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Italiatrad

Tradaholics

As the weather forecast finally starts to look up, I leave you this week with a photo I hope you’ve all seen already. Taken at Yale in 1965, this is in my opinion the only photo worth looking at for the next few months, thanks to the fellow second from left. White chinos, sock-less loafers, three-roll-two navy blazer, chalk white buttons, OCBD, club masters, hair like YSL at 21, unflappable attitude. This is what I’d consider to be the perfect spring look, so go forth and dress better than everyone else.

Oh, and here’s a close-up for good measure.

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Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

When Ian Velardi turns to me and asks “so what do you think” I get the sense that he genuinely wants to know the answer.  Amongst the innumerable booths of capsule, and even more innumerable boilerplate conversations filled with half-hearted queries, talking to Velardi feels like a much needed respite.  He might be soft-spoken, but Velardi seems to actually consider every word he says, and so as I walked through his booth on the opening day of capsule, carrying on probably the only thoughtful conversation I had in a booth all day, I could tell that Velardi pays that same level of attention to the clothes he designs.

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It opens with a Princeton crested navy blazer, closes with a duffle coat and in between The Talented Mr. Ripley traverses between the Ivy League world of New York City, the cobblestone steps of Italian cities, and concludes with a nod to the English countryside.  As the diabolical Tom Ripley (played by Matt Damon) arrives in Italy from New York to bring Dickie Greenleaf (played by Jude Law) back to the city and his father’s shipbuilding empire, he is clothed in pleated trousers, a black knit tie, and what appears to be a Brooks Brothers button-down, which would’ve been standard issue for any “Princeton man” of 1955.  I won’t spoil the story by detailing Tom’s exploits as a con artist, although Damon’s performance as one of the most finest liars to ever grace the silver screen is worth the price of admission alone.  But it’s the costumes, running the spectrum from trad to Neapolitan to Anglo that wrap the entire film in a blend of hopsack, cord, wool, and cashmere which covers all the character’s ruthless deeds and personality flaws, making them seem all the more sinister from behind those fine threads.

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VRS

This past summer, during an exceptionably slow day at work, my friend (and former co-worker) Matt spontaneously summed up the entire current menswear wave with one word: “Italiatrad.” While Matt’s impromptu portmanteau was all we needed to kill a day discussing the marriage of Neapolitan and Ivy, after that day I’d practically forgotten about the word altogether, although I’m pretty sure Matt’s been searching for a “real” definition of the word ever since.  This past week though, I found Italiatrad back at the forefront of my mind, as I sat there reading the announcement that Antonio Ciongoli was leaving his role as deputy creative director of Michael Bastian to spearhead the creative direction of Isaia’s resurrected diffusion brand, Eidos.

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