For MP Massimo Piombo's Spring collection, there was a satisfying balance in the tension between tradition and originality. Piombo is fiercely resistant to trends. He has no interest in designing for Tumblr's menswear hashtag, yet his suits, tuxes, sport coats, and outerwear looked totally of the moment. To achieve that, the designer played on what may be the most modern ideas of them all—comfort and humor. Silk robes in silly retro prints were layered into casual looks. Pajamas in cotton with the slightest sheen became perfect partywear. Polka-dot ties were paired with color-coordinated plaid shirts under suits.
The real story was, as always with MP, the fabrics. Piombo takes pride in finding the best of what Europe has to offer—cotton jersey sourced from Switzerland; twill from Holland; French silk; plus wool, cashmere, and linen from across the continent. Every piece is a tactile experience as much as it is a visual one, something that makes you consider the nature of fashion—that we tend to judge it based on how it looks, not how it feels, despite the fact that we wear it next to our skin.
The standout: An extraordinary shawl-collar jacket made from a decadent slubby silk and linen blend. The fabric came from a mill near Budapest that has just three employees. That story alone will break your heart, but there's more to MP than fabric obsession (however, it should be noted that Piombo has been known to source material from more than a dozen countries for a single collection). The fit, perfectly draped and proportioned to be both comfortable and flattering, can only be described as—to use a word you don't hear much during men's fashion week—chic.
The inclusion of T-shirts and printed crewneck sweaters in the line signified MP's new commitment to finding a democratic approach to fine menswear. The monogrammed T-shirts and MP logo sweatshirts will be sold in lots of colors at attractive prices (soon at Dover Street Market), part of MP's strategy of becoming a one-stop shop for men who buy their tailored clothes at Bergdorf Goodman and their T-shirts at Uniqlo. Piombo is utterly serious about making the most beautiful, unserious tailored clothing in the world. He takes all the stuffiness out of Italy's tailoring heritage without sacrificing any of its integrity. If there were more visionaries like this working in Milan, no one would be complaining about the city's lack of emerging talent.