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Wardrobe: Revival of the Fittest

William Kissel

Massimo Sforza’s new line of clothing allows you to appear fit, trim, and stylish, even if you are carrying a few extra pounds. The 42-year-old former Brioni designer created his comprehensive collection for men of his vintage who enjoy sophisticated detailing and still want to wear contemporary, body-slimming cuts.

"There’s always been this divide between luxury brands that offer high quality but not necessarily innovation, and the designer labels that are more on the pulse but not always well-made," says Sforza, a descendant of the family that ruled Italy in the 14th and 15th centuries, during the Renaissance. (Just a few blocks from the designer’s new showroom in Milan is a castle from that era named for the Sforza dynasty.)

Sforza spent 16 years at Brioni, designing outerwear and leather accessories—most notably crocodile belts. But his new collection demonstrates his versatility. It comprises suits, knitwear, footwear, and luggage, in addition to outerwear and leather goods.

All of his designs are contemporary, including his suits (priced from $2,500), which feature the aforementioned slimming silhouettes as well as hand-sewn buttonholes and distinctive red-taped interior seams. Sforza’s torso-flattering blouson jackets are made from supple, lightweight exotic leathers—including crocodile, deerskin, ostrich, or nappa plongé—which are often washed to give the garments a vintage look. His low-rise jeans, some of which feature Western-style coin pockets, are made from cotton mixed with a trace of elastin or cashmere. The elastin allows the jeans to stretch a bit, and the cashmere adds softness. His knitwear is featherweight and woven from silk or cashmere on looms once used to make women’s hosiery. Sforza also has updated the classic car coat by adding decorative brass hardware. The coats are made from leather or techno silk.

Although he is on his own now, Sforza has not broken from his Brioni roots entirely: Crocodile is the hallmark of his new collection—but he applies it in subtle ways. For example, the hide appears on the zipper pulls of a leather jacket. You also can find it on the coin pocket or back pockets of jeans and as accents on spectator shoes and canvas trolley bags. "I’ve always been intrigued by crocodile," Sforza says. "It’s one of those perfect skins developed by nature that you don’t need to color or enhance to make it more beautiful."

Massimo Sforza, +39.051.75.2805, www.massimosforza.com

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Photo by Ted Morrison