I’ve always admired people with style. Particularly those blessed with individual style. Dressing well isn’t that challenging—understanding fit, silhouette, and what works for your body shape takes a little time, but once it’s mastered, it’s in the bank.
All that’s required then is to apply that knowledge, which, admittedly, is harder on some days than on others. But presenting yourself with a soupçon of individuality is often what sets the most elegant folk apart from the madding crowd. Just keep it subtle: As our teens and 20s recede further and further into life’s rearview, I find “subtle” is increasingly the aim when it comes to one’s appearance. Great style is rarely high volume.
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To be clear, I’m not talking about adding a novelty tie to a bespoke suit-and-shirt combo because it has your entire car collection depicted on it. The word “character” should be used only when describing your upstanding, ethical, and noble personality, not your wardrobe. Instead, aim for that almost indescribable essence of you that permeates your clothing choices and as such wouldn’t seem right on anyone else.
In this fall style issue, we profile one man who certainly fits the bill. Every time I’ve encountered Diego Della Valle, president and CEO of the Italian label Tod’s, he has looked elegant, stylish, and distinctive. He achieves this by virtue of a signature stylistic flourish, that of wearing his shirt collars up, with a long silk scarf wrapped around his neck in place of the more traditional tie. It might sound a little wild, but in the issue you’ll see that, thanks to a tonal uniform, it’s not as outlandish as it might seem. I’m not denying that to lend this look the required gravitas it helps to be an Italian fashion billionaire with a side hustle in cultural philanthropy. But, whatever, it has become his trademark.
I asked him about this trick when we caught up at his factory in Le Marche in central Italy for this story. He used to have a vast, colorful wardrobe, he said, but decided one day that it was no longer for him. Now he has one fabric for winter jackets and one for summer, always in navy. “One black tie, one black shirt, one black scarf, one blue jacket,” he said. If he has to go somewhere official, he’ll dig out a blue suit. If it’s “a little more sporty, you have gray pants and the blue blazer.” He wears jeans, too, which give him “three of four combinations: It’s possible to do many things.” All of it anchored by the quiet charisma that comes with that collar-and-scarf combo.
Another who has embraced a personal style of dress is Johannes Huebl, the model, entrepreneur, and designer who’s featured in the latest fashion shoot. Huebl has the easy elegance that many of us aspire to, so I asked him to share a few styling tips while he was posing for the camera. You’ll find them alongside the images, and you’ll notice there’s nothing crazy there, just an attention to fit, texture, and balance. Nothing high volume.
It’s a theme that pervades the issue, from the low-key beauty of a salmon watch dial to the microcamps that are the latest in chic stays on safari. You can see it in the 1961 Bentley S2 Continental restomod by London-based Lunaz, the epitome of classic elegance with an unexpected contemporary twist in the form of its electric battery. And it’s even there in Jason O’Bryan’s fascinating story about small-batch craft Cognacs, some well over a century old, created by modest family businesses that have been bottling eaux-de-vie for many generations—names you’ve likely never heard of (I certainly hadn’t), such as Maison Ferrand and Vallein Tercinier. They’re run by people doing their own thing, the way they believe it should be done. And you know what? I can’t think of a better description of individual style than that.
Enjoy the issue.