Florence, Italy Scarpe Fatte a Mano Part 1

Working in fashion retail means that I’ve grown an appreciation for quality, value and construction, with a history in selling footwear, shoes have helped play a massive role in my style education.

With most high-end shoes constructed by a combination of both man and machine, my recent time in Italy has lead me to wonder what the main points of difference are between English and Italian footwear – Are all British shoes made with Goodyear welting and Italian with Blake stitching?

Being in Florence has meant that I’ve gotten to see a variety of different shoemakers and brands, including Sutor Mantellassi. Founded in 1912 by a fellowship of cordwainers; passed down from family member to family member, this Italian brand makes most of their shoes with Goodyear welting and the finest Italian leathers and Crocodile skin. Their construction (from what I have seen) is Goodyear welting and closed channel welting - The only Blake stitching I saw was on a pair of patent dress shoes.

I purchased this pair of snuff suede tassel loafers (above) because I was instantly drawn to their iconic blue soles closed channel welting. The suede is beautifully soft and very comfortable. It seemed like an offer too good to resist when they happened to have my size in stock during sale time and rest assured that I got these for a bargain. The shoe’s sizing seems to be a medium fit, not a true fit. (So I suggest trying half a size down). I would recommend this brand, especially for those of us who like to mix a bit of colour into our wardrobes with our accessories.


Firenze, Italy "Otto Marchesi"

Open my heart and you will see, graved inside of it, Italy.
                                                                                   - Robert Browning

Today I landed in Florence, Italy. For those of you who don’t know, my heritage is a mix of French and Italian and I was so excited to finally visit the country that my family emigrated from all those years ago. I felt really calm as my flight landed and after checking in at my hotel I decided to hit the streets and explore my new (temporary) neighbourhood. It might sound strange, but a part of me felt like I’d visited Italy before, I found it easy to navigate the streets and the locals were friendly and up for a chat as I wandered past. Yes, all of those Italian clichés are true; you have to try the food, see the art and experience la dolce vita.

I decided to take a spur of the moment trip to a local outlet village known as The Mall, my visit was fairly unsuccessful but on my way back from Santa Maria Novella station, I noticed a name I had been told to check out while I was in town - Otto Marchesi. The best part was that it was only around the corner from my hotel. I took it as fate and wandered in to have a look around the small outlet.

As soon as I entered the store I saw a face that I recognized from hours searching fashion and style blogs online. His name is Emanuele Pecorella; one of the most stylish men in Italy. Emanuelle’s passion was explosive and although we only spent a brief moment together I picked up some great tips from him. Language wasn’t a barrier and he told me so much about style in such a brief period of time.

One of the interesting things that he taught me during my visit this afternoon was my idea the Italian collar.  I now know that the collar I’ve long considered to be Italian was actually known as a French collar here in Italy. The French collar has a cutaway or extreme cutaway where as an original Italian collar is semi-spread.


Hola Barcelona

I'd like to live as a poor man, with lots of money.

                                                       - Pablo Picasso

Barcelona is an amazing place, the streets are like a maze and I've found it all too easy to get lost on my travels around this breathtaking city. As well as the beautiful architecture (including Gaudi's truly inspiring 'Sagrada Familia'), there's also an abundance of shopping to be had, especially around the central area of La Rambla, a touristy street full of little shops and market stalls, selling everything from food, books, souvenirs and clothing.

In my travels I managed to track down the traditional shirt maker Xancó Camiseria. Housed in one of the oldest buildings on the strip, Xancó Camiseria first opened their doors to the public in 1820. The store produces beautiful handmade shirts out of cotton, linen and wool (unfortunately with prices starting at 175 euros for a cotton shirt they're a little over my travel budget), but they have many styles, colours and patterns to choose from and I enjoyed spending a hour or so window shopping there.

Located in central Catalunya, Passeig de Gracia has quickly become one of my most loved shopping areas here in Barcelona. The street is massive and there's a good mix of high street and designer brands including Zara, Brunello Cucinelli and Brioni.

Santa Eulalia has easily become my favourite shop in the whole city. The department store stocks both mens and womens fashion and is spread over three levels. The only way I can think to describe it would be a combination of Henry Buck's and Harrolds mixed together with a hint of Oscar Hunt Tailors.

Some of you may have seen a recent Facebook post where I mentioned trying to purchase linen clothing without breaking my bank account. I didn't want to ruin my good clothes while I was travelling, and after chatting to a couple of friends who've recently visited Spain I decided to track down Adolfo Dominguez. This store is all about linen and stocks pants, suits, jackets, shorts, shirts and even linen T-Shirts. Luckily for me, my visit coincides with the summer sales so I've managed to pick up a couple of bargains.



Bon Voyage.

This will be my last winter post for now as I'm about to head off to chase the sun in Europe.
This tweed sports jacket is by far my favourite wardrobe piece, and to be honest I just don't wear enough. The earthy rust, stamped with a royal blue window pane check is a great smart casual option for the colder months and it's a little sad that I have to put in back in the closet (at least for the next few weeks) and replace it with a travel wardrobe of light cottons and linens.

Tomorrow I will be touching down in Paris, France. Of course I'll be doing all of the touristy things while I'm there, but number one on my holiday itinerary is to visit the Carmina store and pick myself up some new shoes.
I'll be keeping you all updated on my travels throughout the rest of July and August; the stores I visit and the people I meet along the way. Please follow me on Instagram at @apmmillions for more regular posts while I'm on my holiday and if you guys have any places you think I need to visit feel free to leave a comment below. Until then, Au Revoir Melbourne!

Jacket, Pants & Shirt by Oscar Hunt Tailors
Cardigan by Henry Bucks
Tie & Pocket square are Vintage
Gloves by Dents Uk (From Oscar Hunt Tailors)
Shoes by Church's Footwear


Fold-Away Fedora

Style is something very individual, very personal, and in their own unique way, I believe everyone is stylish Salman Khan

It's a proven scientific fact that heat rises - You can rug up from neck to toe during the colder months and still be freezing if you don't wear a hat to cover your head.

Back in the day hats were a sign of social status; in the military they denoted nationality, service and rank - These days they're worn as more of a practical accessory: perfect to shield us from the heat in summer, and help retain warmth in winter.

At the moment I'm really loving fold-able fedoras - The fur felt hat that I'm wearing below can be rolled up and slipped into my pockets in no time. Then it's just as easy to unroll and shape in any way I desire. Don't forget that character is key when it comes to personal style and that includes your accessories.

Photography by David Edney

Jacket, Pants &Shirt by Oscar Hunt Tailors
Tie is Vintage
Shoes by Loake Footwear