Several designers have taken the fashion market by storm. Here are some of the most buzzy brands.

M Collections: Breakout Stars, 2015

Massimo Piombo

Paola Pansini

Appeared In
Special Issue
Menswear issue 03/17/2015


Several designers have taken the fashion market by storm. Here are some of the most buzzy brands.

MP Massimo Piombo

This story first appeared in the March 17, 2015 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

M Collections: Breakout Stars, 2015

“The amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor and moral courage it contained,” the British philosopher John Stuart Mill once wrote.

An intellectual designer like Massimo Piombo would surely agree. But in his case, eccentricity is not synonymous with extravagance, but corresponds to a particular taste for details; rich, vivid tones and fabric combinations—all elements found within his MP Massimo Piombo line, which made its debut in the men’s wear market in 2011. Previously, he operated the Piombo brand, which was discontinued when the MP line launched.

“Our product is intellectual,” says Piombo, who stands out from the crowd with his bullish, headstrong manners that reflect a very specific, somewhat snobbish fashion vision.

In keeping with the brand’s philosophy, Piombo opted for select distribution. His collection is sold in stores including Dover Street Market and Bergdorf Goodman in New York, United Arrows and Beams in Japan, 10 Corso Como in Milan and Mrporter.com. In June, it will also be available in the brand’s first flagship, which will occupy a town house in the Brera district, the former studio of Italian interior designer Gae Aulenti. “My vision is to offer things not meant to follow commercial dictates, but products with very special peculiarities,” the designer says.

After a four-year collaboration with Neapolitan tailoring firm Kiton, MP Massimo Piombo collections are now produced in a factory directly controlled by the company, and use exclusive fabrics developed by small textile producers across Europe.

For example, for his fall 2015 collection, which he showed in January at Pitti Uomo in Florence and then in Milan, Piombo offered alpaca from Austria, silk and wool from France and cashmere from Scotland.

Although his collections are recognizable for their bold color combinations, the designer also pointed to the high quality of the materials and the unique fit as essential ingredients that set the line apart.

“I’m all for subtraction,” he says. “When you have a coat, two jackets and two trousers, you are fine. I don’t believe that men’s wardrobes should be huge, but I think they should include pieces featuring the right shapes and fabrics.”

Piombo says his ideal customer “is a person more interested in intellectual things than business, who thinks outside the box and has a particular, but not ridiculous look. MP Massimo Piombo doesn’t aim at a specific age range—we can dress men age 25 to 100,” he adds.

Even so, it’s unlikely his clothes will be featured in the street style images flourishing across all social networks.

“I think it’s a circus, which doesn’t help developing a concept of elegance,” says Piombo, referring to people’s increased obsession to overdress in order to draw the attention of photographers. “The most elegant and self-respecting people are those less willing to be involved in this kind of thing.”

— ALESSANDRA TURRA

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