Summertime – when the living is easy

Italian designer Massimo Alba presents his new spring/summer collection, which is perfectly suited to easy, breezy warm-weather living

Style 30 Jun 2022

Massimo Alba's new easy breezy spring/summer collection
Massimo Alba's new collection shows off his willfully low key approach

‘I don’t want to be dressed by anybody!’ says Massimo Alba, the Italian fashion designer who you may well have heard of as the man who put 007 in corduroy.

It was Alba’s stone-coloured baby-cord suit worn by Daniel Craig in the memorable opening sequence of No Time to Die, set in the spectacular hilltop village of Matera in Southern Italy, which added something of a turbo boost to the designer’s profile. The story goes that our most recent 007 was a personal customer of Alba’s and so was instrumental in getting the suit on screen. The effect was striking as the look was clearly a casual alternative to the sharp tailoring and tuxedos that Bond is more traditionally associated with.

This sartorial softening of the world’s most famous superspy is emblematic of Alba’s appeal. He specialises in clothes for men (he designs womenswear too, which has a similar spirit) that manage to be both extremely wearable, but also interesting and stylish. Not an easy balance to pull off.

The answer lies in his wilfully low-key approach. His assertion that he doesn’t want to be dressed by anyone is made as he explains the problem he has with the dominant menswear brands. ‘If you wear something that is obviously designed by a global brand, then they are dressing you. It is not your style,’ he says. ‘This for me is not the modern way. I want people to wear pieces from my collection and wear them for years because they like them, and combine them with the other pieces in their wardrobe.’ 

It may not sound radical as a philosophy, but Alba’s take on fashion is definitely a long way from the seasonal reinventions that you often see as designers chase the notion of “the new”. Alba’s classic “Sloop” jacket is always in the collection, a simple and chic wardrobe essential that once discovered can see service year in and year out. It combines with trousers to form a suit, or can simply be worn on its own, and whatever else he might present it in, it is always available in several colours of Alba’s baby cord. 

Another regular is a particular style of T-shirt: ‘Known for its peculiarly wide neckline and handy front pocket, the Panarea T-shirt remains one of our seasonal staple pieces to be worn underneath a blazer or suit,’ says Alba. Polo shirts, too, are always a part of the offer: ‘The half-sleeved, linen polo shirts have also been essentials of our collection since the very first seasons.’ Other pieces – like shirts and coats and knits – simply evolve at a slow pace, reimagined in different fabrics or subject to new finishes and/or washes. But you won’t find a signature logo or pattern here. 

‘Our colour palette for the latest collection is inspired by summer, by the colour of the sky, of the sea, of the bushes, the flowers and sand, both at dusk and dawn,’ explains Alba in his studio in the hip Navigli district in the south of Milan.

‘In summer I prefer to work with natural fibres,’ he continues. ‘Linen is my go-to for shirts, the ones that aren’t meant to be ironed. To me, that’s a man’s most elegant travel staple. It’s what we should all bring with us on vacation.’

Knitwear is lightweight – ‘Our knits have been cut from the lightest, most gentle of cashmeres, to look and feel like breezy, colourful T-shirts. The pink cashmere polo is definitely one of my favourite garments from this collection.’ Trousers, meanwhile, come in linen, pure cotton and Panama cotton/linen, and have been dyed in sunny colours using a natural approach to be environmentally aware. And there is a new addition to Alba’s fabric selection: ‘One of our most recent additions to our family of fabrics consists of a denim that has been entirely produced in Italy with ancient wooden looms from the 1800s, used to produce a precious, 70cm, [relatively] thin strip of fabric.’

And, though there are those who maintain that tailored suits and jackets are being edged out of the male wardrobe by sportswear and leisurewear, Alba sees the future of these garments to be down to a reimagining of them in a more relaxed form (as modelled by James Bond, of course): ‘Elegant suits and jackets make up yet another fundamental part of this collection. They’ve been crafted from yarn-dyed linen and cotton, and also come in pure silk, linen and cotton. Despite their apparently formal appearance, these garments distinguish themselves through their effortless and relaxed fits. Personally, I love the idea of seeing them paired-up with our silk and cotton shirts for an upgraded take on conventional menswear elegance.’

If you can’t wait until next summer to sample Alba’s sophisticated, effortless look, rest assured that the proposition for the fast-approaching autumn/winter season is comprehensively in the same mould. Have a look at it at: