During my last trip to Europe, I paid a visit to one of Milan’s most renowned haberdasheries: Al Bazar. Its popularity has certainly increased tremendously due to the coverage of part-owner Lino Ieluzzi by the Sartorialist, and so it has become somewhat of a destination for clothes aficionados from all over the world. Unlike Fort Belvedere, Al Bazar does not have an online shop, I wanted to introduce you to the staff and their style.
On the way to the store, I met a man in a green Ulster overcoat, and although he did not purchase it at Al Bazar, it was stylistically similar to the store’s aesthetic.
Upon arrival, I was warmly welcomed by store manger Gianpaolo Alliata. He showed me around, explained the history of the store and answered all my questions. Of course, I also met Lino, but I will profiled him herea separate article shortly.
Al Bazar – History
Al Bazar was founded as a jeans and t-shirt store in 1961 by two friends, and although at the store occupies the very same location, it is was just on a fraction of the space it is today. One of their early tricks was to have 5 people on staff. With the store being so little, people from the outside would always think it was full of customers which they interpreted as great and entered the store themselves. Current owner Lino Ieluzzi started as a sales person, and when the two founders wanted to sell the business, Lino took over. He decided to change the scope of Al Bazar‘s business by targeting the sons of the aristocratic customers who would shop at Milan’s most exclusive haberdasher, M. Bardelli.
As such, he would actively engage in Milan’s nightlife by visiting the finest restaurants and the best clubs to promote Al Bazar. He would also regularly visit exclusive St. Tropez in France to meet up friends. Consequently, it was important to be well dressed and therefore Lino added jackets to Al Bazar‘s portfolio. Over the years, Lino would reduce the number of jeans he stocked and bring in more accessories and elegant clothing. However, he was never really interested in seasonal fashion and much preferred to create his own style that was relaxed but dressier than just jeans and t-shirt.
They also had a small women’s department, but they closed it eventually to focus entirely on men. In 1989, they expanded into the adjacent spaces on either side of the original store in order to stock more products like sweaters, shirts, umbrellas, and belts. Fourteen years later, they expanded once again and added sports and casual beach/summer wear.
The Al Bazar Style
Today, Al Bazar is full fledged haberdashery offering everything from suits, overcoats , vests, sweaters, and ties to all kinds of other accessories. Unlike the usual selection of charcoal, black and navy, Al Bazar offers a broad range of colorful garments in different colors, bold patterns and various materials such as cheviot, Harris tweed and flannel. Of course, the cloth is never super heavy, but they are substantial enough to ensure a beautiful drape. The hallmark style of Al Bazar is casual sprezzatura. This is best illustrated by their double breasted coat, which is one of the centerpieces of their collection. Although traditionally more formal, Al Bazar’s 6×2 double breasted coat is buttoned only on the middle button and the inside button remains unbuttoned as well, in order to create the desired nonchalant look. Overall, the jacket is tailored very fitted with a slightly shorter body and shorter sleeves. The gorge is very high, and the lapels have a round belly.
only 3-fold ties. Usually, the jacket has a ticket pocket on the right and deep side vents. Lino and Gianpaolo often combine it with a pair of jeans and a polo or a c casual linen shirt with unbuttoned sleeves and wool tie. Occasionally, they add leather patches on the elbow and wear it unbuttoned, displaying one of their blue, green or red belts. The buttonholes on the jackets I saw were hand sewn and the pick stitching was clearly visible. During the cooler months of the year, the gloves are put in the chest pocket instead of a pocket square and wrist bands and watches are a must, just like the oft-unbuckled double monk strap shoe.
Interestingly, the jackets are often so tight that you get a lot of X wrinkles across the front. Personally, I do not like at all, but I appreciate Al Bazar’s clothing for its color and patterns, which make them stand out. This is probably also one of the reasons why Al Bazar is so popular in Japan and even Americans like Nick Wooster are long standing customers. Apart from that, the choice of colorful men’s jackets and suits is fantastic. No matter if you are looking for, say a sky blue linen suit or a brown jacket with a bold windowpane, chances are you will find it at Al Bazar. They also have a broad range of ties in different materials and patterns. While there seems to be a trend in Italy towards 7-fold, 12- fold etc. ties (just like the never-enough trend of adding more blades to a Mach 3 or Fusion) they offer
So, next time you are in Milan, make sure to plan a visit to Via Antonio Scarpa 9 and I am certain you will find some inspiration or even a new outfit.Prices range from around €100 for a tie and €150 for a shirt to coats for €800. Make sure to checkout the gallery below to get a glimpse of what’s available. What do you think of the Al Bazar style?Al Bazar Milano Via Antonio Scarpa, 9 20145 Milan, Italy Tel: +39 02 433470 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.albazarmilano.it