieri lanieri su misura lanieri review styleforumLanieri provides peak, notch and shawl collar options, both in more “modern” slimmer lapel widths and wider configurations. Their buttons include a range of polyester, horn, mother of pearl and/or pearlized choices.  I’m a sucker for horn buttons, and would rather get a suit that already has them on it, considering that many ready-to-wear makers do not use them. Of course, you get to choose the interior qualities, including lining style, color, contrast stitching, et cetera.

You can also include any notes you want them to see prior to making the garment. I had opted, after speaking with Riccardo, to go with spalla a camicia instead of their standard suit option, spalla con rollino. If you want spalla a camicia, just put it into the notes. Riccardo has stated that one of the reasons it is only available to those that ask is because most of their clientele don’t seem to like spalla a camicia on account of the extra fabric in the sleeve head. I ended up finding that they sew it with less fabric than what you would see in a spalla mappina.

Ultimately, I opted for a half-lined Solaro suit in a nine-ounce fabric by Drago (you can read about why you want a Solaro suit here) with dark horn buttons, a mélange melton collar and beige lining. The final cost for the garment as made was $920.

After designing the garment, you fill out your measurements, guided by a somewhat campy (but not in a bad way) video featuring instructions on how to measure yourself (or rather, how to have someone else do it for you). Included in the measurements process are qualitative visualizations in order to help them understand your shoulder shape, gut and posture.

Of course, my wife had difficulty measuring, and so we had to repeat several measurements. Lanieri actually reached out to me, stating that some measurements were strange, and to please confirm them. After confirming them (good thing I did…) they sent it off to begin cutting, and the suit’s fate was sealed.

Inspecting the Result

review of lanieri lanieri su misura lanieri review styleforum

Working cuffs, horn buttons.

After a little more than three weeks (my order coincided with a lot of holidays in Italy – Easter, Pasquetta, and Liberation Day, among others) my order was shipped via FedEx International Priority. Two days after shipping, it arrived at 10 AM in sunny California placed in a giant cardboard suit box; they arranged the suit folded on a wooden hanger inside a canvas garment bag. Included were spare buttons, and some information on how to care for your garment, reminding you of the importance of proper maintenance to ensure the quality and integrity of your garment. Personally, it always serves as a nice reminder to treat your clothes well.

Overall, the final product was nicer than I expected; the Solaro fabric by Drago has a wonderful hand, drape and overall color. Living in Southern California, I feared that it would be a bit too hot, but it has a surprisingly open weave. The cupro bemberg (another plus) half-lining helps keep it breathable. The buttons are solid, well shaped natural horn, and the garment has even and durable machine stitching throughout.

Because my jacket and pants are half lined, I opened them up to take a peek. Sure enough, they are using light horsehair canvas throughout the waistband (a split waistband, as the Italians like to use), and in upper half of the jacket. The shoulders have some light padding to assist in drape, and the fusing (running the bottom half of the front of the jacket) is much higher quality than what you would see in most RTW makers. I was impressed with the softness and the quality of the half canvassed garment, providing an extremely nice balance between soft and stiff construction.

review of lanieri lanieri su misura lanieri review styleforum

You can see the lapel roll and the “Spalla Camicia”.

With regards to fit, the jacket fits well out of the box. The shoulders hang well with a fairly good sleeve pitch. I think the sleeve length is spot on (and they have to be, since they include working cuffs). I have narrow shoulders, so oftentimes I end up rejecting off-the-rack tailoring that is either too tight in the chest or too big in the shoulders. The only thing that I would note for a future order is that I prefer my jackets to be cut longer, with most of my jackets averaging about two centimeters longer than what Lanieri chose to provide. Additionally, if they offer higher armholes, I’d prefer that too (the armhole is on par with many of RTW Italian makers) Having lived in Italy, I know the Italians do like jackets to be shorter. And I find this to be acceptable, especially with an informal fabric like Solaro. At least the jacket appears to be covering my ass.

The pants are another matter for me. While they fit in length, the waist was larger than I would prefer (especially with a split waistband since I prefer the waist snug), and the seat could be brought in slightly in order to help it drape better. Additionally, I have a forward leaning stance, so I feel they need to be be cut wider in order for the pants to drape better, since the fabric accumulates on my calves when wearing OTC socks. With shorter socks or no show socks, I don’t have that issue with these pants. I’ve since taken it to my alterations specialist to correct this.

I will note that the garment had a couple loose threads in the seams and that they did forget to include the two rear suspender buttons in the trousers. Both of these are difficult to correct, but it is a minor annoyance.

The good news is that Lanieri wants to ensure that you have a perfect fitting jacket, so they will take into consideration these alterations (you submit a form with the alterations to them in order to get a refund) for future orders, or they will remake your garments if they are deemed uncorrectable. Like any online MTM program, I wouldn’t anticipate getting perfection on the first try, but because Lanieri is invested in keeping you as a customer and making you happy, I think the opportunity here is to build a relationship between client and company.

Price, Quality and Final Thoughts

Lanieri isn’t bargain basement dirt-cheap, but for the price ($920 as ordered), you get quality fabrics, good construction, the ability to design your garment in your style, and Italian manufacturing. Within the range of fabrics that Lanieri offers, they have cheaper and more expensive options (all of which are good fabrics from prestigious Italian fabric mills); this allows you to cover your wardrobe requirements with cheaper work suits or more expensive suiting for special occasions. I think that within the market segment, they offer a product that is certainly capable of meeting your needs, and which also provides you with the opportunity to – eventually – order well-fitting garments in your own style without the hassle of alterations.

Lanieri has a wide range of sales, including ones timed to holidays. These sales provide you the opportunity to get what you may need without breaking the bank. Outside of the sales, Lanieri is worth the price, considering that staple suits from quality makers are hardly ever found in a decent sale. For a reasonable price you can get a good garment that will last you quite some time and suit your needs.

Soon, Lanieri will expand by opening an atelier in New York, providing customers the opportunity to be measured in person and see the quality of sample garments prior to purchase. In addition, with the launch of a new full-canvas option, Lanieri will be placed extremely well as an accessible option within the market for quality made-to-measure menswear.

Note: the Solaro fabric shown in the review – named Riviera on Lanieri’s website – will be back in stock on their website in the middle of June.

 


  • This is not sponsored content, however, Lanieri is an affiliate of Styleforum. To read Styleforum’s review policy, please click here.
  • If you’re interested in browsing Lanieri’s options, you can do so here.
  • To read Lanieri’s Affiliate Thread, please click here.

Visiting La Stoffa Clothing

Few clothing companies can lay claim to owning an aesthetic.  The best brands combine beauty with function in a way that is organic and intuitive, when each of their products are simple, alluring, and useful.

This is Stòffa, who I found out about purely by accident.

Months ago, while enjoying drams of Macallan and Highland Park, Ian, a fellow forumite and friend, told me about them in hushed tones of awe.  

“Have you seen their jackets?” he asked, to which I admitted I hadn’t.  “You’ll be hearing about them soon,” he proclaimed, and while my interest was piqued, I never followed up, and quickly forgot.

Later, my editor, Jasper, sends me an email:

Stòffa is doing a trunk show this week in San Francisco.  Write an article.

Since I had to leave for Los Angeles in a few days, I quickly emailed Agyesh of Stòffa.  He was completely booked, but would be doing a trunk show in LA that weekend, so we made an appointment for Sunday.  In the meantime, I did my research: what is Stòffa?

Turns out, Stòffa is everything you ever wanted in a jacket.  And trousers.  And much more.

Sunday rolls around, and I meet Agyesh in a new development in Culver City.  He is keen to meet before he shows me any of his wares, and I’m glad I did.  Over Blue Bottle Coffee, Agyesh reveals himself to be an everyman who loves clothes.  “I was a computer engineer,” he begins, “Developing interfaces for the end user, where their experience was paramount.  Then I worked at Isaia, had an unlimited budget, an amazing mentor and the very best resources at our disposal, and could go anywhere I wanted to creatively.  But the concept felt so detached from the customer – the end user.  And the waste,” his head kicks back and his hands wave. “There is so much waste, did you know that?  

“With Stòffa, it’s practically nothing. With retail, you made so much more than what we sell. It’s almost impossible to get out of that cycle with retailers; I wanted a new supply and delivery chain from the start with Stòffa.”

The way Agyesh is able to do this is simple: take your order, and your order is made.  There is no stock, nothing that may or may not be bought.  There are just four jackets, six options of material, and every piece is made to order.  And more important: made to measure. Also, fabrics are created in such away that they are used across categories, and the same raw yarn used multiple times.

“The guys that I know that are into suits, they are so conscious of fit and proportions,” Agyesh says, “Which is fine, but when they wear casual clothes, they are not nearly as particular. They settle with what is made for them.  That is ridiculous.”

As a man with a stature less like the Adonis-esque models often chosen for menswear, I personally have found that, with suiting, bespoke offers a fit that cannot be achieved with simple alterations to off-the-rack garments.  Agyesh takes that model and applies it to casual wear.  “If you’re short,” he explains, “We won’t simply shorten the sleeves.  We’ll shorten the length, raise the pockets.  Everything to make it look proportional.”

With a background in programming UI and working at one of the world’s most well-known clothing manufacturers, I’m convinced this man knows about how things should fit.  But what about style?

“I had in mind a relaxed and elegant style coupled with a little personality that suits the lifestyle and context of a man in the modern times. Someone who is always one the move and wants to maintain an air of elegance without forced formality through every aspect of his life.”  The result is neither fastidious nor slovenly. Simple and casual, yet elegant.

He then shows me to his samples at the trunk show, and I am awestruck.  Not by anything radical or unusual, but by the distinct approach to an otherwise staid concept.  The four jacket styles are nothing new – their flight jacket, field jacket, asymmetric jacket (similar to a double rider) and longer coat are hallmarks of casual menswear and a staple in most men’s closets.  However, it’s the way in which they are rendered that makes them fresh: large pockets, sweeping collars, and luxe fabrics. 

Agyesh gives me a flight jacket to try on first.  “This is the most elegant,” he says, and I immediately see why.  The clean and familiar lines evoke just enough nostalgia while avoiding gimmicky costume.  Instinctively I reach to put my hands in side pockets, and they’re there.  Agyesh notices. “We wanted to make something practical, not simply an exercise in art,” he says.

Agyesh himself is sporting the asymmetrical jacket in taupe, which looks unassumingly chic with his breezy rumpled linen trousers and beat-up Superga sneakers.  “I’ve had this for over two years,” he says with a smile.  “All of our clothes are tested for a year or more.  It’s something I’ve taken from my years as a developer – nothing was released until it had months of testing.  I wanted to make sure everything not just lasted but looked better with time.”

Finally I tried on the asymmetrical coat, a three-quarter length piece with generous lapels that inconspicuously buttons off-center.  “There is absolutely no structure in this, no lining,” Agyesh explains, “so we had to shape it with seams.”  Indeed, for a coat so light, I’m impressed by its classic cut down through the waist and graceful a-line sweep outward.  This is the  jacket I’m getting.  Or…Agyesh’s.  Or maybe the flight jacket.  

I’m still undecided.

If you’re interested in seeing Stòffa’s wares for yourself, you’ll have to make it to one of their trunk shows – remember, everything is made to order, and you can’t buy the clothes online. Stòffa  has trunk shows every 5-6 weeks in LA, San Francisco, New York, and Stockholm, which hopefully will give you enough time make a decision.

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Introducing: 1st PAT-RN

There is quite a bit of “workwear” shown at Pitti Uomo, and I use the scare quotes for a reason. I’m not usually one to complain about a lack of functionality in clothing, but it’s difficult not to think that most of what is presented as workwear is a joke: flimsy, trend-driven, and beyond that, boring and unflattering. Not so with 1ST PAT-RN, the project of  Cristiano Berto and Sylvia Piccin. This is a brand that combines elements of workwear, trad-wear, and ivy-style to offer what I’d describe as nostalgic explorer-wear.

1st pat-rn styleforum

Cristiano and Sylvia

Before you balk at that description, the clothing isn’t costumey in the vein of Haversack or even hardcore in the way of Nigel Cabourn. Nonetheless, it does evoke some of the same feelings of the gentleman (or gentlewoman, as there are women’s pieces as well) traveler, with a regular selection of blazers and chore jackets set atop tapered chinos and denim.

There are two aspects that set 1ST PAT-RN apart: meticulous fabric choice, and smart, largely modern (if vintage-inspired) cuts. The combination results in clothing that is both pleasant to wear and very wearable, with a narrow but fulfilling range of styles. The pieces that most grabbed my interest during our visit were a pair of lovely straight-legged 4-pocket trousers in an indigo twill, and the very handsome chore jackets – in particular, a model in deutschleder that was made specially for Manufactum Magazin (which I hope makes its way into the main collection).

Fans of layering will rejoice, as there are enough interesting mid-layers (vests, knits and the like) to provide a good backbone to the very strong basics; as will those of us who are always looking for an escape from slim jeans and trousers – you’ll find both straight legs and pleats here, which look very nice when presented with chunky footwear. 1ST PAT-RN has also worked with Timex to release a handful of special dials and straps, which makes a great deal of sense when you’ve seen the clothes. They’re similar in style – 1ST PAT-RN is deceptively complex, well thought-out, and utilitarian – but with an enduring attractiveness that’s both compelling and hard to ignore, no matter your personal style.


See photos from Pitti, as well as images from the S/S2017 lookbook, in the slideshow below

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@child_of_scorn

The 2 Coolest Brands at Pitti Uomo 91

This year, we went to Pitti with an open mind. New brands awaited. New collections! We saw much, and much that we saw was good. And as hard as it is to see thousands of vendors, let alone pick favorites from among them, we’ve narrowed our top picks down to just two brands – one streetwear, one classic menswear. Part of that is because in addition to looking great, being made to a high standard, and offering a compelling viewpoint in a saturated market, both of these brands have that something special – and by something special, we mean style.


Streetwear: De Bonne Facture

Although still a young brand, De Bonne Facture is no longer a newcomer. We visited their showroom last year, which you can read about here, and they’re now stocked in multiple countries, as well as across the US. Despite the modest growth (and despite LeBron apparently appearing at least once in the knitwear), De Bonne Facture remains married to two things: the first is Déborah’s (the designer) almost manic insistence on quality. I have to say, it’s almost distressing to examine a garment at Pitti and not see a single errant stitch or thread – but it speaks to the exacting standards to which the clothes are manufactured.

The second defining characteristic of De Bonne Facture is harder to quantify, and it’s also a big part of the reason we’ve selected it. Personally, I’m convinced it has something to do with Déborah herself. Arianna did mention her briefly, but she does have a strange magic about her. Part of me thinks that De Bonne Facture is so good primarily because Déborah wills it, in a Jedi kind of way – althou perhaps it’s as simple (and as socially complex) as having excellent taste. She’s unapologetic, and firmly herself, and the garments reflect both those traits. She also wears her own clothing most of the time, and tells me she’s frustrated when people ask if and when she’ll make a women’s collection. In her words, she already does – De Bonne Facture is not so much unisex in the way of early 00’s names like Rad Hourani, but rather almost sexless. The clothes are so successful simply as objects that they don’t require a clothes-hanger-thin model to show them off.

What’s certain is that Déborah has an eye for matching materials with garments. Everything feels right – all the pieces have an appropriate heft; you’re not thinking “If only” about any of the details. When you try on the coats, the pockets are wear they should be. The shoulders sit well. Similarly, the trousers are cut to go with shoes or sneakers. The accessories aren’t an afterthought so much as a well-considered finishing touch. Even the jeans, which in the past Déborah has told me they only made because “Everyone has to make a jean,” are dyed in natural indigo and cut with a slight carrot shape that fits perfectly with the silhouette echoed across the collection.

Speaking of the collection, there are a few new pieces that are absolute standouts. One is a robe coat done in a highly textured wool-blend, and as much as I’d love to take credit for inspiring said garment during our last visit, I admit that I’m not that influential. Either way, it’s beautiful, with a nice heft that makes it drape very nicely. The other piece is a suede varsity-style jacket lined in cream shearling which really has to be seen to be appreciated. Otherwise, you can expect high-quality knits (inspired by traditional shapes but well updated), comfortable trousers, and really (truly) nice shirts and even henleys.

Ultimately, De Bonne Facture is special in part because of the restraint the garments show. As usual, the clothes retain their classic, muted colors. Navy and camel have been joined by a light clay color that lends itself particularly well to outerwear. Everything is nicely textured without being overwrought, and the details that are included (such as a special loop, taken from an old military coat, that keeps the belt on the new robe coat in place) don’t feel extraneous or intrusive. They are, like Déborah herself, uncompromising, and I can’t wait to see how the brand grows.

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Classic Menswear: Camoshita

Camoshita is, by this point, a household name on Styleforum. As is Yasuto Kamoshita, who – I swear – is, every single day, the best-dressed man at Pitti Uomo. The guy is a legend – there are plenty of men at Pitti Uomo who I would describe as “well-dressed,” but very few who are “elegant.” Yasuto Kamoshita is the latter.

So are his clothes. Camoshita, despite being something of a love letter to – simultaneously – Ivy style and the golden age of Hollywood, possesses an innate sense of playfulness that’s very modern. It’s tailored clothing that’s relaxed, not just in silhouette – Camoshita regularly plays with loose, comfortable shapes – but in style. For example, a knit wool hoody worn under a plaid field jacket and over a band-collar shirt looks perfectly at home next to a double-breasted suit.

I always look forward to seeing the Camoshita booth. And it’s not just because the clothes are nice, but that the experience of seeing them is so well thought out. Many brands at Pitti only have the space or inclination to present a rack of clothing for you to sift through. Camoshita, by contrast, is overrun with lovingly-styled displays of the clothing. I’m not even really a #menswear guy, and it’s menswear heaven. It was one of two brands – the other being Snow Peak – where Arianna was compelled to mention that we didn’t need a picture of every detail on every garment, and could we please go somewhere else now.

Unfortunately, the light inside the booth is still not the greatest for pictures, but we’ve tried to snap a few for you (by we, I mean Arianna), and perhaps you can at the very least get a sense of the silhouette – a loose, almost egg shape on top – primarily through the slightly oversized outerwear, and a slim but relaxed trouser on the bottom made up the bulk of the offerings. In particular, I appreciate that there’s no single decade that Camoshita presents, in the way that other brands have collections devoted to 90’s style, or 50’s-style suiting, or that sort of thing. Although you can look at the collection and see some reference points – is that Dick Tracy over there? – nothing is even remotely costumey, and everything has been elevated with pleasantly modern fits and finishes.

Again, it’s the ineffable that pushed Camoshita into our top pick. The way it all works seamlessly together, the way the fabrics and cuts are considered, even down to the way it’s styled – all in all, Camoshita is a collection in the truest (fashion) sense of the word. It stands alone, reliant only on itself and some good ol’ romance, and it sure as hell impresses.

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Despite being, in many respects, drastically different, both Camoshita and De Bonne Facture share the same sense of being much more than the sum of their parts. That said, they’re also similar in that each part is beautiful in and of itself. They ooze style – not just in the way they look, but the way they feel and what they stand for. For now, feel free to tell us which of the two brands you’d rather wear every day – and if you visited Pitti, what you thought the standouts were.

Three Great Classic Menswear Brands at Pitti 91

While there are hundreds and hundreds of brands that show at Pitti Uomo, many of them deserving of your time and attention, it takes something special to stand out from the crowd. Here are three great classic menswear brands at Pitti 91, all of which we thought had that little extra.


1. Peter Nappi

I’ve been following Peter Nappi, off and on, for several years now – though this is the first time I’ve had a chance to see their wares in person. My interest has largely been devoted to their line of handsome work boots, which are about as streetwear-friendly as you can get. But this season, Peter Nappi has introdced a new line of beautifully-patinated shoes that, at least in the warm browns that were shown at Pitti, are perfect for less-formal tailored clothing, or even dressed-up casual wear. I was most impressed by the wholecuts, which I thought had not only a shape that would be conducive to a range of outfits, but a honey-gold warmth that I can see pairing very nicely with, say, sage-green trousers, as well as worn denim. If you’d rather wear something a little slicker with your jeans and jacket, perhaps a pair of suede zip-up harness boots is what you’re after. Those, I have to say, were gorgeous.

Peter Nappi is based in Nashville, but the entire line is made in Italy, and most of the products are Blake-stitched. However, there is a line of completely handmade Goodyear-welted workboots, should you want to branch out.

-Jasper

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2. Fioroni Cashmere 

Fioroni cashmere caught our eye at Pitti Uomo for the delicate nuances of their incredibly soft cashmere sweaters, but our interest deepened when we learned about Fioroni’s innovative techniques and philosophy. The brand stands against animal cruelty and uses only the finest Mongolian cashmere that is spun in Italy, while the leather is sourced exclusively from the food industry. Every sweater is finished by hand using pure cashmere thread.

The most interesting products we spotted were the Duvet line and the bio cashmere. After weaving, the Duvet garments are washed for an hour in water coming from the Lake Trasimeno, which is rich in iron and gives the cashmere an extra soft, compact, and virtually pill-less texture.

The Bio Cashmere is dyed using exclusively natural pigments; we spotted oak-dyed cashmere in the most beautiful taupe hue, and olive-dyed knits in a delicate pastel green. The colors of the Bio Cashmere line are pleasantly muted and, just like indigo-dyed garments, they take on character as they age and get washed.

-Arianna

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3. Massimo La Porta 

Massimo La Porta is a Neapolitan shirtmaker who learned the art of shirt making from his uncle Pino Borriello, one of the first shirtmaker in Naples in the 1940s. His goal is to provide a product that follows the steps of the traditional Neapolitan tailoring as well as contemporary style.

Each shirt goes through twelve hand-stitching steps: collar,  button holes, shoulders, and hips are hand-finished, and the Australian mother-of-pearl buttons are sewn by hand using a lily-stitch. The armholes are not sewn along with the hip seams; instead, they are hand-finished using a technique named “curl.”

Although there are many well-known Neapolitan shirtmakers, La Porta’s wares caught our eye due primarily to the range of fabrics on display. Particularly appealing to Jasper was (unsurprisingly) a medium-blue chambray shirt with exposed selvage detailing, though there were plenty of interesting patterns perfect for casual use alongside the more classic stripes and solids.

Arianna

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The Pittilogues: Pitti Uomo 91, Day 1

Since I flew to Florence from Denver, there was of course a Weed Bro on the plane who had Everything Figured Out. I was banished to the window seat (Lufthansa having somehow ruined my seating reservations), and therefore couldn’t escape from the lecture he gave the young german man sitting in the aisle. Car people just don’t know business, he’s told us, which is why he’s managed to disrupt the entire hail damage repair industry. He wanted to know what everyone did for work, and I was tempted to tell him that I was an ostrich wrangler.

Somehow it seemed like a fittingly absurd conversation to overhear on my way to Pitti 91, where there is an equal amount of absolute certainty about the rules of the fashion system with no demonstration that any of it is even real. My arrival in Italy was punctuated by a 10 hour layover in Frankfurt, which I spent wandering the Innenstadt and people-watching. I watched, for example, a couple flirting at the bar where I ate a truly humongous schnitzel. The boy was wearing cowboy boots with jeans tucked in. The girl was very, very drunk.

Listening to them flirt was fascinating. I took my time over a beer, wondering why we, as a people, seem to only be fascinated by the process of falling in love, and not what comes after. I’m thinking of this in part because of the incredibly trashy YA fantasy romance novels I spend every plane ride reading, but why do we lose interest once the “ILU’s” are traded? Why do we skip from puppy love to heartwarming wrinkled people, with no appreciation in between?

It’s maybe not the greatest metaphor, but I’m going to extend it to fashion anyway. We’re obsessed with the anticipation of what’s next, with the climactic experience of the purchase, and then – well, how many of us have lusted after a piece of clothing only for it to fade to obscurity once it’s in our wardrobe? Arianna, who is at Pitti with me, tells me that something about living in the US just makes her want to buy, buy, buy. And Pitti is very calculated to make you want to buy buy buy, as well – because I can walk into the Monitaly booth and say “I want to wear this head to toe,” then walk next door to De Bonne Facture and say the exact same thing.

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Some quick snaps of De Bonne Facture at Pitti Uomo 91

This was a train of thought that continued to chug along through the haze of jet lag when I arrived at the airport for my flight to Florence – because I had forgotten how easy it is to spot the Pitti-goers, double-breasted and bearded just as they were the last time I made this trek; playing the game even at ten thirty PM in an airport.

It’s a bit awkward to realize that you recognize most of what everyone is wearing. There’s a Gray knit blazer. There’s an LBM casentino overcoat. An East Harbor Surplus down vest. Stone Island. Adidas.  I wonder what the tarmac workers think of us as we climb the ladders to the aircraft, our strange parade of coats-draped over-trousers and bellicose lapels cutting a fine figure through the Frankfurt fog. And once arrived, we descend en masse in equal majesty; a riot of sparkly skull rings and undercuts and white sneakers and hoodies worn under overcoats. I wonder at the cumulative worth of the wardrobes contained within the luggage at the baggage carousel. It takes away the fun of things when it feels as though none of us have any imagination whatsoever. 

Pitti, however, hides some gems. We’ll report back, but I do have some pressing thoughts:

  1. First of all, I can’t help but wonder how long it will take for the see now, buy now mindset to take over Pitti. Choya, a Japanese shirt maker, is taking MTM shirt measurements at their stand, and I can’t imagine they’re alone – or that other brands are far behind.
  2. It felt empty today, on the guest front. I’d be interested to see what the official numbers are.
  3. Hype rules all. Arianna and I went to the presentation of the new collaboration Liverano & Liverano x Roy Rogers denim, and I’ll be damned if I didn’t almost want a pair by the end. And I wondered, per bullet point 1, how many people would have thrown money at the stand hand they been allowed to take the jeans home.
  4. There are a lot of well-dressed people, proportional to the number that look, frankly, ridiculous.
  5. There are a lot of neat brands, too – perhaps it’s Arianna’s idealism that’s rubbing off on me, or perhaps I’ve somehow never noticed in the past, but some of the brands here are, well – they’re cool.
  6. Yasuto Kamoshita remains maybe the best-dressed man on the planet. Wish I’d taken a picture.
  7. The Italian way of eating lunch, in which you drink wine, eat tasty charcuterie, and talk for two hours, is much better than wolfing down whatever hellish fast food you can find while continuing to work, like we do in the states.
  8. Since I know some of you out there are just waiting for me to talk about how miserable I am – yeah, my feet are a little sore.

After all of that, we attended the Permanent Style x Plaza Uomo symposium event, where we saw some old friends. And tomorrow we’ll get into the full swing of things, with a day of fashion shows, parties, and lots of photos from the Fortezza. You’re following us on Instagram, right?

pittilogues pitti uomo 91 styleforum instagram

Community Design: The Massdrop Chukka

If you spend time on Styleforum, you understand what it’s like to be part of an enthusiast community. You know the archetypes – from noob to tastemaker – and the abbreviations, from BB, ESF, and OCBD, to C&J and GMTO. You’ve also probably seen users band together to get the products they wanted – this is a core piece of any enthusiast community, and it’s why we created Massdrop. I’ve been a Styleforum member since 2011, and I’ve often been a part of those groups that are looking to put together something unique.

massdrop styleforum allen edmonds unlined suede chukka boot

That’s me, wearing the Massdrop x Styleforum x Allen Edmonds chukkas we put together.

Here at Massdrop, our job is to work with community members and help them engage with each other to find the products they want. You may recognize us from our affiliate thread on Styleforum, where we share some of our community-driven creations. By getting the community to work together (like they often do already), we’ve been able to get them the quality products they want for a better price. We’ve also found that if we work directly with brands to create new products, we can do even more to get the community what they want. If you’ve spent any time on Styleforum, you know that the people here are quite discerning. Almost any product, no matter how great, will inevitably be met with “if only this aspect were different, this would be perfect.” With our collaborative projects, our goal is to work with the manufacturers of these products to “tune” them to the desires of the community and offer them at a great price, resulting in an exclusive product that caters to what the community’s wants.

When we decided to kick off collaborations in the Massdrop Men’s Style community, the biggest question was who to partner with. We wanted to work with a brand with a strong forum following, as well as in-house manufacturing. Allen Edmonds quickly came out as a ideal choice – they have a huge fanbase on forums and beyond, and are a great go-to for those just getting into fine footwear. And while the quality of their products is quite high, many of the designs are less catered to the hardcore shoe enthusiast. Which led us to the question: what if they made a shoe specifically for us, the community?

The next step was landing on a style to pursue for the Massdrop x Styleforum project. We decided on the unlined suede chukka due to its popularity, as well as the fact that Allen Edmonds had released a few models that were ripe for tweaking (you can find many threads on the forum discussing the pros and cons of Allen Edmonds models like the Amok and Mojave). I reached out to Fok and pitched the idea to him. He has a long history of partnering with Allen Edmonds on the forum, and was able to perform the critical step of getting Massdrop in touch with Paul, the CEO of Allen Edmonds, which got the ball rolling.

I worked with Allen Edmonds production and the Massdrop team to learn about what the community’s options were in terms of materials, design, and so forth. We started working on prototypes, and once I had some samples to look at I reached out to respected members on Styleforum. With their help, we were able to hone in on what exactly a forumite would want in these shoes. After a couple months of prototyping, we landed on a style we all felt was a winner, and from there it was pretty easy.

massdrop styleforum allen edmonds unlined suede chukka boot

As you can tell, a lot of thought and a lot of details went into making these.

The most important aspects that we worked on were the material and the last. For the the suede, we sampled a few materials from CF Stead’s Janus line, and quickly agreed that Janus calf was the right call, even with the increased cost. For last shape, we wanted to shoot for the middle ground and offer something with a comfortable round shape for casual wear, without being too shapeless. Allen Edmonds’ 511 last was the natural choice, and the fact that it fits most people well was the icing on the cake.

 

From there, it was simple – introduce the shoes to the Massdrop and Styleforum communities. The project went live last week, and we’ve since sold over 700 pairs. The best part, however, is that it’s just the beginning. With this powerful example of what happens when a brand partners directly with the community they serve, we’ll be able to continue bringing projects like this to fruition. Styleforum members are full of good project ideas, and we’re going to do our best to keep up.

The Massdrop Allen Edmonds unlined chukka is available for purchase here.


The Styleforum Journal is supported by retailers such as Massdrop. This article is sponsored content.

Styleforum endorses the Ami double-breasted overcoat

One of the perks of going to a winter wedding is that you’ll get to wear an overcoat, which makes your outfit feel so much more substantial than anything you can wear in the summer.  I’m 42 now, which means that most of my friends were married over a decade ago (the average age at which people get married, according to a quick google search, is about 29, in the USA).  However, I have a large extended family, which means that I have a lot of younger cousins who are just now tying the knot, hitching the horse, or whatever euphemism you wish to use.  This means that my 15 year old overcoat will probably not fit any more.  And while I wouldn’t mind spring $3K on that casentino overcoat from Liverano&Liverano I saw in Florence a few years ago, I won’t need it that often (my family is not that big, nor do I need to wear suits that often). And with kids of my own, and a house, and all of that stuff that cost money, $3K seems a bit extravagant right now.  So, I’ve decided to go with this Ami double-breasted overcoat, which hits all the right style notes, and is the right price too.

Double-breasted camel hair overcoats are one of the few overcoats that have sporting, rather than military, roots, and originally appeared as a cover-up on the sidelines, apparently at polo matches.  Even though features in the original coat changed as it became a staple in both the UK and at American Universities, with two columns of buttons replacing the original belt, the original inspiration for the beige colored, double-breasted overcoat with flapped patch pockets is still quite recognizable.  It soon became an overcoat that was used for occasions of differing formality levels.  I saw this on East Coast campuses a lot in the noughties, and more and more throughout the general populace as long coats have become more and more popular for casual use, in this decade.

Of course, clothing evolves, and today’s versions of polo coats so often have details added or taken away that it’s probably best to just descriptively call the thing a double-breasted camel overcoat, to avoid arguments about whether it’s more like a polo coat, or more like a military greatcoat, or whatever.  It’s fun to discuss and argue the distinctions in an online discussion on Styleforum, of course.

Parisian brand Ami, founded by Marc Jacobs and Dior alum Alexandre Mattiussi, concentrates on contemporary sartorial basics and good approachable prices.  I’ve heard it called the heir apparent to A.P.C., and each collection includes robust similar sportwear and military inspired pieces in narrow and straight cuts that characterize early A.P.C., the brand is a little more urbane, a little more like that other French stalwart brand -Agnes B.

The original versions of this coat were apparently made of camelhair.  This coat uses the 80% wool/20% polyamide blend melton that is common in many modern overcoats, with the polyamide lending strength to a thinner material than would have been previously used.  Purists sometimes scoff and make sour faces at the use of synthetics, but I see it as an acceptable concession to modern tastes, which tend towards lighter weight fabrics.  I personally love the 32 ounce traditional melton, but I know that a lot of guys balk at that weight.  Also, textiles sciences has made great strides since the 1970s, when synthetics developed their bad reputation, and the old, still lingering, negative ideas about them are simply inaccurate.

The new version of the double-breasted overcoat also has a slim fit, which is quite different from the boxy fit of the original coat, and has set in, flapped pockets, rather than the original patch pockets.  Both I see as merciful changes made for the non-perfect physique.

Ami doublebreasted overcoat, $840 at www.mrporter.com

ami double-breasted overcoat

Ami doublebreasted overcoat, $840 at www.mrporter.com