If you recognize these hands or you are a regular attendee of Pitti Uomo, you obviously know who we are talking about. A morning spent with legendary fashionisto and haberdasher Lino Ieluzzi, is a morning very well spent and quite an experience. Lino is not only a man that has been setting fashion trends around the streets of Milano for decades, but his unique style and personality has also captivated many followers around the globe and especially in places like Japan. Considered by many publications as one of the fifty most elegant men in the planet, Lino is easily recognizable by his double-breasted suits, the light blue color palette he usually chooses and his iconic lucky 7 embroidered ties. To us, Lino is the epitome of a true watchlifestyler with an unlimited love for watches as you can see by the picture opening this post. While most people recognize Lino by his jackets, ties or even his double monk-strap bi-color shoes, we recognize him by what's on his wrist. As the true watchlifestyler that he is, Lino typically wears a Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 5711 or a Nautilus ref. 5712G and occasionally his Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Shaquille O'Neal Limited Edition ref. 26133ST amongst other many watches he owns from Patek and AP.
Getting to Lino's Al Bazar boutique from the 'Duomo di Milano' is quite easy but tricky once you've exited the Metro station. Hop on the Metropolitana Linea 1 —red line— and get off at the Conciliazione stop. Once there, Al Bazar is located within a 10-minute walk if you know where you're going. One tip we can give you, is to walk west and then get to Via Giovanni Rasori.
Once you make a right turn onto Via Antonio Scarpa, you'll see Al Bazar's green awnings waving at you at the number 9 on the street. As soon as you walk into this true haberdasher, be prepared to go on a shopping spree and one of the best shopping experiences of your life. Not to mention that Lino likes watches as much as we do, and that is a stretch.
As soon as you walk into Al Bazar Milano and you're greeted by Gianpaolo Alliata —sales manager and close friend to Lino— sporting his vintage 'Big Block' Tudor Chronograph ref. 79180, every corner of the store and every display will catch your attention. Whether it's the wall behind the checkout counter with a collage of business cards —ours is now part of it— and alligator belts, or the IWC clock at the back of the store or maybe just the pictures of Lino on the wall, there's something very special on every corner and every nook in this boutique. Even the basketball shaped box for his Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Shaquille O'Neal Limited Edition ref. 26133ST is laying somewhere around the shop. For over forty five years, Al Bazar Milano has been a must stop for men that appreciate Italian style, Milanese tailors and that want to feel special when shopping. Aside from the immaculate attention to detail on how clothing is organized and the ultra-friendly welcoming attitude here, without a doubt, this is the most unique and most colorful haberdasher we've ever been to anywhere outside of London.
Lino Ieluzzi is also a man of bright colors and you will never find a black sportscoat or black suit in his collection. His sportscoats, sweaters and ties are all colorful and very striking. Lino's favorite color is blue and he prides himself in carrying all sorts of accessories in blue, including the blue dials on most of his watches. Lino's love for watches has taken him as far as creating a very exclusive limited line of straps for the Millenary collection at the Audemars Piguet Ginza boutique a while back. Among some of the candid pictures of Lino laying around the store, there's one that caught our eye, and is the one of him at 15 years of age as he had just entered the fashion world.
After spending some time talking to Gianpaolo, Lino finally showed up to greet us. We were finally in the presence of the man, the myth, the legend: Lino Ieluzzi. Dressed impeccably, sporting a classic double-breasted light blue sportscoat and a beautiful navy blue lucky 7 embroidered tie, Lino reached out to shake our hand unveiling the Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 5711 on his wrist. After we started talking about his love for all things blue, he then pulled out his Moscot glasses, S.T. Dupont lighter and his Montegrappa pen, to reassure us how much he likes blue.
As we were about to take a full shot of him, he kindly asked us to wait. After quickly heading to the back, Lino came back holding a second Patek Philippe, this time a ref. 5712G in white gold. Lino just wanted to pose with two of his favorite watches for our picture. In the true style of a watchlifestyler, he then took off his Nautilus ref. 5711 and decided to hold both watches for the shot without us even asking him. Like a kid in a candy store, his smile while holding his precious Pateks, is just priceless.
As we walked around the boutique talking about watches, and hearing stories like the one about him trading one of his vintage Pateks for a Porsche many moons ago —and now regretting it considering how some of the vintage Patek Philippe timepieces are now selling for thousands if not millions—, he showed us his suits, sportscoats and ties.
For those of you wondering, why there's a number 7 on his ties, well, that is because five or six years ago what started as a joke in preparation for one of Lino's birthdays on October 7th, ended up becoming a very clever design idea that would mark Lino Ieluzzi's Al Bazar ties forever. These ties that are elegant but casual at the same time, are all made from spare fabric used in the suits or shirts he creates, and all of them are really nice.
Pictured below, is one of Lino's favorite sportscoats in light blue corduroy. As you can see, the attention to detail on his suits and sportscoats priced at around €2'000 Euro is spectacular. The wide lapels —but not as wide as on the Neapolitan tailoring style—, the stitching, the liners and buttons are just some of the elements that distinguish the 'Sartoria Milanese' —Milanese tailoring.
Something else you will find at this shop and that is rarely seen outside of London, are the Cutaway and English Spread collar shirts. Now, one thing were Lino does fall short at his boutique, is in the range of sizes he carries for his amazing line of 'scarpe' —shoes. As we were prepared to drop €960 Euro for two pairs of shoes —a pair of the most beautiful bi-color monk-strap fringe shoes and a pair of dark blue double monk-strap shoes— we were sadly informed by Gianpaolo that they only carry shoes in a size up to 11.5 US.
Now, how is that possible? Gianpaolo and Lino, you need to carry a few pairs in bigger sizes for some of us. Well, at least a close friend and avid reader of our blog was pleased to see us return from Milan with a pair of shoes and a tie for him.
As we continued to check the boutique, Al Bazar's line of leather gloves caught our eye. After trying on a few of them, the corner of our eye caught an 18K gold Rolex Datejust on the wrist of another employee at the boutique, ultimately as the crazy watch guys we are, we instead focused our attention on the watch. After snapping a shot of the beautiful black dial watch equipped with a gorgeous brown alligator strap, Lino headed to the back to bring a special Patek Philippe 175th anniversary display which features almost every iconic watch that has been released by Patek either in the occasion of one of their anniversaries or marking a milestone.
As you can see, Lino's love for Patek Philippe makes him one of the wildest patekaholics we've ever met. In his own words about Patek he said: "I love Patek and I only buy Patek now. When you buy Patek, you don't lose any money. If you have to sell down the road, it is very likely that you'll profit or at least get your money back without any loses".
You are so right 'caro amico'.
As our time at Al Bazar in Milano finally came to an end, and after some serious shopping, Lino surprised us with a beautiful gift. He proceeded to put a super cool skull navy blue bracelet on our wrist. After we took the customary wrist shot with our new friend —the legend Lino Ieluzzi—, we said goodbye to all of our new friends at the shop and refreshed our breathe with one of the handmade mints located by the door as we left.
As we left this amazing haberdasher in Milan, we looked back at the entrance of the boutique and waved one last time at watchlifestyler Lino Ieluzzi as he was smoking a cigarette outside his boutique with his iconic Patek Nautilus on the wrist. Lino and Gianpaolo 'è stato un piacere conoscerti e grazie mille per un grande mattina al suo negozio' —it was a pleasure meeting you and thank you for a great morning at your shop.
For more info on Al Bazar and Lino Ieluzzi click here.