This unlikely destination is Africa’s new safari star

Almost nothing comes easy for travellers in this formerly war-torn country — but it’s always worth the effort in the end.

By Jackie Caradonio 20/01/2018

The valley looks like it’s spun from gold. Lush from the season’s rains, the vibrant expanse shimmers in the afternoon sunlight, a secret garden guarded by the majestic Mount Bisoke to the west and tumbling hills to the north. Climbing the emerald peak to the east, though, is the set of unbearably steep stone steps on which I currently find myself standing — and panting. Perhaps it’s the altitude, or all of that unfiltered golden light, that has me gulping for air.

“Every single stone on these steps was carried up by human hands,” says Ingrid Baas, the manager of Rwanda’s new Bisate Lodge (available through Alluring Africa) as she guides me up, up, and up farther still. I nod and give a tight-lipped smile in response — a fatigued gesture that I hope communicates a combination of “wow” and “tell me more.” “Men were carrying hundreds of pounds on their backs up this hill. The physical effort was unbelievable.” I answer with a silent, humble nod and wonder how much farther we have to go.

At last we arrive at the main lodge — and what an arrival it is. The fruits of 9 months of human labour are clear: Bisate is unlike any safari camp I’ve ever seen. The dome-like space bears little resemblance to the traditional tented lodges common throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Gone are the canvas chairs and vintage trunks. In their place are modern low-slung chairs covered in fur throws, sparkling chartreuse chandeliers composed of thousands of tiny bits of glass, and sweeping billowy curves everywhere. One look at the views from the terrace — a panorama over the valley and the mountains and those terraced hills — and I’m breathless all over again.

Indeed, Bisate is worth the effort, both to get there and to build. The six-room lodge is the result of nearly a decade of research and planning by the Botswana-based safari outfitter Wilderness. Set on the edge of Volcanoes National Park — where Dian Fossey famously carried out her research of the region’s primates — the camp is an aesthetic masterpiece as well as a magnum opus of sorts for Wilderness. “I’ve never walked away from a project feeling so rewarded,” says the company’s CEO, Keith Vincent. “Every part of it has blown me away, from the efforts the local population put into making it happen to the sense of pride it has brought to the surrounding villages.” That the hillside camp was constructed almost entirely by human power is nothing short of a miracle.

Spend a bit of time in Rwanda and you’ll find that almost nothing comes easy for travelers here — but it’s always worth the effort in the end. I arrived in the capital of Kigali two days earlier to discover a modern metropolis booming with progress. Hardly the mere pre-safari pit stop I had envisioned, the city is a testament to the strides this country has made in the quarter-century since a tragic genocide tore it apart. The atrocity — a 100-day slaughter that ended with nearly 1 million dead at the hands of their own neighbors, friends, and families — is still clear in the memory of every Rwandan above a certain age. And yet a collective optimism about the country’s future clearly prevails.

“The president has given us a new hope,” says my driver, Emmanuel Gasana, as we zip past the cutting-edge Kigali Convention Centre, an all-glass orb-like structure that was completed in 2016. “He’s making sure everyone gets an education, and creating jobs for people who have never worked before. And he’s bringing investors into the country to create new opportunities and wealth.”

Rwanda is still a work in progress — for instance, last August’s reelection of President Paul Kagame with 99 percent of the vote raised questions of political oppression — but recent improvements are readily apparent. We pass a pristine shopping centre and an ultramodern hotel wrapped in colorful ribbons of metal before turning a corner flanked by billboards showing a pair of shimmering residential towers. A new airport, the dramatic cantilevering Kigali Art & Culture Centre, and Norman Foster’s first-of-its-kind “droneport” (a hub for cargo delivered via drone) are also in the works.

Kagame is leading his country into an unprecedented tourism boom, too. The Virunga Mountains have long held allure for travellers, offering the rare opportunity to see the same endangered mountain gorillas and other primates that Fossey studied during the 1960s and ’70s. But the Rwandan government has a broader ambition, one that will lure travellers beyond the Virungas. “There’s so much more to Rwanda than simply cherry-picking the gorilla-tracking experience,” Vincent says. “The long-term goal is to open up new destinations, too.”

To that end, Wilderness is planning to open its second Rwandan camp in the northeastern Akagera National Park, which offers the country’s only Big Five safari experience. In the southwestern Nyungwe Forest National Park — home to chimpanzees and monkeys — the luxury-resort brand One&Only opened a lodge last year.

Luxury travellers are clearly a focus for Rwanda, particularly in the Virungas, where the government recently doubled the price of gorilla-tracking permits to ensure a more exclusive experience than that of neighboring Uganda. In addition to Wilderness’s Bisate, visitors to the region will soon be able to choose from lodges by both One&Only — which is scheduled to unveil its reinvention of the historic Gorilla’s Nest later this year — and Singita. For now, however, the talk of Rwanda is Wilderness’s rarefied new retreat in the heart of the Virungas.

With Gasana at the wheel, we set out on the 3-hour drive from Kigali. It’s only a matter of minutes before the city streets give way to winding mountain roads, and as we weave past sloping fields lined row after row with Irish potatoes and wide expanses of wispy golden wheat, rural Rwanda comes alive. Gasana, who lost his mother in the genocide, tells me that the mud farmhouses to our right remind him of his youth, when he’d visit his grandmother in the countryside.

Two hours later, Bisate comes into view, its woven structures sprouting from the hillside like giant birds’ nests wedged into a mound of ferns. Baas is waiting to show me up the steep stone steps to my room, which turns out to be a fantastical cross between an enormous woven basket and a geodesic dome. Designed by Garreth Kriel of the South African firm Nicholas Plewman Architects, the thatched villa is a reinterpretation of the old king’s palace of Nyanza, once the seat of the Rwandan monarchy. But this modern version brims with chic details: In the bathroom, the deep-soaking tub looks as if it were carved from slick onyx. Above it, an elegant chandelier is composed of tiny strips of leather. In the bedroom, colourful patterns covering the wingback chairs and pillows are contemporised versions of traditional kitenge fabrics. And the bed is the most comfortable I’ve slept in since arriving in Rwanda.

At over 2,590 metres, I’m naturally a little bit lightheaded, but the views from my private terrace are downright dizzying. I step out into the sun to find a pair of black-and-white rattan chairs that have been positioned in such a way that when I sit down, I find myself quite nearly face to saw-toothed face with Mount Bisoke. The floating effect is utterly magical. You don’t go on safari to spend all of your time in your room, but my, is it tempting.

“Mmmmmm,” Patrick Magirirane growls. “Muhhh-mmmmm.” Our group of eight trekkers is clinging to the side of Mount Karisimbi, catching our breath, and getting a crash course in gorilla-speak from our guide. Of the 20-plus vocalisations used by gorillas, the one Magirirane has just taught us roughly translates to “Hello. We come in peace.”

It is 10:30 am and we’ve been ascending this trail-less incline for more than an hour. The air is getting thinner and thinner — or maybe it’s the careful work of treading through an indecipherable grid of bamboo that has me feeling dazed. Everywhere, mossy reeds shoot this way and that; it’s like wading through a giant game of pick-up sticks. At the front of our group a trio of gorilla trackers slashes at the maze with their machetes, and we inch forward, with nettles latching onto our pant legs and tangles of lianas grabbing at our ankles as if trying to hold us back.

When we reach a muddy depression bridged by a fallen tree trunk, my porter — a sturdy woman named Pauline whom I hired only to carry my backpack filled with cameras and lenses — reaches for my hand. I timidly take it and allow her to hoist me over the impasse. Minutes later she reaches for me again, this time to help me navigate a slippery crevasse. A few minutes after that, I hit my head on a low tree branch. I swallow my pride, reach for Pauline’s hand, and decide not to let go until we reach less hazardous terrain.

Then, suddenly, we’ve arrived. Just beyond the thicket of bamboo ahead, Magirirane tells us, is Pablo’s group, one of the gorilla families Fossey habituated during her 18 years among these mountains. One by one we cross the threshold, emerging from the dark forest into a brilliant sloping meadow. And there, lounging in the midmorning sun like a Bacchus feasting on grapes, is Gicurasi, the group’s massive silverback of 180-plus kilograms, munching on wild celery.

Anyone who has encountered gorillas in the wild will emphatically remind you that we share 98 percent of our DNA with the black-furred beasts. This fact carries significantly more weight when you’re actually standing in front of a silverback. Gicurasi’s nimble fingers — and his fingernails — look so human, I can’t help but glance down at my own for the sake of comparison. When he finishes his snack, he rolls over onto his stomach and rests his chin in his hands, as if posing for a pin-up calendar. And when a rowdy adolescent tumbles past, plucking a shoot of celery for himself, Gicurasi slowly lumbers away, every bit the grumpy dad in search of just one moment of peace.

For their part, the gorillas meet our awe with impassive disinterest. As we navigate the meadow around them, gracelessly tripping over the knotted vines that cover the ground, they go about their business utterly unmoved. We coo over a 3-week-old baby, laughing at the wild mess of hair atop his head. We chuckle when a blackback — the group’s second eldest male — groggily stumbles out of the brush like a hungover frat boy. And we gasp when a rowdy juvenile cartwheels into the middle of the clearing, nearly knocking over one of his human intruders. Meanwhile, they doze in and out of sleep, pick gnats off each other, and occasionally glance in our direction and let out a halfhearted mmmmm.

All too soon, our time with Pablo’s group comes to an end, and Magirirane leads us back into the forest where Pauline waits with my backpack. The long trek back down Karisimbi is still ahead. The stabbing nettles and the trenches of mud and the mess of bamboo are all waiting to be navigated once again. But however arduous the journey home, the effort will be worth it.

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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.

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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

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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

Haco 

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

Kuon

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

Sokyo 

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

Kuro

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

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

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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.

Tod’s

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.”

tods.com

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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.

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