Italian flair, French sophistication, a touch of debonair British elegance: These were the ingredients of designer Massimo Piombo's Spring collection, and they made for an exquisite cocktail, shaken and stirred to perfection and best enjoyed, you imagine, on a terrace of the Hotel Splendido in Portofino. A growing partnership with the Neapolitan brand Kiton has brought impeccable in-house tailoring execution and a sartorial spirit, mixed with the refined restraint that is typical of Piombo's native Genoa. "Italians understand beauty as nobody else does, brought up as we are with a natural feel for quality," he claims. "Luxury for us rhymes with style and not with money and has more to do with memory, romance, charm, and wit."
The Genoese have been known for centuries as kings of the sea, secretive and powerful merchants who crisscrossed the world bringing back exotic wonders from remote lands.
Piombo has the same soul-searching malaise of a true eccentric traveler. You can see that in his treasure trove of lovingly researched fabrics: rare French silks from the hidden archives of old Lyon factories; Irish or Belgian linens of the softest texture, spun after the yarn has been put to leaven as if it were dough in dark, damp caves; Massaua cotton from Ethiopia, a modest, inconspicuous fabric light as a whisper but of such quality as to be chosen by local noblemen for their Savile Row suits; cashmeres and cottons dyed and printed in India with old hand looms, perfect and unique in their touching imperfection. This is the wardrobe of a well-read, worldly pirate—dapper in a dark blue hand-printed silk tuxedo, off for an old-style grande soirée in Antibes, chez Hotel du Cap.
Elegance with a well-born ease, a nonchalant attitude, an educated mind: Massimo Piombo is ready for his close-up, the brand very much a doppelgänger of himself. And what else if not blue would be the color of choice for the collection? Make that more than 50 shades of true blues reminiscent of the enchanting Portofino bay, where you can picture him carefree and chic as hell, strolling about the Piazzetta, eyes grinning with a mischievous sparkle, charming everyone.