There's something enchantingly arcane about Massimo Piombo, gentleman, scholar, natural aristocrat, citizen of the world. All of that is in his collections, newly relabeled MP Massimo Piombo in light of some upsets that compelled his departure from the Business Formerly Known as Piombo. In that guise, Massimo galvanized a serious cult following, and there's no reason to think that MP won't keep the story humming along, especially because the clothes are now manufactured by Kiton. Which means Massimo's tendency toward eccentric extravagance is now tempered by peerless technique, a winning combination by any stretch of the imagination.

And it is imagination that separates MP from its classic-with-a-twist peers. The label may have changed, but Massimo insists there's been no change in his philosophy, which might best be defined as "around the world in 80 cloths." Hence, Irish tweed, Austrian herringbone, Italian oxford cloth (printed in Lyon, France), scarves in silk from India and mohair from Scotland, one coat trimmed with Moroccan embroidery, another cut from fabric woven in a Canadian mill that once made fabrics for L.L.Bean. A lot of history, so many stories. Massimo himself is something of a tale spinner, which is what you'd expect from an Italian dilettante who keeps his collection of books in a library on the shores of a Scottish loch. You might equally expect he'd be wearing a shawl-collared dinner jacket in Black Watch tartan as he paged through a precious tome. That's MP's most winning quality. Like Piombo before it, it opens doors into a world where the right amount of classic is infused with just enough exotica and a hint of aristocratic decadence. A recipe, perhaps, for aspiration.