The Woolrich John Rich & Bros collection gets better every season. The brand is a product of the Italian apparel group WP (who also created Woolrich Woolen Mills, the Barbour Beacon collection and others). Since I spent most of my time at Pitti with my good friend Aaron Levine, I forced him to model our collective favorite piece from the new collection — a tweed arctic parka.
It’s that time again, time for the Italian-craziness that is the ultimate menswear tradeshow Pitti Uomo. I’ve got a lot planned and a healthy amount of sartorial coverage upcoming, but until then I give you these first few teaser shots (below) and the tip to the ACL twitter for the action as it happens.
Additionally, I am sharing a lot of great stuff (at least what I believe to be great stuff) through instagram, so follow @acontinuouslean for that channel of ACL Pitti adventures. More soon enough.
The Italians are coming, the Italians are coming. One unstructured sportcoat by land, two if by sea! I’ve brought my Americano ways to Firenze for the much ballyhooed menswear tradeshow to see the forthcoming Italian invasion in their homeland. While in Tuscany, I’ll be checking out the new SS12 clothes from probably the best concentration of brands anywhere in the world. My photos, thoughts, and espresso powered experience is being beamed straight to GQ, you can see the first installment here.
I’ll also be sharing my Giro d’Pitti via Twitter and Instagram (@acontinuouslean).
Florence is a reassuring city. You go there for stone walls, old frescoes and steaks as thick as a reference book. They love their country clothes there (it’s a surprisingly good place to get a second-hand Barbour). You see hunting dogs, tweeds in winter, and it feels perfectly natural when an old man bicycles down the street smoking a pipe. All bets are off when Pitti Uomo arrives with its parade of clowns, though most of the year the calculation remains the same. But there are still surprising ways to visit the city on the Arno and remake the classic equation.
Consider Villa La Massa, your dream of the Italian countryside made real. This 16th Century Medici Villa was converted into a hotel in 1948 and then renovated in 1998 by the owners of the renowned Villa d’Este. It’s set right on a bend in the river, across from fields and gentle hills. It’s about a twenty minute drive from town and they have a shuttle that regularly drops you near the Ponte Vecchio.
You can take your café or aperitif next to pool, there’s a small but elegant spa, and walking paths through a 22-acre garden, with rosemary, irises and pear trees. This is a much less formal affair than Villa d’Este (coats are not required for dinner, but you are in Italy, so why not?). It’s a low-key pastoral setting that’s intimate, handsome and contemplative.
Villa La Massa succeeds beyond its setting: You can attend cooking classes, wine tastings, eat white truffles in October or head out to visit distinguished towns and churches around Tuscany. But it doesn’t make you do more than you want to: You can sit by the river, read a book and drink your Negroni. Villa La Massa understands that you want to travel on your own terms. And in this setting, those terms are always good.
Earlier this month I flew to Italy to cover the new spring / summer 2015 collections being presented at the trade show Pitti Uomo. But before heading to the Fortezza da Basso, I made the trip down to Naples to see my favorite Italian shirtmaker (and tailor) Salvatore Piccolo and witness first-hand how he creates some of the finest hand-made shirts in the world. Having been to factories in Italy before, I knew this would be a great opportunity to document this unique process and partnered with Canon to tell the story behind the photographs.
When ACL began, it wasn’t with a specific plan in mind. I never thought I would be seeking out well-made things, or visiting factories. In fact, I never really expected the site to be anything more than a journal of the things I personally was interested in, it never seemed possible that any quantity of people would actually be following what happened here. At the same time I never intended to become a photographer. I understood the importance of photos on the web, but up until 2007 I never really took any pictures, ever. As I went to discover new things for ACL, my camera played an increasingly important role to the success of the site, and I started to find that I became increasingly interested in becoming a better photographer. My camera and ultimately my knowledge (and desire to own) different lenses helped raise the bar for ACL dramatically. I was quick to discover the importance of a good camera and quality lenses with great optics.
American companies publish men’s style magazines. Japanese companies publish sacred texts of the religion that is men’s clothing.
What separates Japanese publications from their American counterparts is obsession. While American writers cover clothing and the lifestyle that surrounds it, Japanese writers identify every possible minute detail, study them to death, and then publish these beautifully designed tomes of men’s style. Japanese magazines, are bound by one thing (well, aside from the language that is), density.
There’s now more publications then ever before, and each one seems to set a new pedantic high point. Flip through any of these imported publications and you’ll see page after page of these masterfully arranged stories that scrutinize and celebrate men’s clothing in a manner that hasn’t been seen since Gentry Magazine back in the fifties. While all of these titles do fall into the general category of “clothing,” each has their own quirks and characteristics that set them apart, so to help you navigate this sea of Kanji and street style photos, we give you a timely breakdown of eight of ACL’s favorite Japanese magazines.
This is the brand you probably only hear about in the wake of Pitti Uomo. The reason it doesn’t come up much is because, outside of his custom shirting clients, Salvatore Piccolo has very little distribution of the brand in the U.S. In a way, this limited availability sort of enhances the brand to me. It’s not in every shop and it’s not on every e-commerce outpost. Barneys has it and that’s apparently enough for the brand and for people like me who love its collection.
The reasons for this limited engagement, I hear, has to do with the fact that Salvatore himself is very involved in the entire process of making his clothing, from designing the fabrics (many of which are exclusive from mills in both Italy and Japan) to running the bottega in Napoli where everything is made. Increasing production and expanding is tough when one man needs to be involved in every detail. Coincidentally, that’s probably what makes these clothes so great and it is also probably the reason why I like them so much.