Thursday, February 26, 2009

Pitti Uomo Part II - Bags and shirtings

Next up from Denmark was MISMO, bags and accessories designed by Rikke and Adam. Working and living together has paid off for this couple as they are celebrating their third season. Of course living and working together is not all fun and games. It can lead to endless discussions as to where to put a rivet! But whatever they are doing, they are creating a beautiful line of canvas and leather bags and accessories.

Their products are so meticulously designed that they do not change from season to season, but each piece remains a modern "refined classic for a vibrant lifestyle". It all starts with natural dyed vegetable leather which is specially developed for them. Because it is natural it tends to wear well over time so each MISMO(meaning myself or yourself in Spanish) piece develops it's own distinct look even if they are the same style. Their philosophy is "real luxury arises from the choices made - about what to subtract and what should remain".

I loved the "Stamina" computer bag, (which happens to be their bestseller) just big enough for a MacBook and a few extra items. It also comes in a larger version, the "Herald" will hold laptops with 17" screens. Just in time as the new Apple 17" MacBook pro just came out and I am in LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. I spent 2 hours in the store with the saleswoman showing me all these features I just had to have to make my computing life easier. Go, look, play...dream!! I digress....With extras such as adjustable/removable shoulder straps, pen holders, zip pockets and pockets for phones and adapters these computer bags are not only simply beautiful but also functional. Leather colors are anthracite (dark grey), desserto (tan) and black.


If you are so attached to your present computer bag that parting with it is out of the question, go for the "Vega" leather laptop protector in 13", 15" or 17" sizes.

Mismo also has a line of canvas bags (overnight, shopper, tote and sleeve) with full grain leather straps and detailing. Personally I never found those white/cream canvas bags appealing. Maybe they just seemed too boxy or not "city" appropriate for my tastes. But for some reason the shape and vibrant colors of Mismo made me reconsider. Current canvas colors are army green, navy and curry. All the bags are water-resistant as Adam proved by pouring a glass of water onto one of them. The leather collection is currently only sold in Japan and Scandinavia but I'm hoping to see them stateside soon!! The canvas collection can be ordered at a London based operation which will ship overseas.

In addition to their basic line there are also a line of limited edition products as well as wallets and card cases. Go to to see all the Mismo offerings.

After Mismo I tried to stop by POGGIANTI 1958, a collection of shirtings designed and produced in Italy. As was the case the last time I saw them, their booth was packed. This extensive collection of traditional (with a twist) to novelty shirtings has very little recognition in the U.S. (Boyds in Philadelphia) but is sold extensively abroad in such places as Raspini in Florence (one of my favorites)...Harvey Nicols in Dubai....Cruise boutiques in London.

Still lots of purple and purple hues...turned up cuffs with contrasting fabric...slimmer silhouettes for denim...embroidered denim...

Now let's get back to my 15" MacBook Pro. I felt like I was in a dream when I left the 5th Ave Apple bubble. All those features swirling around my head. The portability for my James Bond on the go lifestyle, so thin, so chic... Then it hit me...why don't I find a new job first before going out to spend money on a laptop which I don't really need. Plus, unlike 007, I'm not jetting around the continent (yet!!) I'm only going as far as my unlimited metro card will take me. But at least for a few hours the thoughts of recession, doom and gloom were gone. And I encourage you to go out and find something you really like to do...pick up a brochure for that Greek Isle vacation...try on a new pair of shoes...see what you want for Spring...or just go to a museum. Yes, you can dream a little!!! It doesn't cost a thing.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Pitti Uomo Fall 2010 shoes and accessories


Ladies and gentlemen...if you, your bf/husband have been saving those wide leg pants thinking they will be back, please note that for Fall 2010, they won't!! Put them back in mothballs. I attended the Pitti Uomo show in Florence, Italy. For those non-industry folks that is the show/fair where menswear designers preview/sell their lines for Fall 2010. The show is four days long with hundreds of vendors showing everything article of clothing and accessory a man could want. I had to pack it all in two and one-half days as I had to get back to Rome to attend the farewell dinner to the U.S. ambassador to Italy...but that's another story. Back to fashion...EVERYONE wore their pants, stretto, stretto meaning very narrow/slim legged with pointed/narrow toed shoes. I was so shocked at the prevalence of this trend that I could not bring myself to wear my favorite full leg wool trousers for fear of being seen as an outcast. How could I interview someone looking so 2 seasons ago!!! For the really fashion forward it was the slim leg pant with a 1 and 1/2- to 2-inch cuff and it you really wanted to be ahead of the curve it was worn at the ankle.

Also note that purple was everywhere! This is very surprising considering that in Italy, purple is used for funerals and is normally seen as something one does not wear, che sfortuna (bad luck). It was in the Italian stores for this Fall 2009 and seems to be continuing for Fall 2010 in all shades from pale lavender to dark jewel tones and could be found in all classifications. I love purple with grey (from light to charcoal gray), with black and even navy. Great with white for Spring/Summer as below. Please use sparingly!! No head to toe dressing least you look like a walking grape!!

In the short time I had there were a few vendors that I thought deserved special mention. I'm tired of seeing the same old merchandise repeated in every department store so I was in search of new designers who could bring some excitement back into the shopping experience. I was able to come up with a few which by coincidence were either new to the show or new in the sense that no one in the U.S. carries them. Hopefully that will change.

First Like I previously mentioned shoes were very pointy or had a rounded toe. Fratelli Borgioli had beautiful hand-made shoes. Borgioli is a family owned business and Giacomo who I spoke with is 3rd generation. The shoes are made in Vinci, outside of Florence, birthplace of Leonardo Da Vinci. Each shoe passes through about 80 hands from the time the leather is stitched until it is hand packed and shipped. The trend for dress shoes is a two-toned look with the toe being darker than the rest of the shoe. Borgioli uses a particular type of leather which is washed and overdyed with another color to achieve this 2-tone effect.

Their selection ran from laser cut classic Oxford lace ups to... double buckle straps with Norwegian/baseball stitching to...

what I call the new "hybrid" shoe. Is it a shoe or is it a sneaker? From a side view and having a hard sole it could pass for a shoe but from above with its stitching and laces it looks much more sporty/casual.

Most clever were the leather shoes pieced with tartan fabric and A Shoe for Fred; "a shoe with a sort of sock (suede) integrated like a glove."

There was also alot of patent leather piecing on sport shoes and sneakers as was the case at H8 by Alexander Hotto, which I unfortunately did not get to interview. This can be presently seen in many of the Italian shoe stores. Right now Borgioli is only sold in Benelux France in a few small boutiques. They can be contacted below to see if their distribution channels have been expanded.
Fratelli Borgioli srl
phone: 039-0571-585881

Next up was a past favorite, belts from GUIDO ANGELONI.

What caught my eye was the more modern Devil's Skin collection especially the bronze dragon buckle with rubies. Their motto is "the accessory becomes a necessary object to make yourself different". Whether you choose the Devil's Skin collection or the more traditional Guido Angeloni line(including leather/shark, leather/pony combos) you will be able "to make yourself different". They have an A-list of private label clients including Corneliani, Zegna, Cavalli, Dolce e Gabbana, Stone Island and Diesel, just to name a few.

Precious metals and stones....

Handcrafted...vintage materials...leather and shark...leather and pony

phone: 39-035-437-6563

Stay tuned for more Pitti looks including knitwear, bags, jewelry plus what was already in Italian windows for Spring 09...
I leave you with a few photos from dinner at Circolo della Caccia, Roma for U.S. Ambassador Ronald P. Spogli. Circolo was the home of Napoleon Bonaparte's sister.
A presto.

Waiters wore velvet of the first elevators...Ambassador Spogli(on left)

The room...Mrs. Georgia Beth Spogli (on left)

Assorted guests....More of the event can be seen on the AICR website.