“Italians see fashion as a search of beauty,” says Matteo Persivale, one of Milan’s best-dressed men and a senior writer at the country’s largest daily newspaper, the Corriere Della Serra.
Maybe that’s why those living in low tropical climes are still so drawn to the Italian style – it breaks free of the workday pragmatism of traditional tailoring, and lives with a passion that makes them more buttoned-up wardrobes to experience.
There is a classic quality about it in the Italian style, but right now it also pushing envelopes and generating hype for fun. Luxurious brands like Gucci, Moncler, and Stone Island – all with surprisingly different heritage – are enjoying crossover success, appealing to one-percenters and streetwear-loving millennials alike.
The Best Italian Menswear Brands
Here are 10 of the finest Italian Men’s designer brands, and the particulars of their search for beauty.
Best for Versatile Trousers
The Venetian label Incotex is part of the much-loved Slowear Collective. A group of craftsmen and design houses with a shared belief in producing high-quality clothes and a distinct aversion to disposable garments and a fast fashion.
The brand’s simple but expertly built chinos are a staple of most Italian men’s wardrobes, where their colorful and traditional detailing means they are equally at home below a blazer or paired with a T-shirt and sneakers.
Best for Expertly Engineered outerwear
Since 1969, Aspesi has specialized in the kind of lifelong clothing companions that can adapt to any storm season and age. The brand’s founder, Alberto Aspesi, rarely gives interviews and designs his garments without any outer logos.
Instead, he lets the garments speak for themselves, especially through their precise craftsmanship and rich materials. For example, Its field jackets are the most coveted in the world thanks to their military-issue detailing, utilitarian feel, and year-round versatility.
Best for Indulgent Investment Pieces
It’s little wonder the Italian press dubs Mr. Brunello Cucinelli the ‘King of Cashmere’. At the age of 25, after recently dropped out of university, he took the bold step of being the first person to dye ultra soft textiles to create his designs.
Today, Cucinelli’s clothes sit at the top of the men’s market, worn by everyone from the Hollywood elite to the royalty, but they are characterized by the next level of craftsmanship that they can afford.
Best For Neapolitan Flair
Triple pleated trousers! Voluptuous silk pocket squares! Butter soft ‘Belgian’ loafers! Rubinacci is a Neopolitan flair incarnate. But this dandified label is not just fare of Pitti Peacocks and their overly choreographed carelessness, that’s the real deal.
Founded in 1932 under the supervision of Gennaro Rubinacci, the brand has been run by the same family for three generations. The Napoli-based house’s construction is near masterful, with an emphasis on super light tailoring and exquisite detailing: most Rubinacci blazers, for example, are silk-lined and printed with extravagant baroque scenes.
Best For Cashmere
For Loro Piana, it’s all about the fabric. Since its conception in 1924, the family business has weaved some of the finest cashmere known to man and is still the world’s largest producer of soft products.
That’s not to say that the design and finishing aren’t special either – expect versatile wardrobe staples like chambray shirts and suede trucker jackets in the high-tech finish range. The wind and water-resistant Storm System coating, for example, protects its baby cashmere without ever diminishing its hand feel.
Best For Statement Footwear
Some things embody that like a pair of Tod’s Domino driving shoes. Their soft soles, each set on the brand’s signature rubber pebbles, and the bright colorways show a healthy disdain for our soggy Anglo-Saxon weather, but they’re worth a punt no matter climate. Amazingly, the owner of the stylish Delle Valle family, Tods has developed a wide range of sturdier, year-round options that will complement any wardrobe. We particularly like it’s taken on the traditional chukka boot.
Best For Double-Breasted Suiting
Probably Italy’s most famous designer, Giorgio Armani is a purveyor, ambassador, and creator of truly immaculate tailoring. The house, which is still overseen by the eponymous man himself, made its mark with the kind of flawless double-breasted suit that could create an A-lister overnight with subtle touches such as patch pockets on half-lined blazers that continue to be adored the world over.
Best For Retro Colour
After starting life as a high-end leather goods shop in 1913, Prada quickly became a darling of the Italian royal family and its official supplier of livery and court clothing. Though today we don’t have much use for ornamental gold epaulets, there is a space in most wardrobes for the label’s distinctly retro, 1970s-inflected suiting, mid-century Cuban collar shirts and bold, nigh-on fluorescent sneakers.
Best For Dolce Vita Eyewear
Steve McQueen wore Persols religiously, which tells you pretty much everything you need to know about the eyewear dons. Rugged yet refined, equally at home on the open road as on the red carpets of Venice, a pair of Persols is the ultimate Italian accessory. Their silver hallmark, dubbed the ‘Supreme Arrow’, is a sign of remarkable build quality and badass elegance wherever it’s spotted. One for the pub quiz: the company developed the first-ever flexible stem sunglasses, which allow the arms to contour to any head shape.