I have always been intrigued about how Italian style has affected our modern fashion sensibilities.
For those familiar with the Italian sense of style, they know the Italians give the impression of taking great pains with their appearances, especially during the summer months.
An Italian workman in Venice, for example, always has a clean well-cut shirt to don in the evening to join the crowd at the Passeggiata on the piazza at six o’clock.
It would be largely academic to discuss traditional Italian styling of suits with their short jackets and tight trousers. Only the latter remain in the picture, the whole silhouette having now become Anglicized.
In my opinion, the Italians’ greatest contribution to men’s fashion came after the war when they made us aware of new styles in men’s clothes and jolted us out of our coupon and regulation-bound lethargy.
We owe a further debt to the tailors of Rome and Florence for showing us how to make suits in lightweight cloths, which by skillful use of thin canvases expertly cut and sewn as linings, them uncrumpled in the hottest weather.
Equally, in town shoes and particularly in those of the “slip-on” variety, Italian styles have always been fashionable. But current manufacturers are attacking this authority vigorously with cleverly designed boots, which we believe to be now more fashionable and more typically British than the Brogues that many imagine our only form of footwear.
For neckwear, it was Italian taste and invention that created the Italian necktie. Narrow and straight, with stripes horizontal instead of the traditional diagonal in gay new-looking rough silks, they brought an air of youth and freshness, which still remains to influence us.
In conclusion, the Italian style of dressing (and above all, their attitude to clothes) have a certain predatoriness and an air of masculine superiority softened with an almost feminine grace that intrigues women and has proved successful in the great game of sexual attraction.
David I. Buryn
Manhattan, NY Wardrobe Stylist @ AstorandBlack
Showroom: 10 East 33rd street 9th floor
New York, NY 10016