As anyone who has been fortunate enough to visit Milan will tell you, the city is not all fashion. There are several old and new stores worth the visit for those interested in classic menswear.
By reputation, the city’s three stand-out establishments for tradition and quality are Bardelli, Neglia and Tincati. However, each offers something quite different – as I discovered recently.
Neglia is the destination for Milanese men looking to the best in English and American imports. So the shoes are Church’s and Edward Green, the umbrellas and the bags from Brigg, the suits in the window from Ralph Lauren, and half of the ties from Drake’s. So while there are also top-class Italian names like Brioni and Kiton, and Neglia’s new and expanded own-label suits, the shop does not offer much to the international visitor that he can’t get elsewhere. The one exception is probably Incotex trousers – their cords pictured below.
M Bardelli is very different. One of the oldest men’s clothing establishments in Milan, it could safely claim to be the definition of Milanese style – classic, formal, with heavy English influences. Particularly prevalent (this season at least) are sports jackets in grey and brown checks and strongly striped shirts. As well as woollen ties in club stripes, which are ubiquitous for Autumn/Winter in Milan. While not necessarily inspirational, it is the base from which Milan can be understood.
Tincati is smaller, more refined and idiosyncractic. Very lightweight raincoats, woven belts and soft thin knitwear, it also has a dedicated area at the back from bespoke orders. Certainly worth a look.
Of more modern, quirky establishments, Al Bazar is the standout. Located outside the centre (a couple of streets from Bardelli), it is a treasure trove of items collected under the aesthetic of one man – Lino Leluzzi. More on Al Bazar on Permanent Style next week.
The greatest joy, however, is discovering less well-known shops. Like Piombo, just off the Golden Triangle, which had the most lovely unlined, washed cashmere green blazer (and one of their colour combinations is below). Or Rivolta, the old Milanese shoemaker that has recently relaunched with a model for making bespoke shoes purely off an electronic scan of your feet (a longer feature, again, is on Permanent Style). Larusmiani is also worth a look. It is an ultra luxurious menswear store on Via Montenapoleone that reminds me of Kiton before it grew. An old name in Milan, it is surrounded by fashion houses but retains a very particular character.
Anything else worth mentioning? The Etro sale store on Via Spartaco (50% of this season, 75% of the last); absolutely gorgeous and well-cut knits at Red and Blue, which looks more like it is called Fedeli (the brand of clothes sold); and Doriani for similar knitwear reasons. Oh, and go have lunch in the café at Corso Como (below), then wander around the shop inside – a great menagerie of brands.
It was also two days, but it feels like there’s so much more to tell.