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.
Mr. Guillaume Néry for Mr. Porter
One of the most underated and often obliviated pieces which comprised men’s wardrobes of old is definitely the hat. What was originally a mandatory complement to a gentleman’s attire, has currently become a taboo item for most men.
Seen strictly as a Summer piece for its functional aspect, due to the scorching heat we’ve been progressively experiencing, the hat’s glamorous and confident nature is at risk of being lost for good. Easily traded by its casual counterpart, the cap, the sight of a luxurious hat perfectly complementing a sharp attire is becoming increasingly hard to behold. Even more so, since it’s usually associated with older gentlemen and not something young men should try. Thankfully there are a few exceptions to the rule, be it older men to whom the hat has become a defining trait or younger men who have come to embrace it.
I, for one, have always been fascinated with them and ironically, my lack in the hair department posed the perfect excuse to purchase a few. Now, as with most accessories, a hat is one definitely worth investing in…ditch the 5$ beachside sale straw version and go for a quality one. Choosing between the variety of models out there is not to be taken lightly (porkpie, fedoras, bowler, trilby…) and the choice should reflect your facial anatomy. This is one of those times when listening to the salesman might be invaluable, provided he/she is a professional and knows about the subject, which is usually the case in specialized hat stores.
Fine hats might cost you up to to 500€ (if you go for handmade panamas) but there are more affordable alternatives out there in the 100-200€ range. Borsalino is definitely one brand to look for, but several others are already dishing viable alternatives: Paul Smith, Lock & Co., Barbisio, to name a few…Also, do consider a wool/cashmere version for the upcoming season, it just adds elegance and a gentlemanly feel to your attire.
Borsalino’s offerings in the season’s shades: camel and burgundy