Say It Ain’t So, Massimo

Words by: Michael Snytkin

As the misleading and whimsical title may suggest, this is not a Kiton bashing post. On the contrary, this writer is of the opinion that Kiton makes the best “ready to wear” suits, shirts, and possibly even shoes on the market. The brand’s popularity in North America is largely due to the efforts of its U.S. President of Operations, Massimo Bizzocchi, whose hard work not only made the United States the largest consumer of Kiton in the world, but also helped to put Massimo’s own brand of fine clothing on the fashion map. As a result, in March 2005, Massimo Bizzocchi opened his first stateside clothing store in New York’s meatpacking district.

Massimo Bizzocchi’s best known product are his ties. The silk is luxurious to rival Stefano Ricci, the construction is on par with Brioni, and patterns, while on a conservative side, are as interesting as anything made by Nicky or Valentino. Massimo did not stop there, however, as he took the construction of his ties to a whole new level by creating a “spine” stitching system to eliminate the wrinkling problem. By pulling a special string in the “spine”, the fabric wrinkles and then relaxes the tension for a permanent flat look. In addition to ties, Massimo Bizzocchi brand makes suits, jackets and shirts, just to name a few. Extremely satisfied with my Bizzocchi ties, I decided to give his shirt a try. Sadly, it is not as nice as I had imagined.

I bought my Massimo Bizzocchi shirt online at very deep discount – over 80% off the original price of $275 dollars. What appealed to me, other than the price, were the colors: subtle yet vibrant white, orange, blue and light blue stripes (as seen in the picture). After receiving and trying on the shirt, I am happy with my purchase. The shirt, while nice, however, is not on par with the higher end brands like Kiton, Borrelli, or Cesare Attolini. It fairs well with the middle of the road Italian shirt makers like Lorenzini and Zegna.

Those looking for handwork found on Kiton shirts will be disappointed – there is none to be found here, as the shirt is completely machine made. The shirt, however, has sturdy seashell buttons, nice fabric, and a handsome design. It fits fairly roomy, although not as boxy as Zegna. For size 16/41, it has a 48 inch chest, is 20 inches from shoulder to shoulder, and is about 33 inches long. And, while currently not a perfect fit, with about $20 worth of alterations (sides taken in by half an inch), it will fit well.

Massimo’s press release states that the “shirts are cut shorter and tails are not extended so they can be worn as dress or sportswear.” I, however, can’t imagine wearing my Massimo Bizzocchi shirt with a tie, as it is strictly a casual shirt due to its color combination. At around $80, Massimo Bizzocchi shirts are a good deal. Anything higher, and there are better alternatives to be found. His ties, however, are pretty awesome.