Nonchalant Layering of Menswear

Nonchalant-Layering-Pitti-Uomo-The-Journal-of-Style

Nonchalant layering of menswear in Florence.

Photo: The Journal of Style

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The Cream-Coloured Shirt

Cream-Coloured-Shirt-The-Journal-of-Style

You cannot argue against white shirts and sky blue shirts, if you prefer classic style.  They belong to that field like fork and knife belong to a plate.

You can, however, argue that white shirts and sky blue shirts are not enough. You need cream-coloured shirts as well. Their shade weakens hard constrast, and it brings a noble touch to your style.

Don’t overlook cream-coloured shirts.

Photo: The Journal of Style

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The Mario Bemer Story

Mario-Bemer-Shoes-Florence-The-Journal-of-Style-1[Master shoemaker Seiji Miyagawa working on a shoe pattern]

There is an iGent test: Explain how John Lobb operations are related.

I thought of the test, when visiting Mario Bemer’s shop in Florence. The firm is intervined in a story, which is equally confusing seen from the outside.

Mario-Bemer-Shoes-Florence-The-Journal-of-Style-2[Last, fitting shoe, and finished shoe]

It all began with Stefano Bemer. He was the unofficial King of the Florentine shoemakers. Slowly he built a company. Quality was utmost important to him. Not only the construction but small things like laces and buckles should be thought through.

Later Stefano Bemer would diffuse the production in bespoke and ready to wear. It was a pragmatic move: Use some of the bespoke brand power to cash in on ready to wear. He was, though, very careful with the ready to wear as well. The ready to wear shoes were produced outside Florence, not in another region of Italy or abroad, and leathers came from a local tannery. Perhaps to keep commucication clear, he kept the shop for ready to wear sales seperated from the bespoke shop at Via Borgo San Frediano 143.

Mario-Bemer-Shoes-Florence-The-Journal-of-Style-3[A bespoke oxford shoe]

It remains unknown, how Stefano Bemer would further have developed the firm. I 2012 he died from diabetes. Now his family was to decide what to do with the legacy and the business. It was up to Mario, mostly. He is Stefano’s brother, and he was working in the Bemer ready to wear production outside Florence.

Mario-Bemer-Shoes-Florence-The-Journal-of-Style-4

The family received offers from large Italian luxury companies, which wanted to add value to their brands through the Stefano Bemer firm. Yet the family was afraid that the Stefano Bemer legacy would erode in the hands of these solely capital driven players. Instead they sold the business to Scuola del Cuoio in Florence headed by Tommaso Melani. The family would protect the the terroire value central to Stefano, and they had the impression it could happen at Scuola del Cuoio and Mr Tomassi.

Mario-Bemer-Shoes-Florence-The-Journal-of-Style-5

It could not. Mario, followed by top shoemaker Seiji Miyagawa from the original Stefano Bemer, started working with Tomassi’s firm but they soon realized that things should be done differently there. For instance, there would be no need for a trial shoe before finishing a pair of bespoke shoes, and buckles on a pair of monks didn’t have to come from Florence or around. Moreover, at the new Stefano Bemer the actual shoemaker didn’t have to take the measurements. It could be done by a shopkeeper. Mario came to the conclusion that it wouldn’t work out to be a part of this new company with a philosophy far from that of Stefano’s. Only six months after joining Stefano Bemer of Scuola del Cuoio he left with Mr Miyagawa. In turn the shoemaker firm Mario Bemer was founded. It should be run in the spirit of Mario’s brother, Stefano. Bespoke shoes should be true bespoke shoes. All parts of a shoe should be thought through.

Mario-Bemer-Shoes-Florence-The-Journal-of-Style-7[Nicola Sacchetti, partner in Mario Bemer, outside the shop]

There we are now. Mario Bemer at Via Maggio 68/70 R is the place to go, if you want shoes closely related to original Stefano Bemer shoes. Mr Miyagawa, who worked side by side with Stefano Bemer for many years, leads the bespoke operation at Mario Bemer. Moreover, ready to wear and made to order shoes are made in the same facilities outside Florence, where Stefano Bemer’s goodyear shoes were made.

As for the “Stefano Bemer” of today, run by Mr Melani, you could go there instead, of course. But don’t do it because of the name. Otherwise you will fail an iGent test.

Photos: The Journal of Style

Posted in Shoes | Tagged | 2 Comments

Bespoke Tailor Possanner in Vienna

Possaner-1[Cotton drill suit jacket and sports jacket]

Next month I will be going to Potsdam again for a fitting at Volkmar Arnulf‘s. In this connection I spoke with Bernhard Roetzel, who lives in Berlin and has a tailor in Potsdam. He drew my attention to an Austrian tailor, whom I had never heard about before: Bespoke tailor Possanner. Roetzel is planning to place an order with him in Spring.

Possanner-2[SB linen suit jacket and sports jacket in a particular Austrian “Hunters’ Linen”, “a blend of olive and brown native linen,” Michael Possanner says.]

Possanner-3[SB three button suit jacket in “Scottish 3-ply, two-colored brown-green fresco.”]

Possanner-4[Cream SB dinner jacket]

I was, of course, curious, and I went to Possanner’s website.  One should be careful with judging craftsmen on their online presence, yet hidden in press articles in German at the website I found some interesting and promising information about the owner, “Schneidermester” Michael Possanner.

Possanner-5[Four button DB blazer  with horizontally pointing peak lapels]

Before starting out in the trade Mr Possanner was a journalist. At 30 he decided to change path fulfilling a dream of his, and he applied for an apprenticeship at Knize, the famous tailor in Vienna. He got it, and for the next 10 years  he stayed there learning the craft.

“I always wanted to be a tailor, and I knew there was only one place to learn this craft. At Knize’s,” he told a paper recently.

Then around two years ago he left Knize to establish his own shop in Vienna. When leaving Knize he was a certified master tailor and “cutter, fitter and head of the prime-customer services,” Mr Possanner tells me.

Possanner-6[An unusual bottle green dinner jacket. Michael Possanner tells me:  “A traditional Austrian Hunting-Tuxedo, worn during receptions after a hunt/chasse or at our famous annual “Jägerball” in the Imperial Palace in Vienna.”]

Besides Mr Possanner’s solid curriculum, the pictures at the website hint an advanced classic taste. The shop is charming, and there is a fine selection of garments, exemplary paired with different shirts, ties and handkerchiefs.  There is no show off, just this tasteful demonstration of style.

Possanner-7[DB dinner jacket]

Fine bespoke tailoring is a little more than Neaples and London.

Michael Possanner speaks English fluently.

Photos: Possanner

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Smart Casual Street Style in Florence

Smart-Casual-Florence-Menswear-The-Journal-of-Style

It was, not surprisingly,  the attire on the left, which caught my eye. The combination of dark red derby shoes, mid-grey flannel pants, light-grey herringbone overcoat, yellow foulard scarf, navy blue jacket, wine red vest and felt hat is unusually elegant street style, even in Italy.

That said, the friend on the right is not a bad dresser. The style is more casual and more rough but the parts correlate well. The lumberjack coat, the down vest, the blue knit pullover, the brown moleskin trousers, and the cognac coloured welted leather shoes form a harmonious whole.

Two versions of smart casual street style in Florence.

Photo:  The Journal of Style

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