A few years ago, I had an epiphany. As you may know, back then, in the days BC (before Covid, and hopefully in the days soon to come, too), magazine editors and fashion folk made a biannual pilgrimage to Europe en masse to view the new collections from the various menswear labels.
Depending on the brand, we would be invited to either a full-on fashion show—with all the pomp, ceremony, music and morose models that you could wish for—or a more intimate presentation, where the creative director or designer would walk you through the collection and you’d get to touch the clothes rather than peering at them through the gloom. You’d try on a jacket to understand the cut, wrap yourself in the embrace of a coat to see how it draped. I much prefer those presentations, in case you haven’t guessed; they’re personal, and the clothes can’t hide behind a concept and a catchy soundtrack.
That year, as ever, what I hoped to discover was a collection that spoke to me—and by extension, one that might speak to you, too. And then I witnessed something so unexpected, so witty, clever and downright uplifting that I returned later that same day to see it again. “It” was a series of vignettes with wooden mannequins posed in situ at various points during a man’s day, attired throughout in the most desirable threads I’d seen in a long time. My favorite showed a chap reclined on an Eames chair talking to his shrink or maybe his accountant, dressed in black silk seersucker pants, a knit crewneck and a lightweight double-breasted silk blazer. This was the way to dress—with ease and elegance. I seriously considered stealing the outfit, but the security guard seemed to have his eye on me.
The gentleman responsible for such sophisticated theater was Norbert Stumpfl, a quiet and composed Austrian who had recently taken over at the house of Brioni, one of Italy’s sartorial greats, which has dressed presidents and Hollywood royalty for decades. “I don’t need to tell anyone that Brioni makes beautiful suits,” he told me, “so this is the Brioni man off duty.” From taking a bath, with a woman perched on the edge of the tub wearing his boxers and robe, to hosting a dinner party (with immaculately dressed guests, naturally) to talking on his cell while collapsed on a bed, the Brioni man was shown navigating the world in a wardrobe of casual but refined pieces that I suspect you would have loved. I vowed to feature Mr. Stumpfl in the magazine posthaste, then Covid happened and Europe closed for business. Two years later, I’m delighted to see Kareem Rashed’s excellent profile of Brioni’s creative director in this fall style issue.
After that, there is another decidedly European story: Our fashion shoot was photographed over the course of one busy weekend in Paris. Showcasing something similar to Stumpfl’s prescient aesthetic, it features sophisticated but accessible outfits that perfectly marry our current insistence on comfort with our desire to dress up once again (please). Elsewhere you can learn what happened when three of us opened our closets to a trio of stylists; why Mauritius will surprise you, especially if you’re into horses; how 3-D printing is transforming the shape of furniture design; and what to expect in the driver’s seat of Ferrari’s most formidably advanced set of wheels yet, the SF90 Stradale.
But before I go this month, I must point you in the direction of something particularly exciting: Robb Report’s exclusive bottling, in partnership with our friends at WhistlePig, of a bespoke 12-year-old whiskey expertly finished in Spanish brandy casks which tempers the heat and spice of the high-rye mash bill beautifully. Available online (if you’re quick) at robbreport.com/rareandfine, it is an exceptional spirit—refined and stylish. Perfect, in other words, for this style issue.
Enjoy the issue, and the whiskey.