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Know Thyself | ISAIA AW13

Jan 27th, 2013 | Categories: Italy, Made in Italy, Menswear, Napoli, Pitti Uomo 2013 | by Michael Williams

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Seeing Isaia’s fall collection is one of the things that makes the trek to Florence worth it. The Neapolitan tailor never ceases to impress when it comes to shape and texture. The styling and strong sense of color also serve as some of the most inspirational corners of the menswear summit that is Pitti Uomo. The brand’s AW13 collection is no let down in this regard. There’s a lot going on in a relatively small selection of items, but the spirit remains and Isaia continues to delight with its willingness to know itself and be the brand it wants to be, not the brand other people want it to be.

Like most of the Isaia clothing in the past, this collection draws its inspiration from Naples, specifically from Januarius (the city’s patron saint) and the Naples Cathedral. The details of these inspirations show up in prints and in other small elements of the collection. The photos here give a nice sense of the fabrics, styling and feelings you can look forward for the coming fall.

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Shopping Tokyo | Journey

Jan 11th, 2013 | Categories: Japan, Tokyo | by Michael Williams

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After every visit to Daikanyama, I leave thinking it is the neighborhood I would most like to inhabit should I ever move to Tokyo. It is never really crowded, there’s an Eataly (which pre-dates and surpasses NYC’s consistently chaotic eye-talyon outpost), really delicious coffee, leafy streets and of course good shopping. It sort of reminds me of TriBeCa in a lot of ways. That’s to say it is probably very expensive to live there, which likely means I would not ever be able to call it home, but it’s fun to imagine. Anyway, back to the point at hand: the importance of quality menswear retail. Tokyo has it in spades, much more than any city anywhere in the world. Having been all over the place, I am comfortable saying this rather bold statement because it is undeniable. The consumer culture is borderline insane and that is what makes it so much fun to visit.

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Being Neapolitan | A Lesson in Language & Style at Isaia

Jul 3rd, 2012 | Categories: CC Reagan, Italy, Pitti Uomo June 2012 | by CC Reagan

The first time I met Gianluca Isaia was years ago on a gray, damp day in Milano. He was wearing a heavy wool double-breasted brown and beige herringbone topcoat. His hair was long and he was throwing back caffe’ like a man doing shots of tequila. He had just arrived that morning from New York and the gloomy Milan climate wasn’t sitting well with him (in fact, it doesn’t sit well with any Italian who hails from Rome and below, but that’s for another entry). Yet, despite the jetlag and the rain, Gianluca had a take-it-or-leave-it lightness to him, a wholly Neapolitan attitude equal parts optimism and fatalism. I would later come to understand it informs everything he does, not least of all his distinct approach to dressing.

“Non pazziar’,” he tells me as he shows me through the spring collection during the latest Pitti Uomo. That’s Napolitano for “no joking” (I can’t help it if I found his blue, red and white Prince of Wales suit and signature leather Capri sandals amusing). But I should know better, when it comes to this venerable brand, style is no laughing matter. That’s not to say, though, there isn’t room for a bit of irony.





American Goods in Italia | Topo Designs at Pitti

Jun 22nd, 2012 | Categories: Camping, Made in the USA, Pitti Uomo June 2012 | by Michael Williams

My first encounter with the Topo Designs founders Jedd Rose (below right) and Mark Hansen was a perfectly orchestrated meeting over beers that happened completely by chance 4000 miles from home. A few months back I purchased a few items from the Topo online store and really came to love the design and aesthetics.  I used the bags a bunch and more often than not people asked me where they came from. Intrigued I followed the guys on Twitter and Instagram and enjoyed the laid back and approachable nature of the company. That feeling came full circle when Mark and Jedd stopped me this week in a bar in Florence after a long day in the hot sun at the peacock friendly menswear trade show that is Pitti Uomo.





Lubiam AW12

Feb 29th, 2012 | Categories: Italy, Pitti Uomo January 2012 | by Michael Williams

There’s no denying the styling ability of the people at Lubiam. There’s also no denying their ability to crush you with texture. I mean crush you in a good way. By now you probably recognize that I am taking a measured approach in doling out my coverage from Pitti, because it’s not like these clothes are going to be in stores for another few months, so what’s the rush.





Shopping Milan | Officina Slowear

Feb 3rd, 2012 | Categories: Menswear, Milan | by Michael Williams

My appreciation for the hyper-specialized Italian menswear brand Slowear is no secret. While in Italy between Pitti Uomo and the watch show in Switzerland I stopped into the brand’s cozy flagship in Milan. The shop houses a great representation of each of the labels that make up the Slowear brand, with an impressive selection of trousers from Incotex that really caught my attention. Individually, Incotex is by far the most widely known brand of the bunch and the pants have reached icon status in both Europe and Japan. I’m told that the business in America is strong as well. I believe it too, because the brand is strong to me.





Slowear | Focus on What You Know.

Aug 3rd, 2011 | Categories: Italy, Menswear | by Michael Williams

My whole life my father has done his best to drill certain lessons into me, to pass along some of his hard won knowledge to make my journey wiser and easier than his. As I started building a business he was always tell me to “focus on what you know,” a lesson that has served me well over the years. It is also a concept I subscribe to in general. To do what you do best. This concept is also something in practice at a company I have become very interested in, Slowear.

With all of my trips to Italy this year I fell in love with the set-up and execution of Slowear. To better understand the concept I pulled some info from the company website:

We believe that the only way to do something well is to have the right expertise. That’s why the four brands that make up the group – Incotex, Zanone, Glanshirt and Montedoro – are all founded on the principle of specialization.