Italy Fashion Shows

Pitti Immagine and Caruso graciously co-sponsored my wife and  my trip to the Florence Pitti Immagine international men’s fashion shows and to  the Fashion Week in Milan, Italy.

Update! – See  the shoes and Caruso Suit and Sport Jacket – see the bottom of this page!

We arrived in Florence (Firenze) Italy after what seemed like three days on several flights. Our hotel, Santa Maria Novella, was perfectly  located within walking distance of the Pitti Immagine show and the Duomo. Right  on the Santa Maria Novella church square.

This was the view from our hotel window.

We walked around and then met our hosts Alessandra Alla, head  of communication for Caruso, and Umberto Angeloni, co-owner of Caruso,  at the fabulous St. Regis hotel for dinner.

The Entrance to Pitti Immagine Uomo, Fortezza da Basso.   It just looks cold!

The first day of Pitti Immagine Alessandra got our Press Passes and we attended the opening presentation with dignitaries including the  Mayor of Firenze.  And then there was sparkling wine for all!

The Press Passes gave us total access to the show, the  press area with free flowing espresso, and included a lavish buffet everyday  with as much wine as you wanted! Should have taken some photos of that!

How does the press do it?

Got to meet Raffaello Napoleone (Pitti’s CEO) but he was too  busy to stand still for a photo! And we sat with Sibilla della Gherardesca,  Pitti Immage, PR consultant at lunch one day.

It was surprising who was there!

John Carroll and Stuart Newmark from Carroll & Co., Beverly  Hills, CA

Met Tim Mureau, an author and European clothing rep who  introduced me to half the vendors at Pitti!

Paul Grangaard of Allen Edmonds

Colin Hall of Allen Edmonds

Kirby Allison of The Hanger Project

Kirby and I had planned to meet at the Edward Green booth where I talked to  Hillary for a while and then Matthew measured me for a pair ofNewburys in Burnt Pine!

Also AAAC Member Max of Bresciani, Fabio from Paolo Albizzati (neckwear) and  Chris Brueckner of Oxxford

A Hardy Amies fashion show at the Stazione Leopolda.  In the front  row William Fung of Li & Fung from Hong Kong, owner the brand Hardy Amies, some  members of the Ferragamo family, many VIPs; we were in the second row.  Of course we introduced ourselves.

In the photo above is the prince Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia  grandson of the previous King of Italy  who sat at our table for the dinner  following at the incredible Palazzo Borghese.

Also at our table at dinner was the British Ambassador and the British Consul, and Leonardo Ferragamo’s son Paolo.  And there was a  British Prince from Kent in the room!

Two days at Pitti and then we were off to visit the Caruso Factory in Soragna, Parma  home of the Culatello, the best part of the Parma Ham, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

The factory is huge!  It has 600 employees in three buildings.   One building for the production of suits and jackets, one for trousers and one  for fabric cutting.  Note the computers!

And lots of hand work for the 2,000 different models manufactured there  each season!

This is Alberto Caruso (son of founder Raffaele Caruso) and part owner of the  company.

Lunch at the Antica Corte Pallavicina a great restaurant and hotel right  on the banks of the Po river where they, in the basement, cure thousands of  Culatello hanging from the ceiling and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese!

Had a great lunch tasting the different aged hams and cheeses.

Can’t have ham and cheese without a few drinks!

Getting fitted for a Caruso suit!  The tailor is Luca Talarico (fifth  generation custom tailor).

My hair must look like that from all the ham,  Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and wine at lunch!

Our hotel in Soragna, Stella de Ora.  The restaurant here won the  best wine list in Italy for 2011!  Lucky us!



The next morning before going on to Milano we walked around and went through the  castle of Soragna.

The first fort was built on the site in 1385 but the  current castle is grand with paintings and frescoes by Cesare Baglione,  landscapes by Brescianino, a magnificent staircase designed by Draghi, and the  Chapel of Santa Croce, built at the beginning of the 17th century.

The Italian Prince, Diofebo Meli Lupi still lives there.

Our driver and the Chef packs the car!

Our hotel in Milano, the Manin, was in a perfect location to walk to the “Rodeo  Drive” of Milano, the “Quadrilatero d’Oro”, and all the events.  The view from the window was of  a large park.

And the best feature is they had an iron and board!

The first big event was the Uman presentation in the Concept Room in via Gesù.

Uman is Umberto Angeloni’s line of personal designed suits for style  connoisseurs.  Every  reporter in the world was there at one time or other during the evening.   The “wallpaper” is the unique design for the lining of Uman jackets.

Umberto’s office with crocodile courtesy of his “sportsman” son Marco, who  works with him at Caruso.

After an evening of great hors d’oeuvres and the “Uman” – a drink that’s even on  the Four Season’s Hotel menu, we were off to a little trattoria The Paper Moon.  (Recommended by Alessandra).

In between events was great for shopping, and finding wonderful places for a  cocktail.  Like the exquisite Grand Hotel et de Milan, and the new Armani Hotel  bar (this is a view from the bar).

Next big event was held in the Caruso showroom.

Alessandra at work!


Above the fireplace, a picture of the famous Culatello by  photographer Gianni Pezzani.  And what are they serving (besides the wine  and prosecco) – Culatello and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese!


The Terrace of the Caruso Showroom where Alessandra tries to  grow strawberries!


Alberto Caruso and me.  Note my Apparel Arts necktie.

Me, Alberto and Umberto Angeloni

Practicing my Japanese (and from his expression I think he understands perfectly!).

Choosing my suit fabric.  The Caruso fabric expert is Marco Giorna  (formerly head of design for mills: Colombo, Tallia, Guabello and Cerruti).


The Esquire men arrive!  Nick Sullivan (in the middle) and Wendell Brown.   It was fun to watch Nick work and he really did work.

No food or wine, but  went right to trying on almost every garment in the show, photographing most of  them and then out and on to the next show!

He did pick up on this jacket (it’s on my right above).  There was a old  photograph of Maestro Enrico Caruso, the world famous Italian tenor,wearing a jacket like this and  Caruso (no relation) redesigned and produced it.

Here’s what Nick reported:
Caruso: The Red One

Nice Shetland sportcoats, building on the ones we saw at Pitti. —Nick Sullivan

Instead of the signature red, I’m getting one in brown!

The next day, after some more shopping we were back at the Uman Concept  Room where a reporter from Bloomberg, Andrew Roberts, was just finishing interviewing Umberto.  So it was  time to explore Umberto’s vast Scotch collection!

Our reference guide was, of course:  Single Malt Whisky: An Italian  Passion by Umberto Angeloni !!

The large bottle of Ardbeg was given to Umberto by Barbra Broccoli after one of  the James Bond films.  When Umberto was with Brioni they furnished the  wardrobe.

Another reason Uman is such a special line of clothing!  This is the suit  cover!  Known to be worn as a garment at certain beach resorts!

Then off to dinner.  Trattoria Bagutta opened in 1924 and is famous not  only for the interior, but as the home of the Italian Literary awards which  were started in 1926.




The Edward Green Newbury in Burnt Pine!

When I was at the Pitti in Florence I stopped by the Edward Green booth and had a nice talk with Hilary (as usual) and had the pleasure of meeting Matthew Allen.

Matthew measured me for shoes and we decided on the Newbury in Burnt Pine (888 last). Got them last week and they are absolutely beautiful.

Some comments here:

Caruso Suit and Sport Jacket:

I received the Caruso suit and special sport jacket and  they are the two most beautiful garments I’ve ever seen!

These photos don’t do them justice.

The suit is navy with a small window pane pattern (almost a  large check) and the fabric is fantastic!  It’s 3 ply wool.  The three  ply actually gives it a depth or dimension that is unique.

And speaking of unique – the sport jacket as you remember was  copied from one that Enrico Caruso, the world famous Italian tenor, was wearing  in a ca 1920 photo and Caruso (no relation) redesigned and produced it.


It’s spectacular in details – patch pockets with buttoned  flaps, peak lapels, and great buttons (working sleeve buttons, of course).

The original sport jacket they think was around 450 grams  (about 15 oz) but Caruso made it from a lighter and softer fabric of 330 grams  (10 to 12 oz).

The workpersonship on both the garments is superior.