Our new Stylist Series brings to light the people behind our brand—join us as we discuss their journey's into the world of tailoring, from their first suiting experience, to their current style influencers and favourite suit details, to the items they place value on, their favourite coffee, literature, wine and more...This week, meet Paolo M, our head stylist in our Melbourne Lonsdale showroom.
Tell us about the first suit you ever purchased and your experience.
My first suit was a spezzato (the jacket and trousers are a different fabric), and it was in the 80’s, so a very “strange look”: big shoulders, long, relaxed baggy trousers, very different from fashion nowadays! I remember it fondly because it was when I came here for the first time to Australia in 1986.
What items in your life do you place the most value on? Tell us about the items of value you have in your life - your most prized possessions
I don’t think that they can be called items, but my two kids are priceless.
In terms of clothing, I have kept some of my favourite ties since I started working in fashion : I have some great Robert Talbott 7 fold which are incredible and a few Stefano Ricci ties. I’m passionate about ties because that’s where I started my career as a 20 years old.
I still have a couple of Trofeo jackets and some super 200’s suits. Incredibly delicate and beautiful suits (and expensive!).
Tell our readers something about yourself they may not know—tell us about yourself in 100 words or less.
I have been lucky to grow up in the era when “fashion” was starting. Wasn’t only a “work” item, it was the beginning of looking after your image, your own style, therefore your own personality. New young designers were asked to develop new ideas, so the company I worked for in Italy, began producing “ designer”’s collections: Armani, Valentino, Dior, etc… And I started travelling with my father all over the world ( he was obviously in the industry…) to promote the Italian way of dressing, which was very different from the English look: softer constructions, lighter and softer fabrics.
I spent the next 10 years learning about fabrics, construction, and fit. What always interested me was quality and fit: we endeavoured to give the best to our customers to make them feel the best.
I was “imported” by the best retailer in Australia based in Melbourne in 2001 to develop their Made To Measure (MTM) side of the business. And then looked after their collections, buying them from overseas, mainly Italy…
I moved to a different upcoming Australian brand in Sydney and developed their collection for another few years, again developing the custom side of their business.
There I could source and develop new collections of fabrics and styles with a great team. It was (and still is) a great success.
A couple of years ago, I moved back to Melbourne and joined this great fast paced growing business.
It is a great fit for me as I am passionate about creating custom garments for my clients.
I have had the pleasure of being able to give this company all of my experience and enthusiasm to make it a great success.
Talk us through what you’re wearing, how it’s unique and why you love it.
I always loved to wear soft shoulder construction and a full canvas. The garment “hugs' ' you in this way, you just don’t feel it, it just “lives” with you.
A must for me in terms of design are the patch pockets and cuffed trousers. Of course I have a mix of soft checks, stripes and plains to play with. Having a range of shirts and ties for variety are a must.
Explain the types of things you look out for and love in a suit—your must haves that make a suit special.
For me, a jacket must full canvas, and for me, with soft or no shoulder pads. Personally, i love the lightness and the comfort.
And most of all, the quality of the fabric: you will never go back once you tried the high thread counts: they are more expensive, they are not as durable, but…. They are so nice to wear!!! We live once! Let’s enjoy!
What’s your favourite part about your job?
Best part of my job? It is definitely seeing customers in disbelief when they put our garments on, and I must say, when their partners (weddings especially) have that face! Love it! And of course, seeing that I did a great job! Also, I love nurturing and sharing my long time knowledge to all my younger stylists, it can’t be lost! Fashion, tailoring, passion can’t be lost.
What do you wake up with in the morning?
That’s not even a question! I’m Italian: Double espresso, as thick as possible! Then I can start to work….
What’s your idea of the perfect meal and accompanying beverage in the food capital Melbourne?
Where do I start...
I grew up (and spent the first 30 years of my life) in a small town outside Torino in Italy and so a beautiful bollito misto or roast, paired with a bottle of Barabresco, will always remind me of home.
However, I love to try all different cuisines, so can be Little Bourke for Yam Cha, or there is some great food down Brunswick street like modern Vietnamese (Rice Paper Scissors is a personal favourite), Italian in Ivanhoe, and of course my sfogliatelle di ricotta at Brunetti’s. I travelled a lot and always tried everything (well, mostly everything, haha). Food is culture, I love to learn and experience.
What are your top 3 must reads and what are you reading right now?
I love Ken Follett. Love history, art, so going through his stories is just relaxing but at the same time I learn. I like historical books, real or fiction.
I am currently reading “ The tattooist of Auschwitz”.