Switzerland’s 57-kilometre Gotthard Base Tunnel hosts a retracing of the historic route through the Alps

One of the world’s latest masterpieces of civil engineering also makes for a fascinating rail journey.

By John Carey 01/01/2019

Cheese isn’t the only thing in Switzerland that’s full of holes. In Europe’s most mountainous country, so is the scenery. There’s an audio presentation cycling through four languages aboard the Gotthard Panorama Express as it rolls steadily towards peaks thrusting high into a clear sky. The English version tells us we’re heading for “the most perforated mountain in the world”.
Saint Gotthard isn’t the name of a specific summit. Instead, it applies to an entire range. The Saint Gotthard Massif separates Switzerland from Italy and it’s a big, beautiful and formidable barrier. Its high points top 3000 metres; not nearly enough to rank among the giants of the Alps, but still more than 750 metres taller than Australia’s Mount Kosciuszko.
It’s almost 150 years since the Swiss punched the first hole through Saint Gotthard. Drilling and dynamiting for a decade, they created a new rail route through the Alpine heart of Europe, a direct link between the Mediterranean and the North Sea.
Pack animals and, later, wagons had been carrying goods over the Gotthard Pass for around six centuries, but snow would block the route for half the year, from November to May. Obviously, a railway running through tunnels would have vastly more freight capacity and could operate year-round.

The first rail tunnel through St Gotthard.

The feat of that first rail tunnel remains a source of pride for the Swiss to this day, according to historian Kilian Elsasser. He’s an expert on everything Gotthard, but especially the original tunnel. “It was the big achievement of Switzerland in the last 150 years, I would say. The railway line made it so important, this Gotthard Pass. Before, it was one of several passes through the Alps and without the line it would still be one of several passes through the Alps.”
From an engineering point of view, this was a madly ambitious project. It meant boring a 15-kilometre main tunnel, longer than any other in the world at the time. To create gradients gentle enough for hard-working locomotives to climb, the track would have to corkscrew through rock lining both the gorges that led to the main tunnel, 1100 metres up. It was one of the first engineering projects in the world to make large-scale use of dynamite, patented only a few years earlier. It’s estimated that 1000 tonnes of the powerful explosive, invented by Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, was used.
Drama and tragedy punctuated the decade it took to construct the Gotthard Tunnel. The labourers, mainly Italians, protested over working conditions and pay in 1875. The Swiss Army, brought in to quell the unrest, fired on the strikers and killed four of them.
The workers had a point; at least 199 are known to have died in accidents in the tunnel. And the Gotthard Tunnel’s Genevan chief engineer, Louis Favre, died while inspecting work on it in 1879. Relentless pressure to keep to budget and timetable provoked his fatal heart attack, it was said.
The precision of Favre’s work only became apparent the year after his death. When the tunnels driving south from Göschenen on the Swiss side and north from Airolo on the Italian side finally met, their divergences in height and direction were trivial. The first train steamed through the Gotthard Tunnel in 1882.
It would be almost a century until another tunnel punctured the Saint Gotthard Massif. Opened in 1980, the new road tunnel had also taken a decade to dig. As it follows the same route as the rail tunnel, the road tunnel’s length is similar, at 17 kilometres.

Stunning scenery awaits at the end of the tunnel on the new Panaorama Gotthard Express rail journey.

However, both the original rail tunnel and the younger road tunnel are eye-blink short compared to the latest route bored through this part of the Alps. The 57-kilometre Gotthard Base Tunnel, officially opened in June 2016 and fully operational by December that year, reclaims the Longest Tunnel in the World title for Switzerland. It’s also the world’s deepest traffic tunnel; its maximum depth of almost 2500 metres is similar to the deepest mines.
The Gotthard Base Tunnel is, in reality, a pair of tubes, each with a single pair of rails running through it. Boring the tunnels was done in less than a decade, although the whole project took 17 years to complete. The four TBMs (tunnel boring machines) used were monsters: German-made, they were each more than 400 metres long, weighed around 3000 tonnes and had 5000kW motors powering their cutting wheels. In a tunnelling tradition, they were given dainty, sunny nicknames by the tunnellers; the northbound machines were Sissi and Heidi, the southbound duo Gabi I and Gabi II.

It took a multinational crew and four 3000-tonne tunnel-boring machines to bore the longest tunnel in the world.

The tunnels they bored between Erstfeld and Bodio are straighter, flatter and lower than Favre’s Gotthard Tunnel. Hundreds of freight trains, each carrying triple the maximum tonnage allowed on the old line, speed through daily at 100km/h. Passenger trains are fewer but faster. They’re permitted to do 200km/h through the Gotthard Base Tunnel.
According to the readout displayed on the screen above the aisle in my First Class carriage, mine is doing exactly 199km/h. The Trenitalia Frecciarossa (Red Arrow), bound for Basel from Milan, takes less than 18 minutes to pass beneath the Alps. Such speed lops a useful 40 minutes or so off the pre-Base Tunnel travel time between northern Italy and central Switzerland. From Milano Centrale to Zurich Hauptbahnhof, for example, now takes a little under three-and-a-half hours.
The tunnel is unlit, so the impression of speed is all sonic. The hiss and rustle of disturbed air can be heard through the double-glazed window and there’s a low-frequency rumble from the bogies below. The ride is completely smooth.

I leave the Frecciarossa at Lucerne. With all freight trains now using the Gotthard Base Tunnel, the old line is now a tourist attraction. Regular local services still run, but the queen of the line is the new Gotthard Panorama Express. It runs once daily from this lovely lakeside city all the way to Lugano on weekdays, but stopping short at Bellinzona on weekends. Another Gotthard Panorama Express runs once a day in the reverse direction.
Lucerne is home to the Swiss Transport Museum, which attracts more visitors than any other collection of stuff in the country. Sited on the lake shore, a Gotthard Base Tunnel boring machine cutting wheel stands adjacent to its entrance. This work-worn tool, around nine metres in diameter, could easily be mistaken for some piece of modern sculpture.
Inside the sprawling museum is an area dedicated to the Gotthard Base Tunnel. The highlight is a 1:1000 cutaway model, which makes clear the scale and complexity of the project.
Switzerland can justifiably claim to have pioneered modern tourism back in the time of Queen Victoria, herself a visitor to this part of the country. They’re still adept at it, especially if the journey involves rails.

A steam boat operates between Lucerne and Flüelen, where you can board the Gotthard Panorama Express.

But the Gotthard Panorama Express experience begins, at least for those departing from Lucerne, no less romantically with a ferry. The Stadt Luzern, a stately paddle steamer built in the late ’20s, departs a dock in front of Lucerne’s railway station. The ferry’s been converted to run on oil, so there are no sweating stokers shovelling coal into its boiler furnace, but you can see its big, slow-turning three-cylinder engine at work in the centre of the vessel from the main deck.
Kilian Elsasser is aboard mainly to deliver a speech to the officials and guests riding this maiden run of the Gotthard Panorama Express. I speak with him after his speech, which had earned him a warm round of applause.
As the Stadt Luzern splashes along, Elsasser points out lakeside landmarks. There’s Rütli, the meadow where Switzerland was born in 1291 when three districts – Uri, Unterwalden and Schwyz – swore an oath of alliance against their Austrian Habsburg rulers. Here’s the rock where the maybe-mythical marksman William Tell leaped to freedom in 1307 from a storm-tossed boat. He was being held prisoner by a Habsburg-appointed overlord who’d famously forced him to shoot an apple from his son’s head to avoid punishment for a display of disrespect to the regime. Once free, so the legend goes, Tell used his crossbow again, this time kill his persecutor.
These are reasons the Swiss regard this area as the cradle of their nation. Elsasser believes the nearby Gotthard became connected with Switzerland’s sense of independence during World War II. Determined to preserve their neutrality, the Swiss threatened the destruction of Favre’s strategically important Gotthard Railway should Nazi boots step onto their soil.
“It was better than the Brenner,” Elsasser insists, referring to the other major rail route across the Alps, away to the east and running from Italy, via Austria, to Germany. The Swiss line was newer and better-designed, says the historian. “That’s typical Swiss. We don’t invent watches, but then we build the best. That’s also like our railways.”
The Stadt Luzern docks at Flüelen at the southern end of Lake Lucerne. It’s only a few steps to the Gotthard Panorama Express waiting at the adjacent station. The train pulls out punctually and heads south along the gradually narrowing valley of the Reuss River. After passing the northern portal of the Gotthard Base Tunnel at Erstfeld, the line spirals to gain height, providing passengers with three different views of the pretty little church of Wassen.
It doesn’t take long to traverse Favre’s 15-kilometre tunnel.
Soon we’re looking at the scenery of Ticino, Switzerland’s Italian-speaking canton, and feeling warmer. The train now spirals downwards, passing through gorges that were the most difficult part of the original path over the Gotthard. The train passes the south portal of the Gotthard Base Tunnel before pulling into the station at Bellinzona, famed for its trio of castles.
I ask Elsasser, who so loves the old Gotthard line that he bought a place in Göschenen at the northern end of Favre’s tunnel, what he thinks of the new Base Tunnel.
“As a Swiss citizen I’m very proud, because we really did a masterwork,” the historian replies. Elsasser says he voted ‘Yes’ in the referendums required in ultra-democratic Switzerland to approve the project, and rode on the first passenger train to travel through it in June 2016.
“But, on the other hand,” he continues, “it could be a tube in London or Paris. The big mountains and all this history, you don’t realise is there because it’s just a tunnel.” Elsasser leans close and lowers his voice. “In a way, it’s boring, you know …”


Subscribe to the Newsletter

Stay Connected

You may also like.

Everybody Loves Naomi 

Fashion fans adore her. And so do we. Lucky, then, that a new exhibition is paying homage to four decades of snake-hipped catwalking.

By Joseph Tenni 22/06/2024

Naomi Campbell contains multitudes. Since emerging on the scene in 1986, modelling for British designer Jasper Conran, the statuesque stunner has used the runway for takeoff. She has ventured into all aspects of the culture, from Vogue to Playboy and reality TV. In the business arena, she has dabbled in publishing and the two F&Bs (fragrance and beauty, and food and beverage). Her philanthropic efforts are legion.

Naomi is better known than any of her peers and, aged 54, remains more relevant than ever. As a testament to her pervading influence, a new exhibition, Naomi: In Fashion, is opening at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum. Celebrating her 40 years in the spotlight, the show includes clothes from the model’s closet and some of the designer fashion she has helped to immortalise.

We all know her snake-hipped walk, her glowing skin, her famous paramours, and—yes—her many tantrums and tiaras. But how much do we love her exactly? Let’s count some of the ways. 

1. She Was Born to Be Famous

Many people know Naomi for her appearances in music videos for Michael Jackson’s In the Closet and George Michael’s Freedom! ’90—the latter also featuring fellow supermodels Linda, Cindy and Christy. But Naomi has been in front of the camera since she was a child, and her prolific music-video career predates her modelling. At 8, she appeared in the official video for Bob Marley’s 1978 hit Is This Love. At 13, Culture Club cast her as a tap-dancing teen in I’ll Tumble 4 Ya. It would be another two years before she was discovered by model scout Beth Boldt, while shopping in London’s Covent Garden.

Courtesy Off-White. Photo Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

2. She Hits All the Right Notes

As anyone who has ever seen Unzipped, the 1995 cult fashion documentary by Douglas Keeve, Naomi always has a song in her heart. She put her mouth where her money was in 1994 and recorded an album, Babywoman. The cover art featured Naomi, photographed by Ellen Von Unwerth, shaving her legs while sitting on the toilet. Fittingly, the album was canned—despite assistance from contributors like Donna Summer and PM Dawn. 

3. She’s Always Ready for Her Close-Up
Hollywood’s history is full of models who went on to become successful actors. Naomi is not one of them. But not for want of trying. Her turn as a nightclub singer in Vanilla Ice’s 1991 movie Cool as Ice flies under the radar but doesn’t deserve to. Nor does her scene-stealing cameo as a French cheese shopper in The Night We Never Met, alongside Matthew Broderick and Jeanne Tripplehorn. Or her playing a sexy telephone operator in Spike Lee’s Girl 6. Who else has that kind of range? 

4. She Tells It Like It Is

We’d be remiss not to mention her 1994 novel Swan. A roman a clef about a young girl breaking into the modelling industry, flanked by her four besties who are also divas in training heels, it certainly played with genres. A murder-mystery-cum-sexy-romance-cum-vocational-advice page-turner, or something like that, this guilty pleasure was cruelly overlooked and relegated to the annals of bargain bins everywhere. 

5. She’s Got a Mind for Business

Naomi has been vocal over the years about making less money than her white peers and was not going to wait for the industry to catch up. Instead, she has ventured into businesses ranging from her former stake in the Fashion Cafe in New York to her signature fragrances, first released in 1999. What does Naomi smell like? Subtle yet complicated, consisting of top notes of peach, coconut and bergamot with a deep, woody base of cedar and sandalwood—apparently.

6. She Gives Until It Hurts

For a so-called narcissist, Naomi has often put her fame to philanthropic use. She has galvanised black models in fashion with the Black Girls Coalition and has raised money for Africa, Haiti and disaster relief worldwide, including after the Mumbai terrorist attacks. When she was dating the Russian billionaire and Aman Resorts owner Vladislav Doronin, she became committed to saving the tiger. Is there anything this overachiever can’t do?

7. She Can Make Hay From Anything

When she was sentenced to community service following allegations by a former employer that Naomi had attacked her with a mobile phone, the model emerged from her punishment dressed in couture and trailed by a photo crew who were shooting a fashion layout of her for W magazine. And when she was summoned in 2010 to appear in a war crimes trial against former Liberian president Charles Taylor—in relation to an uncut blood diamond he’d allegedly given her—our girl showed up in an Azzedine Alaïa twin-set and wearing a silver “evil eye” necklace, turning the courtroom into a photo opportunity.

8. She’ll Be on Your Side for Evermore
The fashion industry is hardly known for its loyalty or congeniality, but Naomi has maintained decades-long friendships with not only her supermodel sisters like Christy Turlington but also some of the most powerful and difficult players, including John Galliano and Marc Jacobs. That she has remained tight with so many of her friends is not lost on her adoring public. She must be a loyal person and in return, fans everywhere remain loyal to her.

Naomi: In Fashion runs from June 22, 2024, until April 16, 2025, at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; vam.ac.uk

Courtesy Vivienne Westwood. Photo Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Buy the Magazine

Subscribe today

Stay Connected

The Sapphire Dinner 2024 Raises Support for Ocean Conservation

This year’s boldfaced bash raised funds for our critically under-supported national treasures. 

By Horacio Silva 22/06/2024

The big fish of Sydney society came out Thursday night for the third annual Sapphire Dinner to raise much-needed money for ocean conservation. Held in conjunction with the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the boldfaced bash was the first sit-down dinner held at the Tank, a repurposed World War II fuel container that sits beneath the Art Gallery’s new wing. 

Set against a backdrop of immersive ocean-inspired video projections by South Korean digital creators d’strict, and with a dress code that inspired guests to recycle their most fabulous fashions, the zero-waste dinner supports The Sapphire Project’s mission to galvanise the community to take action to protect our oceans and the Great Barrier Reef.

Deep-pocketed VIPs who walked the evening’s blue carpet included  Malcolm and Lucy Turnbull, real estate maven Monika Tu, Penelope Seidler, Anna Marsden (Managing Director of Great Barrier Reef Foundation), Michael and Tina Brand, Andrew Cameron, MCA Chair Lorraine Tarabay, Myer boss Olivia Wirth, benefactors Paris Neilsen and Beau Neilson, and Paul Howes and Olivia Wirth, the power couple known as ‘Paulivia’. 

Retired swimmer Giaan Rooney MC’d the event, hosted by Sapphire Committee co-chairs Hayley Baillie and Ryan Gollan and committee members Ian Thorpe AM, Luke Hepworth, Clare Herschell, Susan Wynne, Brioney Prier, Bianca Rinehart, Doris Ma, Kate Champion, Ellie Aitken, and Chong Chua. 

A troupe of former Australian Ballet dancers and a musical performance by the Fijian-Australian singer and actress Paulini entertained the revellers.   

Among the auctioned items was an original work by Del Kathryn Barton, which raised more than $200,000 in a high-spirited bidding war led by Four Pillars Gin founder Stu Gregor, whose expletive-laden entreaties were suitably salty. 

Nobody minded, given that more than a million dollars were raised to support the criminally underfunded ocean conservation (it’s estimated that only about 2 percent of philanthropy in Australia goes towards the preservation of our precious national treasures), with funds going to support important initiatives such as The Great Barrier Reef Foundation, the University of Sydney’s One Tree Island Research Station, the Australian Museum’s Lizard Island Research Station, the Australian Sea Lion Recovery Foundation and Biopixel Oceans Foundation’s Project Hammerhead

The Sapphire Project Dinner 2024
Clare Herschell, Kate Champion, Bianca Rinehart & Hayley Baillie
The tablescapes at the Sapphire Project Dinner
Ian Thorpe
Adrian and Beck Buchan
Monika Tu
The Sapphire Project Dinnner 2024
Lucy & Malcolm Turnbull
Sapphire Committee co-chairs Hayley Baillie & Ryan Gollan

For further information, visit SapphireProject.com.au

Buy the Magazine

Subscribe today

Stay Connected

The 10 Best Omakase in Sydney

Sydney’s best Japanese chef’s-table dining experiences.

By Belinda Aucott-christie 06/06/2024

In Japan, where food is a cultural art form, omakase stands for traditional Japanese foods made with seasonal ingredients. A good omakase meal, prepared with purity and mindfulness, can make an unforgettable imprint on the culinary memory. Yet in a land defined by seasonal traditions, omakase is a relatively new concept.

Omakase originated in Japan in the 1970s as affluent Japanese began to dine more regularly at first-rate sushi counters. Bowing to the expertise of the sushi master, omakase loosely translates to “I’ll leave it to you.” In a setting where money is no object, letting the chef decide was designed as a chic way to take the awkwardness out of ordering.

In Australia where there’s an abundance of fresh seafood, omakase menus have experienced a recent rise in popularity. Today omakase is any series of small dishes served directly by the chef to the diner. Each part of the meal is presented on beautiful ceramics and lacquer wear, with a great —and somewhat— intimidating reverence for elegant details. It’s a chance to see a chef’s knife skills up close and get a feel for their cooking style.

Omakase menus are based on whatever is freshest at the market and can be influenced by the chef’s mood, expertise, and response to the guest. They can be slowly paced like a ceremony—hushed and reverential—but they can also be rowdy, humorous, and personal.
Here we give you 10 of the best to try in Sydney.

Yoshi’s Omakase at Nobu Crown Sydney

Crown Sydney, Level 2/1 Barangaroo Ave, Barangaroo. Open: 12–3 pm, 5:30–9:30 pm Phone: 02 8871 7188 Reservations: F&B-SYD-Nobu@crownresorts.com.au; $380 per head (including matched wine and sake). Crownsydney.com.au

Sushi Oe

16/450 Miller St, Cammeray; Tue – Sat. SMS only 0451 9709 84 E: jizakana16@gmail.com Phone: 0426 233 984 $230 per head. jizakana.com.au

Kisuke with Yusuke Morita

50 Llankelly Place, Potts Point; Tuesday – Saturday: 17:30 – 10.45 (closed Sunday/ Monday) $185-200 per head Kisukepottspoint.com


102/21 Alberta St, Sydney. Lunch, Friday to Saturday 12 -2:00 pm Dinner, Tuesday to Saturday 5:45 pm – 8:1 5pm (closed Sunday & Mondays) P: 0408 866 285                                     E: haco@hacosydney.com.au; $150 – $210 Hacosydney.com.au


Shop 04 2/58 Little Hay St, Sydney, Lunch: Fri-Sun 12:30 pm. Dinner  Tue-Sun 5:15 pm or 7:45 pm sittings.  Reservation via SMS at 0488 688 252; $220 per head @kuon.omakase


The Darling, Level G, 80 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont. Open dinner Monday to Thursday from 5:45 pm P: 1800 700 700 $300 per head Sokyo.com.au


368 Kent St, Sydney; Open Tue – Wed – Thur: 6 pm Fri & Sat: 5:30 pm P: 02 9262 1580, reservations@kurosydney.com $220 per head. Kurosydney.com;

Choji Omakase

Level 2, 228 Victoria Ave, Chatswood —upstairs from Choji Yakiniku. Every Monday to Wednesday at 6.30 pm. One seating per day only. $295 per head. Chojiomakase.com.au

Gold Class Daruma

The Grace Hotel, Level 1/77 York St, Sydney; 12–2:30 pm, 5:30–9.00 pm Phone: (02) 9262 1190 M: 0424 553 611 booking@goldclassdaruma.com.au·$120 – $150 per head Goldclassdaruma.com.au


Besuto Omakase, Sydney Place precinct, 3 Underwood Street, Circular Quay. Omakase is available to book for dinner – Tuesday to Saturday. 5:30 pm & 8pm sittings. From $250. Besuto.com.au

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is no soy and wasabi offered during my omakase meal?
Even though sushi and sashimi are being served, the chef is serving each piece of sushi so quickly and directly that the chef is applying the wasabi and soy to the sushi themselves. Watch as they brush the top of the fish with soy and dab a tiny amount of wasabi on the rice, under the fish. You should not need to add extra, and in fact, it can be insulting to the chef to add more. Bathing the bottom of the rice of your sushi in soy sauce is considered bad manners, as it is seen as detracting from the flavour of the fish.

Nobu, Sydney

Can an omakase experience accommodate my dietary needs?
Although there is often little variation once the chef has set the daily menu, some customisation is possible. Advise the restaurant when you book and remind them of allergies or aversions again as you sit down. They will let you know when you book if your allergy is possible for the chef. Japanese menus feature a lot of seafood and dashi so accommodating a no seafood request can be genuinely tricky.

What are the golden rules for chopstick etiquette?
Use your chopstick holder in between eating, rather than putting chopsticks on your plate. Don’t use your chopsticks to gesticulate or point; if offering food to someone to try, never pass food directly from your chopsticks to theirs. Rather place the food onto a small plate and let them pick it up.
Never touch communal or shared food with your chopsticks. The longer, slightly larger chopsticks are like sharing cutlery, never put these in your mouth.

Without a menu, how can I know what I am eating during omakase?
Omakase is often a no-menu situation, and you are expected to try new things. Attending an omakase experience with an open, trusting mind yields the best results.
There are Wagyu and tempura omakase that reflect the chef’s personal predilections and training, but in a standard luxury omakase, the format will include a lot of freshly caught seafood and will usually kick off with a delicate appetiser. This will be followed by a sashimi and sushi course, a savoury egg custard (chawanmushi) with meat and seafood, a cooked or blow-torched market fish, a soup course, and dessert.

Can I talk to the chef during omakase? What is the protocol?
Guests at an omakase experience are welcome to ask questions of the chef; in fact, interacting with the chef is part of the experience. It is considered polite to ask questions or inquire about the food so they can explain.

What is best to pair with omakase  in terms of drinks?
In general, wine and sake are a perfect match for omakase. Aged fish and vinegar have strong umami flavours so depending on which course you enjoy, different wine and sake will pair well. Dry chilled sake is a great choice. Amazing sakes are imported into Australia, so trust the restaurant to advise you and take you on a sake journey at the same time.  If you don’t like sake, drinking chardonnay, a crisp young riesling, or even a dry complex Riesling is also totally acceptable. All three styles help bring out the flavour of the fish. Champagne can also be good. Try a blanc de blancs— 100% chardonnay —for a great way to start the meal. As you progress, remember that sake is good for dishes with a strong taste, such as uni and eel.

Nobu, Sydney

Buy the Magazine

Subscribe today

Stay Connected

The Tod’s SS25 Men’s Collection in Milan Was a Showcase of “Artisanal Intelligence”

It was also the debut men’s collection by creative director Matteo Tamburini.

By Josh Bozin 20/06/2024

Earlier this week, Tod’s presented its SS25 men’s collection at the Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea (PAC) for Milan Fashion Week, where all eyes were fixed on Matteo Tamburini and his debut menswear collection as Tod’s newest creative director.

Striking “a balance between tradition and modernity”, was the former Bottega Veneta designer’s intention, and indeed his showcase offerered a spotlight on the quality, materials, and detailing that are central to the Tod’s wardrobe.

“The collection is more about subtraction rather than addition, highlighting the very elevated, timeless and relaxed materials,” says Tamburini via a statement.


In line with Tod’s restrained design codes, the garments presented were characterised by timelessness, unmistakable Italian flair, yet a casualness appropriate for everyday wear. Only the best leathers were used in the collection—thanks to the Pashmy project, which Tod’s unveiled in January to champion high-end Italian materials—used in creating garments like the Tod’s Bomber, the Gio Jacket, the Shirt Jacket, the Di Bag sack, as well as footwear staples, like the Tod’s T-Riviera.

Of course, the iconic Gommino driving shoe wasn’t without an update, too: you’ll find a new sabot interpretation, as well as the Bubble Gommino introduced in a new boat model with the T-bar accessory.

“Craftsmanship” was at the forefront of messaging, with chairman and chief executive officer of the Tod’s Group, Diego Della Valle, reiterating the message of honouring artisanal arts in an increasingly digital-first world.”[It’s] important to uphold artisanal intelligence, keeping under control artificial intelligence as it is now developing rapidly and powerfully,” he said via a statement.

“Individuals and artisanal intelligence at the centre, with its traditions and values, will contribute to keep artificial intelligence in check. Our Italian craftsmanship and supply chain can be an example of the combination of tradition and the new speed of artificial intelligence.”


Buy the Magazine

Subscribe today

Stay Connected

Pitti Uomo’s Best-Dressed Men Cut Through the Noise With Personal Style

From vintage gems to tasteful tailoring, attendees of Florence’s biannual tradeshow brought their best sartorial selves.

By Naomi Rougeau, Lorenzo Sodi 20/06/2024

Whether or not you’re well versed in the ins and outs of Pitti Uomo, the biannual menswear tradeshow in Florence that brings together buyers, press—and, naturally, a vast ostentation of peacocks—the chances are that photos from the gathering are still making their way into your newsfeed. You might even smirk at the mention of it. To be sure, you’ll encounter plenty of “overdressing” strolling through the main venues but by and large, great personal style manages to cut through the noise.

Part of what makes the Pitti scene so exciting is that menswear moves relatively slowly. It’s less about seeing something earth shatteringly new but rather gradual shifts and discovering fresh ways to put things together. Menswear regulars such as Alessandro Squarzi, owner of a considerable vintage archive that influences his Milanese boutique Fortela, can be relied upon to provide inspiration on how to make tried and true staples and silhouettes feel modern.

Speaking of new old things, vintage fashions made their way into the chat in a big way this June, whether in terms of rare finds or sustainable efforts via upcycling, fabric development and natural dyes (Paris-based De Bonne Facture achieved an ideal medium brown using coffee, for instance). At the heart of the conversation was another bona fide vintage guru Maurizio Donadi who made a case for the timelessness and democratic nature of indigo with his centuries-spanning exhibit of antique garments from around the globe.

Below you’ll find a dozen of our favorite looks from Pitti Uomo 106, lensed by our eagle-eyed street-style photographer Lorenzo Sodi. We hope they inspire.

Lorenzo Sodi

A lesson in simplicity and the power of a classic palette—good quality vintage accents such as a turquoise embellished belt buckle add interest to timeless workwear. Ray-Ban’s universally-flattering Wayfarer sunglasses are the perfect finishing touch.

Lorenzo Sodi

Sans suit and shirt, the neckerchief (of which there were many at Pitti), adds a welcome dose of colour to a white tee and relaxed jacket and proves that sometimes one choice detail is all it takes. A well-loved, slightly-too-long belt and canvas Vans contribute to the casual harmony.

Lorenzo Sodi

Whatever the weather, you’ll find Douglas Cordeaux, from Fox Brothers, looking immaculate in shirt and tie… and a suit made of one of Fox’s many fabrics. British elegance, embodied.

Lorenzo Sodi

Relaxed elegance is the foundation of the Brunello Cuccinelli brand. Here, the maestro himself shows us how it’s done in a double-breasted linen ensemble featuring a few personal flourishes.

Lorenzo Sodi

Designer Alessandro Pirounis of Pirounis offers a masterclass on the rule of three with a contemporary twist, subbing the usual jacket with an overshirt of his own design.

Lorenzo Sodi

A renaissance man takes Florence. True to his roots, US Marine veteran, Savile Row-trained tailor and photographer Robert Spangle blazes a sartorial trail that’s all his own.

Lorenzo Sodi

Cream trousers are an essential element of elegant Italian summer style. Designer Nicola Radano of Spacca Neapolis channels one of the greats (Marcello Mastroianni) in a dark polo of his own design, collar spread wide across his jacket’s lapel for a welcome retro lean.

Lorenzo Sodi

Proof of the power of tonal dressing, that can create an impactful outfit just by sticking to the same colour family. A chic ensemble and in some ways an elevated version of the double-denim look, every element is working hard in service to the whole.

Lorenzo Sodi

UK-based stylist Tom Stubbs has long been a proponent of blousy pleats, lengthy db jackets, and statement-making neck scarves and here, in vintage Armani, he embodies the louche, oversize look that many designers are just now catching up on.

Lorenzo Sodi

A tailor splitting his time between Berlin and Cologne, Maximilian Mogg is known for his strong-shouldered, architectural suiting. Yet in Mogg’s hands, particularly with this non-traditional colour scheme, the effect is always modern and youthful.

Lorenzo Sodi

If Max Poglia’s relaxed Hawaiian shirt and suit combo is any indication, summer has truly arrived. But it’s an excellent example of how to wearing tailoring in more casual fashion. This cream db would look perfect with shirt and tie at a wedding in August and just as chic here with slippers and a laid-back shirt.

Lorenzo Sodi

Another example of how tailoring can be laid-back and breezy for summer, from a dude who looks no stranger to enjoying the best of the warmer months. Jaunty pocket square, sandals, untucked linen shirt…go forth and emulate.

Buy the Magazine

Subscribe today

Stay Connected