Today in Florence, some of Schunman’s favorite subjects have come to him. They’ve come from America, from England and Spain and even Japan. Most of them have made multiple appearances on Schuman’s blog; most of them have never met before, but they seem to recognize one another on some tribal level. They all look amazing. Schuman stands in the street in front of the little trattoria where he’s treating them all to lunch, taking pictures as they arrive. They strike rakishly unposed-looking poses, holding their cigarettes as straight as exclamation points. They have rich Corinthian-leather tans. They have lace handkerchiefs in the pockets of their immaculately tailored jackets. They have elegant, unironic mustaches. They have spectacular beards—wizardy, fishermanly beards.
They’re heavy dudes in their respective fields—menswear retail and tailoring, mostly—but none of them are the kind of big-time designers whose names appear on people’s underwear and in rap songs. They’re not models, or movie stars. Many of them are pushing 50 or 60. And yet they’ve all become figures of cultish fascination to young style bloggers worldwide, prized as the walking embodiment of a deeply old-school, untrendy-and-thereby-deeply-trendy approach to getting dressed.
Like Lino Ieluzzi. These days Lino runs Al Bazar, a forty-year-old men’s shop in Milan. Before that, Schuman says, he did a lot of other things. He fixed watches. He was maybe a hairstylist-gigolo for a while, like Warren Beatty in Shampoo. He’s a regular on the blog: Lino with one foot up on a concrete berm, Lino smoking with a Heineken in his hand. Today, Lino’s wearing a suit in a mathematical combination of plaids, so tailored it fits like armor. His necktie has a lucky number 7 on it. If you want to buy a suit from Lino, you have to go to Milan. Even if he’s tailored a suit for you before and has your measurements, Lino won’t FedEx you another one. You have to go there in person, kiss the ring.
And yet Lino’s an international style icon now, thanks to Schuman’s pictures of him. So are Hirofumi Kurino, co-founder of the Japanese retail chain United Arrows, and clothier Luciano Barbera, and Carlos Castillo, who owns a store called Man 1924 in Madrid, and all the rest. “I’ve never felt like such an Oscar in a room full of Felixes,” Schuman says to me. This is a ridiculous statement. Schuman looks immaculate, too. Trim black blazer, a scarf he probably test-knotted a few times in the mirror. He’s American, pugnaciously handsome, five feet four, kinda looks like a bantamweight Lance Armstrong. I watch him say the Oscar/Felix thing to Bruce Pask from T Magazine. He is saying it to everyone from a country where they had The Odd Couple.
Inside, Schuman gives a toast. He tells everyone they’re the core of what he does on The Sartorialist, that they make it possible. In Indiana, where he grew up, the closest thing to fashion was a mall that had both a Gap and a Chess King, and he does the blog, he says, for kids just like him, “imagining what a world like this would be like. Now these guys have a chance to really see that, hopefully on a daily basis, and I really have you guys to thank for that.” So, cheers, he says, and then tells everybody not to pay attention to him, because he’ll be walking around shooting.
And then a guy in a white tuxedo jacket walks in, and even after Schuman introduces him, there are definitely some people who don’t know who the guy in the white tuxedo jacket is or what he does for a living, which is funny, because the guy in the white tuxedo jacket is Kanye West.