Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Right & Wrong

About 14 years ago I designed shirts I called "Mixed Media" because of the different patterned fabrics used to make one shirt. Often placing one patter under the cuffs while another on the rest of the shirt. The placket or an under collar would be other placements and there were many combination possibilities. The Robert Graham brand is perhaps the most known for this look today and seen often on the popular ABC show Modern Family. 

Surely anyone is free to dress the way they want to but are there situations where there might be a right and wrong? Should you expect your haberdashers to educate you to as to how to wear the clothes you purchase from them? Yes. 

I'm not sure at what age we learn to roll our cuffs, but we learned to roll the cuff once in the amount of the actual cuff and then we do it again. Doing it like this tends to secure the cuff relatively well in keeping it from coming undone. However, when the cuff has a contrasting fabric underneath rolling it in this manner will completely defeat the purpose of using the contrasting fabric.

The majority of the time I see men resolving this issue by rolling the cuff once as you see on the picture on the left, thus exposing the contrast but it doesn't secure the cuff in place very well at all. In the picture on the right you see what I consider the correct way to wear this type of shirt. It is easily achieved by rolling the cuff the first time more than the usual length of one cuff but at least a cuff and a half. The second roll, now is actually done not using the cuff, but part of the sleeve fabric to end up looking as you see above.

On the right you also see that this shirt has contrasting fabric on the inside placket which I prefer in a shirt. The man on the right added insult to injury in my opinion by wearing a white tee shirt underneath. If you feel uncomfortable due to excessive sweating I recommend a v-neck undershirt and making sure the shirt is buttoned enough to cover it.

You only get one opportunity at the right first impression don't miss it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Italy!

When the concept of Fashion Vacations first reared its beautiful head inside my heart it looked a bit different. The desire to instill an appreciation for the value of beautifully made garments was all I was after, and of course what better place to do it than in Italy. Not only is Italy a country filled with the best art, culinary treats, culture, beautiful vistas and the best clothing this earth has ever known, 

yes I'm partial, but it is a place I know very well, am fluent in its romantic language and a place I have worked in for many years.

So, the Fashion Vacation I envisioned was going to be enjoyed by couples interested in the luxury lifestyle but in particularly that of Italy. Perhaps, I thought, couples or groups of friends, yes more skewed on the female side of the sexes, would be the first to line up for a trip of a lifetime.

To my surprise the payments for the trip weren't as forthcoming as the words of praise were for this sort of adventure by interested parties. My first reaction was that surely I had priced it to high, but then how could it be that people were still traveling around the world, wining and dining if money was an issue? It's all so easy to know what everyone is doing on the social networks today. Had I presented it poorly? So I had several people who's opinion I respected analyze my work and made the necessary corrections...but there weren't many. All of this was happening side by side with the high praises I was receiving from my colleagues in the Fashion Industry. I'm sure you won't find it difficult believing that much Prosecco was consumed trying to wrap my head around this conundrum. Sure, the tendency to exaggerate is not lost on fashionistas, but so does jealousy and cattiness so when no one from the industry had made any disparaging remarks towards this project I knew there had to be more to it.

On a non eventful day about a month ago I received an inquiry by an individual claiming to speak for a group of "industry people" interested in The Fashion Vacation exactly as it had been described. However, and there is always a "however", there were two very important caveats I needed to agree to. 

If you know anything about me it surely must be this: I am extremely curious and extremely passionate. So I was at the edge of my seat to discover what these two caveats might be.

The voice at the other end proceeded to tell me that the original date set by me of December 10, 2011 was a bit early and could I be flexible enough to change it to fit their schedule. But the second request took me aback. "We are a group of executives with a very prominent retailer that are preparing to venture out on our own. As such, we need for you to sign a non-disclosure contract since we can't be seen as doing this before its time." He proceeded to tell me which company they were with and it certainly was a fine pedigree.

What seemed to surprise me almost as much as what I had just been asked, was the realization as to what had really occurred. Those appreciating the Fashion Vacation, were exactly those inside the industry that understood the value in what was being offered. A look behind the scenes that even they, in their current positions, were not at liberty to see. The making of Italian fashion at their very source, get an introduction to the many factories I have built relationships with over the years and of course to do so in the most wonderful surroundings....Italy.

So, a funny thing did indeed happen on the way to Italy,  and tomorrow the journey to Italy will begin filled with non disclosed pure Italian fun.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Punked or True? Yes.

While at dinner with friends last night two beautiful girls approached our table and asked "where we punked or is it true?". My honest response was "yes, you were punked AND it's true". So let me back it up a bit, this would be the flash back in a movie if it were one, of what actually happened earlier in the evening.

While inspecting a less than respectable menu, I kept witnessing a parade of couples and groups of young people entering the restaurant and being seated for dinner. I love to see this, young people enjoying themselves in a civil manner, partaking in dining out as they were about to do.

What caught my attention good, bad or indifferent and to no one's surprise, was their choices in apparel. Let's be sure we understand, those young people I ended up speaking with were all pleasant, fun and willing to have their photograph taken as a contribution to this blog.

The girls, as it is the style de jeur, were wearing cute dresses with beautiful hair and appropriate make-up. The men on the other hand, although they looked clean and freshly showered looked like they might have chosen their next clean golf or boating outfit.

All cute, all very nice people but really?? REALLY? Come on guys!!! A bit of an effort please. I understand you may have preferred to be out at a bar holding a beer instead but follow a simple rule.


Look nobody made me the Fashion Police, but I made myself a Fashion Designer and a passionate one at that. Life is filled with do's and dont's, right and wrongs. How do I know I'm right? I just know because this is and has been a large part of my life. By the way, you know who also knew? You see the guy above on the left? When I approached their table, introduced myself and told them I wanted to blog about the way they were dressed, he immediately looked at his shorts and then looked up with that "busted" look that told me he understood.
Guys, do as you will, but respect your women when you go out with them and more importantly, respect yourself.

These guys were very nice and felt unprepared to be photographed, but they had come out this way, perhaps having just come from their backyard pool. In a bit of sympathy, I will say that they were there for what may have been a take out...but still.

As I was leaving this couple walked in and I thought, well there....there is hope. This guy still chose shorts for the Summer night it was, but he looks like he put some thought and care into it. True, not everyone can pull the look, but he did and he looked and felt great. Oh yeah, a couple of women at the bar asked me why I was photographing them as I explained they admitted to having noticed all the couples...and not all for the right reasons, but as it turned out, for the same reason I had noticed them.

I want to thank all the couples for being wonderfully cordial and participating in my passion and fun for the evening, for being good sports and for providing me with fodder for by blog.

Oh yeah back to the beginning, Punked or True? Yes.

Friday, June 17, 2011


Believe me, I will get back to more positive matter...ehmmmm as soon as I get done slaying the next dragon.

Among my most peaceful moments are the mornings I linger on my porch reading the paper accompanied by a lovely cup of double espresso. So it is with  increased annoyance that I address this issue.

People have always loved numbing themselves to believe whatever it is they want to believe. Fine I say, I wasn't the anointed one to save the world. But people this is 2011, should you not be in charge of selectively numbing yourself?

Hickey Freeman's ad in the local paper has got me all worked up, I know, it doesn't take much, passion and honesty will do that to you.

They are suggesting that they are offering you, their most respected customer, a sale. Let's do the math shall we? Seeing that they chose to list the prices of suits as an example of the wonderful deals this is what I'll talk about.

THE CLAIM: Suits Original Retail- $1,395 to $3,495


MY QUESTION: If $449.99 is their highest price on sale, surely that must be the suit that retailed the highest at $3,495 is it not?

Even with the assumption that at $449.99 they are giving it to you at cost, and therefore a loss because working for nothing is a loss, this would mean incredible margins at retail.

Do you see my point? If Hickey Freeman sells it to the stores for $499.00 and the retailer sells it for $3,495.00, this means the retailer marks it up  about $3 short of 7 TIMES.


Someone is not being honest, the manufacturer or the retailer or both, and YOU should be the first to know. What sickens me more than a company taking a consumer for a the consumer allowing it.


Thursday, June 2, 2011


This is a topic I've touched on before and will continue to do so until I am least a wonderful shade of Midnight Blue.

"Made in Italy", as you see it on products, was meant to tell the consumer that this was indeed a product made in Italy by skilled workers that worked under internationally accepted labor laws.

This no longer is so, and it hasn't been for many years, as the laws pertaining to this matter shifted in various amounts over time to benefit those that were producing anywhere but in Italy. It hasn't been something in the industry or at government levels that anyone has wanted to talk about. Clearly not a deterrent for me.

Yesterday I stopped at one of America's most prestigious stores, Saks Fifth Avenue. Not to discover something I didn't already know but to gather photographs to make a point for you.

I found three shirts that exemplified my point, a Bruno Cucinelli, a Valentino and one by Isaia. Very well known and respected brands in the Luxury market each in their own way and all sold in the same area of the men's department.

This is a shirt made by ISAIA in the renowned Neapolitan tradition of shirt making. One arrow points to a portion of the logo identifying this as an ISAIA shirt, while the other arrow points to the price of $395.00 which is in keeping with a shirt that is truly Made in Italy and of this quality.

This next shirt is one made by Brunello Cucinelli, a premier Italian producer of garments. You will notice that one arrow points to the label with the logo as well as the "Made in Italy" country of origin declaration required to be in plain sight by the laws of the USA.

The second arrow points to a price tag showing the cost of this shirt at $495.00 which again, is in keeping with the pricing of a quality shirt with a certain amount of details that is truly Made in Italy.

The shirt from Valentino at fist glance appears to be of great value as it is priced at only $225.00 as pointed out by the arrow. Notice however that the country of origin label that is supposed to be readily visible in accordance with the laws is not there. So, where is this shirt made? Is it really made in Italy? Is that why it is so much lower in price?

There is no magic, no voodoo in fashion. There are reasons for the prices we see and the quality of the garments, marketing aside, and sadly, you as a consumer shouldn't expect an average retailer, even a prestigious one, to educate you anymore. Take control yourself....and discover the truth and beautiful garments that are made by true artisans.

Friday, April 29, 2011

As Fashion Tours Go......

As Fashion Tours go.....well wait a second, there aren't any to compare this one to. This is an utterly fresh idea for those that may have wished to truly be a Fashionista insider if not as a career for at least a week in Italy.

Check out the article in the May-June issue of Rochester Magazine.....want to come along?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Conversation With Nickelson Wooster Of Neiman Marcus

Men's fashion director Nickelson Wooster shows us how to rock a khaki jacket at the office.

The above picture and tag line was a post on the Neiman Marcus Facebook page. As social networks go this is done to generate conversations with an audience. Below in italics is the comment  I, among others, left for this wonderful and prestigious iconic establishment and their Men's fashion director Nickelson Wooster. So in fun, in the interest of fashion and the extension of conversation, here it is......

The Tan/Khaki cotton suit is a Spring & Summer classic, no doubt. I do like that he's wearing it with a blue shirt as that khaki and blue combo ALWAYS works....well 'till it doesn't work. 

Sorry Nickelson but I only have this picture to go on and since these posts are put up to generate conversation, I will converse.

In the photograph the shirt doesn't come up "rich" enough, again, it's difficult to tell here, but a pinpoint oxford or a chambray would have made this look go further if it also offered a slightly more definitive "blue".

The fact that you chose not to button your button down collar is interesting but it if you're trying for that "I am a country gentleman" look, it is best done without a tie. Clearly this is not a situation of having overlooked it because you prized cattle had broken through the fence in northern Scotland and you were distracted. I say "clearly" because your look is a thought out one down to the detail in the placement of the tie bar where it creates just enough of a curvature to the tie that not only gives it depth but allows the light to refract accordingly along the different parts of the curvature.

All in all a 7.5 out of one asked, and I don't expect a job offer to come any time soon, I'm just sayin'

Monday, April 4, 2011

Porch Perfect-----Pomagranate Prosecco

So the season is approaching, not fast enough but I can feel it. Soon I will be on my porch lounging and sipping on one of my favorites.....Prosecco.

The one thing I love is that I can share it with you on or off my porch, so here it is, my first of several Porch Perfect cocktails.


Mandarins- 8
Pomegranate- Half
Prosecco- 1 Bottle

1) Squeeze the mandarins and filter to remove most of the pulp
2) Pour the mandarin juice into a carafe and add the pomegranate seeds and Prosecco
3) Stir and serve in a cocktail glass

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Fashion Lookbook

A quick look at some past work as some of you have shown interest. This collection was split into three groups: Martini, Cafe` and Relax in essence describing the Lifestyle that the garments might be suited for. The grouping was used as a way to give direction to the retailers while each individual wearer gives it his own spin.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Will you check it out if it says SEXY?

A cheap little ploy you're thinking, is a relative term and "ploy"...well "ploy" is a four letter word and I was taught better than that.

Or was I? Ok I'll admitted if you'll admit, at least to yourself,  that you checked this blog out because the word "SEXY" was in the title. Look I'll feel good either way, I'll either believe that my initial premise was correct or that you just enjoy my writing.

While I have you here however, why not make the most of the moment?

With my dear friend and model Gleicy Santos looking at you you're not going to look away now are you? No, and I am thankful for your attention. I have known Gleicy from when she first made her way here from Brazil, young, bright eyed and shy about her "poor" English.

As we sat in a restaurant  in New York with a group of friends, I remember leaning over and reminding her that she should look around....that she should not feel shy, that most of those there only spoke one language and that she at least had a good start on a second one.

I am not sure if those words made the effect I had make her feel comfortable and remind her of the confidence she deserved to have. Perhaps she thought about it...perhaps not. I do know that she went on to have a wonderful career which continues to this day.

I am thankful for her friendship and for the beautiful photographs of Gleicy wearing
one of my designs from the x te da me muito amor!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I drift to Italy

As I sit in my studio, while behind me Winter continues to make its relentless power known,
I drift to Italy.
Thoughts transport me across the water,  I seek to improve the ride, so I add a soundtrack of my choosing to my daydream.

There's something about Italy that seems to go deeper for me, and I believe it's in the beauty that exudes from everything the Italian air touches. I think about how many times I literally took the road less traveled to discover a spectacular view or a restaurant that was on no one's radar.

It is in those moments that I wish I could share it with the world, that I wish everyone could feel the pure joy of that very moment. There's an Italy the world has been in love with for centuries, and then there's an Italy that you realize has the power to draw the very life out of you while in the same instance breathe life into you, filling you up with the knowledge that you will never be the same again.
You will never be able to live without it.

So, I drift to Italy today and think about those of you that will come with me in September on the trip  ITALY: OPENING THE DOORS OF FASHION
and the moments we'll share.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


The consolation always was that if your work was "knocked off"...copied, that this was the biggest form of flattery. My attitude towards this practice has been that everybody does a bit of borrowing, but also that if they were copying me it meant I was ahead of "them".

Throughout my career, there have been many, many times when I watched my work be copied and positive attitude or not, I can't say it never bothered me.

While checking the analytics on the website, I always enjoy the area that tells you where in the world the hits are coming from. So, on this day, about two months ago I notice an interest from China.

I had an inclination of what to expect, but hey...nothing new right? Wrong!
Copying a design is one thing but using MY name? That would never happen right? Wrong!

Well, there it is folks! A little research (not too much trust me) discovered my name actually being used on a product. I have filtered out some of the information to protect the "allegedly" guilty.

Are you there yet? Are you thinking it? You are going to sue right? Wrong?
Litigation is extremely expensive and draining on the soul... and there's only so much soul to go around.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011



You and I 

A Fashion Journey 

September 10-17, 2011


To live the fashionista insider lifestyle

Over 30 years in the High-End Fashion industry has allowed me to share my creativity
with the public and travel the world. My fluency in the language let me live the Italian Lifestyle to the fullest while designing and manufacturing in Italy.
Now I will take you behind the scenes of Fashion where the remaining few truly
Italian producers remain. You will observe them produce and have the opportunity to buy ready made and made to measure at inside prices. We will enjoy wonderful meals and travel to areas not often found by the every day tourist, something you’ll discover soon into this journey.

These are my plans for our trip to Italy.
You may partake in part or in whole, as you have your freedom to live
your Italian dream the way YOU dream it.

Day One: We will arrive in Rome and proceed to Spello to check into Hotel La Bastiglia  .

We will relax, acclimate to Italian time with some Prosecco and leisurely explore this wonderful medieval walled in town.
The day will be topped of with a wonderful meal and wine of the region and if you have more energy left, even some dancing.
 Day Two: We will go towards the seaside town of Ancona encountering smaller towns along the way and visit manufacturers of shoes, sweaters and shirts. Observing the process of producing these wonderful garments, you may choose to be custom fitted and purchase some garments. Stopping to visit a vineyard and taste the wonderful wines of The Marches is a must before heading back to Spello and a wonderful dinner among friends.

Day Three: Bologna will be our destination as we travel north. But as we cross into Tuscany we'll stop to visit several of the remaining Italian artisans that are at the heart of the Fashion Industry as they share with you an appreciation for what goes into making a garment. Together we will do some shopping all along building an appetite in one of the richest culinary regions of Italy, we will have a lunch to remember. Perhaps a quick detour to stop at a vineyard and pick up a gift or two might be in order.
In the evening we will dine at Gastronomia Clinica, a jewel in a small town of Rubriera outside of Bologna. I have dined here many times and the award of the Michelin Star they have received from the Michelin Guide backs me up when I tell you that it is DEVINE!

 Day Four: This may just be the morning for shoes and bags!!!! Italians have crafted leathers for centuries in a manner of style unsurpassed in the world. Watching the production is exhilarating and to have a shoe custom made is among the ultimate in made to order experiences. Part of the day will be spent traveling to Vicenza where gold is worked in refined pieces of artful jewelry.

We will catch our breaths in the Venetian Villa I have stayed in for years called 
Villa Tacchi in the countryside between Vicenza and Padova. It is peaceful and sublime appointed with the antique furniture of the period and all the comfortable modernity of today.

Day Five: After a day of jewelry and an evening of Prosecco from the area of its origin we will make our way west towards Brescia and the lake region in Lombardy and check in at L'albereta Relais and Chateaux. Here we will visit renowned producers of Fashion with exports throughout the world.

The best producers of one the world’s finest cheeses will await us, it is always great to bring some home, perhaps we’ll squeeze in a vineyard since being in the Franciacorta area present us with many wonderful choices.

Day Six:
On the way to Como we stop at the factory of one of the world’s best makers of shoes and bags. Como is a town that was the silk center of the world for many, many years and this is where I started my career as a designer. It is still sprinkled with Fashion related companies from fabric mills to producers of garments and accessories. This is where we’ll spend our last night in Italy…. in Fashion and with Love.

As this is a very exclusive and personalized excursion, adjustments and changes to our schedule may occur to enhance the experience based on the group’s makeup and daily circumstances.  I love the opportunity that each day brings and you never know when you might have to make a slight detour to taste the best gelato of your life!!!
You will be in my good and experienced hands, while in Italy.

Special dates and group are invited and indeed encouraged, inquire by writing to 
regarding ny part of our Fashion Vacations or  just to send us a great recipe ;)

Saturday, February 5, 2011


Visit with us to Italy and stay at the best hotels such as La Bastiglia and L'Albereta and visit manufacturers and showrooms of the true remaining artisans of Italy such as Marol, Maglificio Dalmine, Vigano`, Tardini and many more....