Start-up. Self-confident: being aware of who we are and how we look like. Unconventional: unusual, different. Memorizing, putting together and mixing garments from our closet that instinctively seem compatible to us but not necessarily complementary. In other words, apply on yourself a style procedure that is often the start-up for fashion designers. They, travelling, go in search of new ideas, original inspirations, that they usually find – strangely enough – on the stalls of vintage markets. Look at your wardrobe like it’s the first time, eliminating the habits, trying not to wear the same things: mix up the cards, improvise, invent. Start the season with the will of being “new”. A look of Comme des Garcons in a picture of Peter Lindbergh (1994)



Master of style. John Cassavetes: a rare mix of beauty and talent. Between the 50s and the 80s he acted in about thirty movies and directed a dozen of independent movies. They were “special” movies, often filmed in interiors, like theatrical pieces. Conceptual films and intellectual scripts. Cassavetes, indeed, is not so famous, mainly among young people. The only movie that reached the public approval and made him popular as an actor at the end of the 70s was Rosemary’s Baby, by Roman Polanski. And the only well-known one he directed was Gloria. A summer night, interpreted by his wife Gena Rowlands. She had the same destiny. she is little known even if she’s as talented and beautiful as others more famous colleagues. Cassavetes has always been in the shadows, like all the greats of the show business and he was (in my opinion) unconsciously sensual. He had an innate and discreet style, he was confident wearing a suit as well as a classic/informal outfit. John Cassavetes (on the right) with Peter Falk. Picture from the book John Cassavetes by Jim Healy and Emanuela Martini (Il Castoro Publishing)


The man in red. Red. The colour of passion. You can find it in every painting of Mondrian, in the square sections of the Rubik’s cube, in the Van Gogh’s fields of poppies, in Tiziano’s paintings. In nature we find it in flowers and fruit. It’s the colour of the sunset. And of the hateful tribal ritual of corrida. Red has dominated for decades the fashion world, in womenswear and menswear: just think about “Valentino red”. It has been the main colour of many collection of Comme des Garçons, Iceberg, Moschino and Versace. In the 90s red has stopped for a few seasons the black invasion of Prada and Helmut Lang. Today it emerges in spots in every variation, from cherry to wine, to the pop-red. In menswear and accessories: its moderated use, filtered by good taste (and wisdom) will give as a result a pleasant look. Only one red accessory, the tie (from



The belt over the cardigan. Wearing a sweater inside the trousers could be a little eccentric, but is not a folly: in the early 1900s our great-grandfathers used to do it. A century has passed by from this shot by Lartigue, but look at how modern are the subjects. The final result of the look I suggest to you will give a old-fashioned effect and, so, why don’t  emphasize the vintage taste? The – single breasted – jacket if in plain colour has to be made of a rough fabric like the wool-crepe, otherwise of a printed fabric like Glencheck or vichy; the shirt has to have a little collar and light tone on tone stripes, the tie will be perfect if knitted. The cardigan, the protagonist, has to be thin, made of wool or cashmere. The belt? Matching the outfit and with a little buckle, not to attract too much attention on the waist. And, finally, the trousers: with pleats. Picture by James Henry Lartigue from the book Chic, le Sport! (Actes Sud/Hermès)


Military licence. The uniform style: how many times have we looked for USA Navy shorts, a shirt with tabs or a jacket with golden buttons in second-hand markets in Camden and Brick Lane (London), Marchè aux Puches (Paris), Williamsburg (NY) or Porta Portese (Rome)? military style is always indeed a synonym of vintage. The point is how, and how much, the vintage (or its “imitations”) has to be mixed with current menswear, daring a match with the classic/formal wear. This is a little choice of suitable matches: creased shirts break the perfection of a suit, especially if the tie has the same old-fashioned taste. Same thing for the trousers: if they have a used appearance, they soften, for example, the clear silhouette of a double-breasted blazer. But pay attention to the accessories: if they are the only vintage items, they clash with the outfit that can be misconceived as neglected; so be sure to wear something else sticking to the point. Winston Churchill in the British Army officer uniform.