"The Hard Graft" by Art Comes First
Bespoke Excellence - Biagio Santo
Although not as prone to change as its counterpart, menswear has also experienced its share of cyclical trends, coming and going as both society and designers saw fit. Throughout the years, garments and accessories rotated in and out of the men’s fashion scene, with recent years seeking strong inspiration in early menswear influences, namely through the comeback of accessories. However, during this period, a handful of staple pieces prevailed, only to become menswear essentials in their own right. Among those, few carry such a timeless and quintessential connection to gentlemanliness as the tie.
I recently came in touch with Mr. Leo Faggiano: entrepreneur, artist, traveler, stylist… a man with a rich and unique background in the fashion business. Having studied arts in Rome and London, Leo then moved on to work with André Laug, one of the most renowned designers at the time, granting him the opportunity to travel the world and meet some of fashion’s most influential people.
Nowadays, he’s manager at one of the oldest and most exquisite bespoke tie manufacturers in Europe: Biagio Santo. Founded in Salento, Southern Italy, Biagio Santo brings to life the unique beauty and craftsmanship of traditional tailoring, acquired through a lifetime of dedication and passion for the art. The sartorial skills and techniques are now applied to a variety of luxurious neckwear and pocket squares, entirely handcrafted according to customer’s specifications. Their offerings include a wide array of available fabrics to choose from, including an exclusive vintage library and they are able to craft every model you can think of: 3 fold, 6 fold, 7 fold, unlined, the works. Crafted by an experienced team of tailors and seamstresses, each specialized in a particular step of the manufacturing process, every item is unique and embodies the brand’s values of perfection and excellence.
The Strap Ankle Boot
There’s an underlying elegance in leather strap footwear: monks for instance, be they single or double convey a characteristic poise enhanced by the belt-like fastening and metal buckles. As in so many other pieces, those small details make a whole lot of difference…
While looking for a more classic boot, reminiscent of the Chelsea and versatile enough to sport with jeans, chinos or slacks, I came across this version from Carlos Santos. Perfect height sitting at the ankle, beautiful shade of brown leather, Goodyear welted soles and featuring a strap fastening that instantly caught my eye. The sleek silhouette is balanced by the metal buckles and leather straps making them appropriate for dressing up or down according to your mood or preference. The perfect allrounder that was missing from my footwear collection, these will be on heavy rotation to achieve that perfect worn in effect.
Details: herringbone cotton jacket by Boglioli, MTO Thomas Mason Bespoke shirt, white jeans by Massimo Dutti, ankle boots by Carlos Santos, vintage silk pocket square and braided leather belt and watch by Daniel Wellington.
Model and Styling: Miguel Amaral Vieira
Linen on Linen
What I believe to be one of the most underrated and misunderstood fabrics, is undoubtedly one of my personal favourites. I won’t deny I have a passion for heavier textured winter fabrics as well, but there’s something unique to linen that makes me passionate about it. The ultimate Summer choice, this lightweight crinkled fabric is perfect to pull off intricate looks in the blistering heat, due to its breathability and unique fibers: and here is where opinions divide… Linen will always have a characteristic feel and crinkled look after wearing, which many consider rough and too relaxed or sloppy - for me, that’s just the beauty of it.
The unique charisma of a slightly wrinkled linen suit perfectly paired with horsebit loafers and unbuttoned shirt, it’s a hard one to match. Especially since nowadays ecru has given place to brighter shades and bolder patterns, allowing for endless possibilities of (un)polished elegance… As with all fabrics, quality linen comes at a price but there are a few affordable alternatives out there worth taking a look at, especially Zara: the Spanish giant produces not only some of the most original pieces but also with quite surprising quality. Both the vest and trousers feature a soft feel with just the right amount of roughness and stiffness to ensure a great fit (with some minor adjustments and tailoring of course). The intricately detailed vest pairs beautifully with the camo boat shoes while the rest of the look is toned down by a white dress shirt and navy pants.
Details: linen vest and pants by Zara, v-neck by Purificacion Garcia, dress shirt by Paul Smith, camo boat shoes by Asos, vintage floral pocket square, shades by Ray-Ban and watch by Daniel Wellington.
Model and Styling: Miguel Amaral Vieira
Introducing: Atelier de l’Armée
Apart from mindblowing creations shown on fashion week runways, getting in touch with unique brands and concepts who deliver something out of the box you can actually wear (and purchase), is getting harder each passing day. Plus, with the amount of clothing and accessories production increasing on a daily basis there’s no getting around the waste from exceeding stocks or wardrobe purges; so, when I came across Atelier de L’Armée I couldn’t help to be absolutely blown away.
After going through their website and placing an order for a 1974 belgian paratrooper jacket and a pair of dutch airlines pants (more on that later), I lost track of time browsing through a neverending list of unique, numbered bags handcrafted with vintage army deadstock such as tents, jackets, pants, linings, denim and rifle handles. I got a chance to talk to Elza & Joost, the minds behind this amazing brand…