Showing posts with label Italy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Italy. Show all posts

May 14, 2016

PATRONS Presents its A/W 2016-17 Collection

The Parisian contemporary brand PATRONS presents its A/W 2016-17 collection entitled "Brave Hearts." With the brand taking new and exciting strides toward improving the already innovative label, "Brave Hearts" feels fitting for PATRONS' new age of growth.

Inspired by the rolling landscapes of northern Ireland, PATRONS' newest collection blends together the steely greys of the rugged shores with the lush greens of the hills in a purely earthy color palette. Additionally, this new collection extends the PATRONS designs to include knitted sweaters, a range of hats, and a new take on their five cut trouser. The company is also taking increased strides towards improving the quality of their products as they begin to work with new European manufacturers out of Portugal, Scotland, or Italy.

It's hard to use one word to describe the PATRONS brand. it's newest collection really sets the stage for a diverse wardrobe, combining quirky separates with quality closet staples. If you want to see what else this exciting brands has to offer you can check out their website below.

December 5, 2010

Towers & Torture: San Gimignano

One of my favorite places in Italy is San Gimignano—a Medieval Tuscan city with 14 preponderant towers that was settled by the Etruscans in the 3rd century BC.

This morning, I made the drive with the director of Varna International to plan a side excursion for the musicians that will join the music festival tour this summer.

The name of the hill-top city is derived from Saint Germinianus, who defended the city against the Huns in the 10th century.

San Gimignano rises high above the Tuscan countryside with its preponderant towers, which, at one time, number 72 in all.

Within the city walls, there are several museums of torture, which drive home the point of human brutality.

San Gimignano—a wealth of history for the interested traveller. Enjoy the shots here.

Photos Copyright Men’s Fashion by Francesco.

December 4, 2010

Chianti—Under the Tuscan Sun!

Today the director of Varna International and I drove from Venice to the Tuscany region of Italy. Our goal was to organize a wine tasting tour for the musicians that will be performing throughout Italy next summer.

We arrived to Florence and immediately set out for Chianti—not the bottle of wine but the region! Situated between Florence and Siena, there is a wine producing area in Tuscany called Greve in Chianti.

Many people are familiar with the variety of wine called Chianti, but what they fail to realize is that it comes from an area called Chianti.

Besides the breathtaking countryside, which is studded with medieval castles and villas, many wine cellars that offer wine tasting can be found.

One of the most exciting sites for me is the Museum of Wine located in the center of the city.

Settled by the Etruscans and later owned by the Romans, the city became a monastic settlement in the 11th century—and there is a logical reason why!

Chianti wine dates back to about the 14th century, while viticulture dates back to the Etruscans in the 8th century BC and then onto the Roman period.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, monasteries carried on the tradition of wine production, which was later passed onto aristocrats and merchants.

Chianti was first white and, then red.

Italian explorer of North America, Giovanni da Verrazzano, also comes from Greve in Chianti.

Taste the passion here.

Photos Copyright Men’s Fashion by Francesco.

The Florence Contribution to Men’s Fashion

Florence is often associated with the rebirth of culture, having become the cradle of the Renaissance. As I read 4,000 pages of Machiavelli in college, I have always held a certain fascination with this city.

Despite all the lessons of medieval diplomacy and Renaissance politics, what I did not learn in college was the Florentine influence on menswear!

Already by the 12th century, the great-grandfather of the 3-piece suit had appeared on the scene in the form of a long doublet—the snug-fitting buttoned jacket. This garment was donned with a mantel and leggings (tight-fitting hose).

By the Renaissance, the doublet had become shorter, exposing the leggings, which made Florentine menswear scandalous to the outsider! Oftentimes, this look was accompanied by long hoods.

In the 14th century, silk made its way to Italy and Florence emerged as the fashion capital of the world. Drawing from the French Gothic influence, the Florentine look was elongated and sumptuous.

By the 15th and 16th centuries, tunics were no longer popular. If worn, however, they were tight and short like a shirt with a belt tied around the waist.

Now, Florence is home to one of the most prestigious menswear trade shows in the world: Pitti Uomo.

Photo Public Domain.

December 3, 2010

Padova—a Cradle of Culture

Today the director of Varna International and I spent the morning in Padova to plan side tours for the musicians who will join the festival tour next summer.

Home to a prestigious university built in 1222, Padova contains some of the most remarkable artistic treasures in the world, such as the famous 14th-century frescoes of Giotto in the Scrovegni Chapel.

Located about 20 kilometers west of the Venice lagoon, Padova is an ancient city, which dates back to the 11th century BC.

During the Roman times, the city was known as Patavium, which, at that time, was inhabited by the Veneti people.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, Padova passed through many powers during the Medieval period, from the Huns (5th century) to Gothic kings (6th century) and onto the Lombards and then the Franks (7th century).

Interestingly, these Goths wore knee-length tunic over trousers with a cloak that was knotted in the front. Distinctly Gothic, these garments were cut at the edges in long points.

The Lombards were a Barbarian tribe from Germany that wore tunics, large mantles, and strips of cloth that was attached to the legs through gartering (crisscrossing strips of cloth). The Lombards also wore pointed shoes!

The city fell under the rule of Venice in 1405, later becoming part of the Austrian Empire 1797 and the Kingdom of Italy in 1866.

Numerous significant events took place in this magnificent city: Mozart composed there; Shakespeare wrote “The Taming of the Shrew” there; and Galileo was chair at the university for a decade.

Photos Copyright Men’s Fashion by Francesco.

December 2, 2010

The Venice Factor in Men’s Fashion

Until the Renaissance (14th—17th centuries), clothing had changed relatively little for both men and women on the Italian peninsula.

Hence, menswear throughout the High Middle Ages (11th—13th centuries) consisted of 2-3 overlapping tunics, which laid the foundation for modern clothing and regional styles.

Remember, tunics were worn from the fall of the Roman Empire onward as a type of knee- or ankle-length shirt with some sort of hose-like pants.

By the time of the medieval period, the court dictated clothing. Take Venice, for example, where the nobility enforced a strict code of fashion laws, which dictated what was acceptable for any give class of society, whether military, worker, or aristocrat.

One thousand years ago, in the 11th century, men’s fashion finally parted ways with women’s attire, which, formerly had been quite similar.

Once menswear began taking its own course, it could be summed up in one word—extravagant. The men’s silhouette was robust, with wide shoulders.

On runways around the world today, elements of medieval fashion have been rearing their head; however, most items have been influenced from military dress.

It would be interesting to see other influences from this period pervade our times.

See some Medieval styles here.

Photos Public Domain.

Veneto...Not Just Venice

Today I spent most of the day in the Veneto region of Italy, making contacts for the upcoming concerts that I am organizing in conjunction with Varna International.

Veneto is mostly known for grandiose city of Venice, but other renowned cities lie within the region, such as Verona, Padua, and Vicenza.

Located in northeast Italy, the Veneto region was first inhabited by the Eugenei between the 2nd and 1st millennium BC and was later occupied by the Veneti in the 13th century BC.

In the Middle Ages, Venice rose to a major maritime power, trading with Byzantium and the Muslim world as it dominated the Mediterranean for a thousand years.

Throughout history, this region has enjoyed a significant role in the development of menswear and men’s fashion.

Today, numerous fashionable labels lie within its region.

As you can see, I enjoy driving throughout this industrialized region, stopping at the local pits stops on the highways called Autogrill and eating in various out-of-the-way restaurants in the country side.

Have a peek at a few more shots here.

Photos Copyright Men’s Fashion by Francesco.

December 1, 2010

Thematic Hotels of Perugia: Jazz, Wine & Chocolate

If you are planning to join a Music of Fashion tour in Italy with Men’s Fashion by Francesco and Varna International, I would like to present to you the choice hotel and venue for the inaugural Fashion Jazz tour.

In 1992, the Guarducci family of Perugia inaugurated their first hotel with the theme of wine, dedicating the décor and name of each room to a wine variety.

In 1998, the family opened the doors to a second hotel: the Etruscan Chocohotel, which, as you can see by the name, is dedicated to the savory theme of chocolate. Some furniture in the rooms like lamp shades is even eatable!

Timely and appropriate, the opening of the Chocohotel has enhanced the city of Perugia, which is home to the Eurochocolate Festival.

Finally in 2007, the Guarducci family opened the doors to a third hotel, which is devoted to the theme of jazz—another appropriate theme, which accompanies the city’s Umbria Jazz Festival.

In the jazz hotel you can find pianos dating back to 1740, LP records, listening areas, saxophone lamps, and other jazz-related amenities.

With a 700-seat auditorium, the hotel is the perfect venue for the Fashion Jazz event, to which Men’s Fashion by Francesco would like to extend a warm welcome!

See more of all that jazz here.

Photos Copyright Apicehotels.

Emilia Romagna

After a long hour drive this morning from the hills of Perugia, the director of Varna International and I arrived to the flat region of Emilia Romagna, which has been classified as one of the richest regions of Europe.

While the region may not be well known, the region’s capital city, Bologna, may sound more familiar.

Emilia Romagna is the Italian region that gave birth to one world’s greatest tenors—Pavarotti, who was born in Modena.

My trip took me to the neighboring town of Reggio Emilia. Strangely, Reggio Emilia is the birthplace of a pre-school educational theory called “Reggio Emilia,” which advocates a self-guided curriculum.

For my purposes, however the city is home to an amazing students’ choir that will accompany our tours in Northern Italy next year.

After we met with the director, I walked around the city and took some pictures for you as a light snow fell to the streets. Brrr…it was cold!

Have a look here at the city.

Photos Copyright Men’s Fashion by Francesco.

November 30, 2010

Perugia: the City of Jazz

After our meeting at the city hall in Spoleto, the director of Varna International and I hopped into our rented car and sped to the city of Perugia.

Located in the center of the Umbria region, Perugia has come to be known as the artistic city of Italy and, since the early 70's, the city of jazz.

Umbria Jazz was born in 1973 as the Festival took jazz music from around the world to the medieval streets of Perugia.

Throughout the years, famous artists have performed at the festival, including Dizzy Gillespie and Keith Jarrett.

Now, fashion lovers will also be able to join in on all the jazzy fun, too!

In conjunction with of Varna International, Men's Fashion by Francesco is launching a new program entitled “the Music of Fashion,” in which students of design and professionals can join fashion tours throughout Italy.

Our first tour is entitled Fashion Jazz, at which time models will strut down the runway to the rhythmic sounds of a live jazz band!

Models, designers, students of fashion, and fashion lovers—if you would like to be a part of this exciting event, send me an email and sign up now!

See more shots of the city here.

Photos Copyright Men’s Fashion by Francesco.

Under the Shade of Umbria

Located in central Italy between Rome and Florence, Umbria derives its name from the ancient tribe, the Umbri.

The Umbri are one of the oldest tribes that settle central Italy in the 6th century BC.

The Umbri were invaded first by the Etruscans and later by the Romans, who established the colony of Spoletium, or Spoleto—my first stop on this trip.

Although Umbria passed from the Romans to tug-of-war between the Byzantines and Ostrogoths, the region finally fell under the rule of the Pope.

Besides Spoleto, other prominent cities of Umbria include Assisi and Perugia, where Men’s Fashion by Francesco will kick off the festival tour called Fashion Jazz, in conjunction with Varna International.

Photos Copyright Men’s Fashion by Francesco.

Etruscan Men, Etruscan Fashion

While there is a notable Roman influence to be found in Perugia, what I like most about the city is its Etruscan past.

Although little is known about ancient Etruria, we do know that the Etruscans had developed an extensive civilization before the Romans conquered the peninsula.

Historians pinpoint the Etruscans’ arrival to the Italic peninsula as early as 1,000 BC, originating from Asia Minor and bringing customs and costumes that were similar to those of the ancient Greeks.

In Greek, Etruscans were known as Tyrrheni, from which we have derived names like Mediterranean and Tyrrenian Seas. The Romans called them Tusci or Etrusci, leading to names like Toscana or Tuscany in English.

Etruscan men wore loin skirts and tunics similar to that of the ancient Greeks. They also sported a short cloak made out of wool that was called a lacerna.

Later in history, the Etruscans donned something called a tebenna, which entailed a long cloak-like garment that was draped across the left shoulder and pulled around the chest to be tucked under the right arm.

Often the tebenna was striped with assorted colors according to the social status of the man who wore the garment. Historians think that the Romans actually modeled the toga after this Etruscan garment.

Jewelry was very common among Etruscan men. Hair was often braided.

Photos Public Domain.

November 29, 2010

Spoleto & the Festival of Two Worlds

After an enjoyably long nap on Alitalia, I woke up this morning as we touched down at the Fiumicino airport in Rome.

I rushed to the rent-a-car office where I met the director of Varna International, with whom I am planning nearly a dozen choral-orchestral concerts throughout Italy next year. We, then, set out for our fist stop—Spoleto.

Spoleto is an ancient city in the Umbria region that lies on the rolling hills at the feet of the Apennine mountain range—the backbone of Italy.

Spoleto has inherited a magnificent legacy from the Romans with a Roman theatre, an ancient bridge, and an amphitheatre that is still used today.

As for modern times, Spoleto has inherited another legacy in world of music—the Festival of Two Worlds, which I have set out to explore.

Every summer since 1958, the music festival sweeps the town with the most exquisite dance, theatre, and music performances.

The Festival is the brainchild of Italian composer, Gian Carlo Menotti, who envisioned “Two Worlds” taking part in this event—one American and one European.

In 1977, Gian Carlo Menotti founded the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, South Carolina, as counterpart and twin event to the Festival of Two Worlds.

Although Spoleto and Charleston have remained twin cities, the two festivals “twinned” only 15 years until separation.

Today with a recommendation letter from the city of Charleston, we met with the mayor and other officials of Spoleto to set into motion a grand finale at the Festival, which will also mark the 100th birthday of its founder, Menotti.

Negotiations got off to a great start! Afterwards, I took a few photos for your enjoyment. Click here.

Photos Copyright Men’s Fashion by Francesco.

November 28, 2010

Italy in a Whirlwind

I am very excited that, tonight, I will take a transatlantic flight back to Italy—even if just for one week.

While I definitely plan to investigate the menswear scene—past and present—my primary purpose is to organize 10 classical concerts throughout central and northern Italy, in conjunction with Varna International, for which I have been handling all PR.

Since most of the concerts will be performed in two regions of Italy, the focus of this trip will center on Umbria and Veneto, with several minor exceptions, such as a quick stop in Emilia Romagna and Toscana.

So buckle your seatbelts and get ready for a whirlwind tour of 8 Italian cities in 7 days! Let’s say, I know how to handle a stick shift!

Have a panoramic view of my hometown here.

Photos Forio, Ischia, Copyright Men’s Fashion by Francesco.

September 10, 2010

Ancient Carthage—Here I Come!

When I returned home last year to visit friends and family in Italy, I travelled throughout the island of Sardinia, exploring the ancient ruins of the Phoenicians and Carthaginians.

During my exploration, I discovered the amazing fashion sense of the ancient Nuraghic men, who lived thousands of years ago, dwelling in honeycomb structures and sporting—what we would consider today—very avant-garde styles.

As I return home this Sunday, I plan to continue my research on Phoenician and Carthaginian menswear with a 4-day excursion to the ancient city of Carthage, the ruins of which lay just outside of Tunis—the capital of Tunisia.

Tunisia is a country in North Africa, which is situated just 95 miles (155km) from the coast of Sicily, Italy.

(One of my favorite Tunisians, by the way, is Oussama Mellouli—gold medalist in the 1500m free at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.)

Some scholars attribute the name Tunis to the ancient Phoenician goddess, Tanit, although there exists an array of explanations.

While researching the culture and dress of the ancient Phoenicians and Carthaginians, I hope to meet up with modern Tunisian designer Salah Barka, with whom I have been corresponding.

For the past year, I have been studying Arabic, so I hope it comes in handy! If not, well, fortunately I can rely on some French!

Photo Oussama Mellouli, GNU Free Documentation License at Wikipedia.
Nuraghic figures & sketches, Copyright Angela Demontis 2005, used with permission.
Remaining photos of
Phoenician and Nuraghic sites, Copyright Men’s Fashion by Francesco.

September 14, 2009

Grottoes, Grapes & Greeks

In 1684 BC, nearly 3 thousand years ago, the Phoenicians sailed the coast of Italy and, discovering their new treasure, extracted metals from the island of Ischia. It is a good possibility that the shores also hosted waves of ancient Philistines.

The first recorded settlers were the Osci (also known as the Opici or Ausoni). Labeled Tyrrhenians by the Greeks, they were a branch of the Etruscans who migrated from the Aegean region in the 10th century BC and first introduced the arch and vault in Italy. These aborigines had migrated from Lydia (Greece) under a leader of the same appellation.

Consequent to the destruction of Troy, in 770 BC Greek refugees disembarked onto the shores of the island and set up the first Greek colony in the West—on Ischia! For the next 6 centuries, southern Italy belonged to Greater Greece, otherwise known as Magna Graecia.

Soon, they planted a colony across the bay on the mainland, in Cuma, just down the block from where Sofia Loren was born. They called the city Parthenope, and it was not long before the Greeks grew tired of their old city and established a “new city”—Neopolis—a name that mutated to Napoli, or Naples in English.

The clothing of Greek men was loose fitting, as opposed to the tight-fitting attire of the Barbarians. Greek men wore a tunic of linen or wool called the chiton, which was tied at the waist and—shorter than the women’s, just above the knee—usually covered one shoulder.

During cold periods, a rectangular cloak known as the himation could be draped over the body. Footwear consisted of leather sandals, if anything. The key word during this period? Functionality. Ancient Greek men were practical.

2010 Trends & Takeaways from the period:
There are many elements of ancient Greek menswear that will appear in 2010 spring/summer collections, such as white linens, elaborate designs, marked borders, and sleeveless garments.

Like the chiton, unisex styles will prevail, blending the boundaries of masculinity and femininity. As with the chiton, you can expect to sport outer belts around the waist of your jackets and coats.

Probably the greatest source of inspiration for s/s 2010, however, is the free-flowing and loose-fitting style of draping, which the Romans developed with the toga.

Photos Procession Sant'Alessandro, Ischia, Public Domain.

August 27, 2009

The Mediterranean Isles of Italy

Most people have heard of Sicily and Capri; and, yet, the Mediterranean waters that surround Italy are graced with a host of captivating islands—both large and small—that go less noticed, but each sharing a common history, culture, language, and cuisine.

One thread that unites the islands and many coastal areas of the Mediterranean is a long history of shared dominations. Moreover, with the changing of each invading conqueror, so changed the styles in menswear over the millennia.

For the next three weeks, we are going to explore the men, the history, and the fashion of several enchanting Mediterranean islands that are situated off the coast of Italy’s mainland! And I am going to take you there!

I like to return to Italy once or twice a year to visit family and friends when I am working abroad. And that is exactly what I have planned for September 2009.

First, I will be taking you to Sardinia, which I prefer to call Sardegna (pronounced Sardenya), where we will explore the natural treasures of the vast island and meet several menswear designers.

After a few shopping days in the bustling city of Naples, where some of my favorite stores and menswear brands are located, I will take you to the islands in the Bay of Naples; namely, Capri, Ischia, and Procida.

Although I do not depart for another week, I will be posting some articles each day on the background of Sardinia, our first stop. (See map.)

So, I want to wish you happy reading and a great virtual trip!

Buon viaggio and buon divertimento! We are going to have lots fun!

Photo top right St. Angelo, Ischia, Copyright Men’s Fashion by Francesco.
Photo bottom left, Capri, Copryright Men's Fashion by Francesco.

May 27, 2009

Paraná, Capoeira & Italian Football

What better model than Italian footballer, Lorenzo De Silvestri—who just turned 21 on Saturday—is there to kickoff the summer campaign for the new Italo-Brazilian sneaker Paraná?!
Discovered by the Italian entrepreneur Marco Gaudenzi while vacationing in Brazil, Paraná sneakers come in vibrant colors and are so lightweight that they fit like a glove.

The shoe was originally created for capoeira, the Afro-Brazilian art form that was brought by the slaves from Africa, most likely Angola, which is characterized by martial arts, acrobatics, and African dance.

One of the most popular songs sung while performing capoeira is Paraná ê, which refers to war of 1865 between Brazil and Paraguay, which lasted for five long years.

At that time, it was decreed in Brazil that any black slave who volunteered for war and survived would be granted freedom

So as the triumphant ex-slaves approached the Paraná River on their way home from battle, they sang a song of freedom, Paraná ê:

I will tell my wife, Paraná
That capoeira won [the war], Paraná
Paraná ê, Paraná ê, Paraná.

Paraná speaks of triumph, liberation, and—with a few modifications—Italian design made in Brazil!

Happy birthday, Lorenzo! Tanti auguri!!!

Photos taken from Fashion Times with permission.