British College. The illustration by J. C. Leyendecker (right) conveys the features and the codes of a timeless style, from the British campuses: the first signs of men’s fashion of the 20th century. The drawing is of 1929, and it was the adv campaign of the Interwoven hosiery factory. I’ve already written about the importance of socks. As you can see, even our forerunners were very careful about details. Look at the rest of the look: apart from the pipe (I haven’t seen one for decades), it is in accordance with the taste of several modern brands, that propose the eternal college style in sweater or blazer version and the wide trousers with turn-ups. And finally the slippers. That, horrible for some and gorgeous for others, are the number-one-accessory in the list of fashionistas. Right, an illustration of J.C Leyendecker for Interwoven (1929)


At a man’s feet. It is said that a man’s elegance stays also (and especially) in the shoes he wears. A pair of shoes can be fashionable, classic or sporty, depending on the kind of man that wears it and, for every variety of shoes, there are rules to be respected in terms of elegance. Style has nothing to do with beauty and quality of an accessory: when style is absent, the accessory itself loose its identity. The wider is the offer, the higher is the chance to get wrong. The crocodile – for example – has to be “impoverished” by a minimal look; the chelsea-boot mustn’t be worn with wide-bottomed trousers; bicolor shoes has to be worn with caution and, in case of bright colours’ matches, it’s good to bear in mind that they’re “dedicated” to trendy under 30. Age has its weight talking about sneakers too: if you are over 30 but you wear them because they’re comfortable, do it just in the spare time. In doubt, it’s better to choose classic: a brogue in calf leather, but never in black before 6 pm.



Grey-blue. The nostalgia for one-time Milano is a generation vice, doomed to be handed down forever. Today’s twentysomething will say the same thing repeated by nostalgics now. Who was twenty between Seventies and Eighties regret a Milan that doesn’t exist anymore (“how fine we felt, how nice it was”). Actually, they regret having lost their youth; Milan’s energy was a projection of adolescence, it was not true. There was both cultural and political unrest, but dont’ forget that they were the so-called “Years of lead”. Today it’s more beautiful and liveable than once even if it remains a hard city: you can love or hate it, there’s nothing in the middle. Maybe “it doesn’t laugh and have fun anymore”, as Lucio Dalla sang in his ’79 piece, but it’s almost ready for Expo, peripheral areas have become beautiful and new glass buildings look like shining rockets pointed towards the future. The new Milan is grey-blue. Fast and glossy more than ever. Work in progress for Milan Expo.


Men’s fashion changes direction. Fall/winter collections are sold since the first days of July, but I feel like ruling out that italian men have already cleaned out the stores, thinking about a new wardrobe. Why did I write a “new” wardrobe? It’s simple, because fashion – also men’s – has changed direction; the proof comes from last fashion shows in June that reaffirmed a drastic transformation (but it’s a matter of summer 2014, it’s too early to talk about). By now, anyway, the turning point is clear. The general trend exclude the sportswear in favour of a style with no midtones: very elegant or very fashionable. Or both together. To sum up: – Among classic shades, grey, blue and camelhair last but, in compensation, winter lights up with colours like yellow, red and light blue. – The fur is back, as a coat or as an embellishment on lapels of long coats: the three quarters jacket has, infact, almost vanished; it’s time of the calf-lenght coat or the waist-lenght jacket, there’s hardly anything in the middle. – Patterns on fabric (heavy wool and flanel mainly) goes from macro-tartan to glenchecks and houndstooth, and the double-breasted suit is in again. Michael Caine in 1966, wearing a double-breasted suit, one of the winter trends.