Italy 2011 – Part 1

Pitti Uomo 2011 Trip

For the first time, my wife Bianca and I traveled to Italy to attend the semi-annual Italian menswear event, Pitti Uomo — the pinnacle of Made-in-Italy atrisanship. Unless you are in the menswear industry, you have probably never heard of this show. However, for the sartorically-inclined, this is a pilgrimage worth making, as do about 30,000 people from around the world. In January and June of ever year, some of the most fashionable dandies converge on Florence to see what the best Italian artisans have developed for the following season.

Many of my friends in the business had been telling me the importance of attending this event for quite some time. However, as many of you may understand, a trip to Italy is not cheap, especially with the state of the dollar. Originally scheduled for January 2012, I decided better sooner than later while hearing Ed Shaikh from Hadleigh’s Bespoke and William Kissel from Robb Report romance their past trips.

As I am beginning to research some new “special projects” (more to come later) and feeling the need to get out of Texas for a little inspiration, why not. My wife quickly volunteered (or insisted) that she accompany me as an assistant. Of course, I obliged. With that, we were off to Milan, Florence, and Rome with side-trips to Como and Tuscany.

The purpose of the trip was to research new product for The Hanger Project and for some new “special projects” in the works for the balance of 2011 and 2012. If you are already a customer, you will be hearing more about these projects in the near future.

A picture of some of G. Lorenzi’s handmade accessories for men through their shop window on via Montenapoleone.

Milan, the fashion capital of Italy and one of its largest cities, seemed like a great place to begin our Italian journey. We knew in advanced that the weather would not be good, so I used this as an excuse to order a pair of ultra-comfortable and water-resistant chukka boots from my good friend Ron at the Rider Boots Company (similar to these, but different color). Armed with these incredible boots and an umbrella, we hit the via Montenapoleone in search for some of Milan’s incredible boutiques (despite the rain).

Or first stop was G. Lorenzi. What began in 1929 as a cutlery shop, it eventually evolved, at the demands of clients, to include shave and smoking accessories. Now, one can find a collection of literally thousands of accessories for men handcrafted by the firm. The second floor houses one of the most extensive collection of shaving tools and accessories probably ever compiled, spanning almost two hundred years. The collection counts almost 4,000 safety razors, alone! You must ask to view this collection.

Gianni Agnelli and Bianca Brandolini, two huge Italian socialites, joined us for lunch one table behind us.

Another Milan landmark that was on our list was 10 Corso Como. Founded in 1990 by the former editor of Vogue Italy, 10 Corso Como’s store and cafe has become an institution frequented by Milan’s fashion elite. If you take a close look at this picture of me and Bianca, you’ll see that socialites Lapo Elkann, grandson of Fiat founder Gianni Agnelli, and his girlfriend Bianca Brandolini. They declined to join us for lunch.

Milan is a beautiful city and, honestly, was our favorite. We enjoyed that the city was big enough to not be dominated by tourists yet still retained a distinctly Italian feel. The people watching was incredible and the piazzas always filled more with local Milanese than tourists with cameras.


Piazza Duomo at night.The friendly bar hands at the Gia Como restaurant overlooking the Duomo.

One of the many beauties of Milan is the fact that Lake Como is a short 45 minute train ride from the city (provided that you are able to find the train schedule — I highly recommend printing out a schedule before arriving at the train station; the lines are terrible). We were able to stay at a charming hotel right next door to Villa d’Este, one of the premier properties on the lake and host to the annual Concorso d’Eleganza classic car show. Although we abstained from the $1,000-a-night rooms, we did certainly enjoy their bar during the evening. To the right is a picture of us with a guest’s Ferrari. He declined my offer to take his photography but instead kindly offered to take a picture of us; sadly, his offer did not include the keys, but we nonetheless graciously accepted.


We’re going to Italy!

Twice a year, the world converges on Florence, Italy, for Pitti Uomo, Italy’s men’s trade show. My wife Bianca and I will be attending this event for our first time looking for new products to feature on The Hanger Project. We will be arriving in Milan, then going to Florence for Pitti, before continuing to Rome, where we will depart.

If you have any favorite Italian stores or secretes from your travels, please do share them with us. You will be able to follow our sartorial journey through this blog, as I will be posting frequent updates of what we see.

Below are some of the suggested stores that others have already suggested we visit. If you have any to add, please do share by emailing me at kirbya (at)


Florence Milan Rome
Farmacia di Santa Maria Novella
Ferragamo museum
S. Spirito
Gallery Art Hotel
The Four Seasons
Bulgari Hotel
Principe for drinks
via Manzoni, della Spiga, Montenapoleone
La Brera
Loro Piana
Luxottica eyewear
G. Lorenzi
10 Corso Como
De Padova
Nilufar Gallery
Rossana Orlandi
Sadly don’t have very many good suggestions for Rome at the moment.

Help support the trip. Buy some hangers! 😉

Garment Care Hangers

A Detailed Guide to Sizing Your Suit Hangers

A Detailed Guide to Sizing Your Suit Hangers

The width of your hanger is the most overlooked but crucial detail to taking care of your suit jackets. One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to your clothing, and the same should be true when it comes to your wooden hangers. Considering garments inevitably spend more time in the closet than on your shoulders, it is easy to understand why a proper suit or jacket hanger is so important.


THE GUY IN THE NEXT OFFICE wears a size 36S suit, while you wear a 42R, so why do you use the same sized hangers? The Hanger Project recognizes that a premium suit deserves a premium suit hanger. Founded in 2006 by Kirby Allison, this Dallas-based company offers three different width options, each with 2.5-inch shoulder flares that ensure the jacket is fully filled out on each end.

Well Hung
Playboy Fashion Alert


The sizing principle for suits and jacket hangers is simple: the hanger should extend all the way to–but not beyond–the point where the shoulder meets the sleeve (the jacket’s sleeve head). The most accurate method of sizing your hanger is to measure directly across the back (the point-to-point measurement). However, we have developed a sizing approximation using standard U.S. jacket sizes. See the below illustration on sizing the perfect Suit Hanger.



The most important consideration when choosing the size of your Jacket Hanger is that it is better for it to be too small, than too larger. If the hanger extends beyond the sleeve head, it can disrupt the drape of the sleeve. Even if your luxury suit hanger is 1/2″ to 3/4″ short on each side, the 2.5″ shoulder flares combined with the full contour will still provide better support than your jackets ever dreamed.

Our Premium Suit Hangers come in four widths: 15.5″, 17.0″, 18.5″, and 20.0″. Our 20.0″ Premium Suit Hanger is an exceptionally large suit hanger perfect for professional athletes and other gentlemen with particularly broad shoulders.

Garment Care Hangers

Avoid the Winter Blues with Proper Garment Storage

Spring is here and summer is upon us. That means that it
is time to rotate out your winter wardrobe and into
storage. Finely-tailored garments are especially
vulnerable during summer storage. Left to hang for long
periods without being worn, often in the corners of
closets or in distant storage closets, suits and winter
coats are easy prey for moths, which are most active
during the summer, and can accumulate embedded dust.

These threats to your expensive garments are easily avoided
with proper preparation and storage. Follow these easy

1. Use a Garment Brush. Before storing garments,
brush out any dust or dirt that may have accumulated during
the previous wearing season. We recommend the use of a

natural-bristle garment brush
using any type of masking-tape dust rollers, which can leave
an adhesive residue on fabrics (which, ironically, attracts

2. Use a Premium Hanger. Garments live and die by
hangers, and this could not be any more true during storage.
A properly-sized hanger (we now have four sizes) is
essential to protecting shoulder construction and preventing
collars from stretching — both which control drape. And for
bonus, our the felted trouser bar used on our

Luxury Suit Hangers
prevent the creasing caused by
normal locking-bar hangers.

3. Store in a Garment Bag. Storing your suits and
jackets in a garment bag will protect them from moths, dust,
and other critters. Our

Luxury Garment Bags
(now available in a 60″ length for
overcoats) is constructed from a 10 oz cotton twill and
utilizes a 4-inch fused gusset to prevent the bag from
collapsing on the garment.

Following these three simple tenets can save you the
misery of discovering that your favorite winter garments
were ruined during summer storage. If you have any
questions about our garment storage recommendations,
please feel free to reach out to Kirby directly at
. He is always happy to
answer your questions!

Shoe Care Shoe Polishes Shoe Shine Tutorials

Saphir Shoe Polish – Everybody Loves a Good Shoeshine

Everybody loves a good shoeshine, especially the guys over at
Esquire Magazine. This
past week, Rickey Thornton (you’ll remember him from our first “exhibition” post
on the Saphir
luxury shoe polishes
) and I headed to New York to preach a little shoe love.
Rickey is probably the best shoe guy I have come across and the Saphir shoe
polishes are unquestionably the best shoe polishes in the world. Together, who
could resist an offer for some shoe love?

Our hope was certainly not the editors of any magazines. Nick Sullivan, fashion editor of Esquire Magazine and an
all-around incredible man, was one of the first in New York to jump at the
opportunity to have us drop by their offices and demonstrate the magic of the
Saphir shoe polishes.
If I thought that my small scuff was a test for the Saphir polishes, Nick had
something altogether different in store for us. You see, he had just received a
pair of Church’s shoes back from the shoe repair store around the corner from
the Hearst offices. These guys are not B. Nelson’s Shoes (best shoe repair in
the city), and subsequently returned his shoes in a condition that would have
had most men just throw them in the garbage. However, luckily for us, Nick held
onto them out of nostalgia.

Enter me, Rickey, and the
Saphir Shoe Polishes.
Nick, not quite knowing what to make of our “absolutely the best” claims,
decided to take some pictures of his shoes before and after Rickey put the
Saphir MDO polishes to the test.

Check out how the Saphir Polishes performed below. Needless to say, we were at the Esquire offices for quite some time spreading our love for these incredible shoe polishes from France.

Garment Care Hangers

Custom Finished Wooden Hangers

Here at Kirby Allison’s Hanger Project, we take great pride in providing the
well-dressed with the best possible hangers available anywhere. Not just any
ordinary hanger, but luxury wooden hangers that protect and extend
the life of wardrobes. Remember, our clothes do spend more time in our closets
than on our shoulders, so if we want to take care of them, we have to take care
of them in the closet.

One of the ways that we provide the most functional hangers of anywhere in
the world is by focusing on providing the greatest variety of functional
profiles anywhere instead of finishes. Our KAHP brand finish is cross between a
beautiful cherry wood and walnut with brass hardware.

All hangers in the KAHP brand finish are available in stock and for immediate
shipment. However, sometimes clients come to us with special concerns for custom
finish. We are able to custom-manufacture any hanger in any finish with a proper
custom-production lead time. Below are some thumbnails of some of the
custom-production projects we have done for our clients. If you are interested
in custom production wooden hangers, please contact Kirby Allison directly at

Garment Care Hangers News Uncategorized

First Reviews of Runway Collection

Now that our Runway Collection of luxury women’s hangers have made it to
a few early-adopting clients, I’m excited to begin reporting some of the
feedback we have received. One of our best customers of our men’s hangers
wrote the following:

To say that they are beautiful “hangers” is to understate the significance
of your accomplishment. They are in fact a work of art –functionally and
esthetically! My wife will be stunned when she opens the box on Christmas
Day! Thank you.

Other customers have reported that they love the visual cohesiveness of the
entire collection. I emphasize collection because the seven
different hangers that compromise the Runway Collection were designed all
together as one, cohesive set of hangers. When one outfits their entire closet,
a level of visual beauty is achieved unlike never before. As soon as I have my
first closet picture, I’ll be sure to share it!

Learn more about the Runway Collection of luxury women’s hangers here.

News Shoe Care Shoe Polishes

Here in New York Promoting Saphir Luxury Shoe Polish

After a few months of incredibly-strong sales of our
luxury shoe polishes by
, I decided to take a trip up to New York to introduce it to some
editors of Men’s magazines. And I thought what better way than by flying the
best shoe guy up there with me (Rickey Thornton,

Morning Glory Shoe Service
) to perform spectacular shines with it.

You may ask how things went — well, incredibly well. The editors at all of
the magazines enjoyed greatly their shoe love. What I can report is that
although there are more shoe shine stands in New York than any place I have ever
seen, they are not nearly utilized enough because some shoes were in desperate
need of some care.

Luckily, it was the perfect job for
Saphir Renovateur.
If you have only one shoe care item, this is the one to have. Most importantly,
it restores the vital moisture to leather, preventing it from drying and,
eventually, cracking, which is about the worst damage that can occur to a pair
of shoes. What makes this product even better is that it can be used on any pair
of shoes, regardless of finish, and can achieve quite a nice shine.
Hopefully you’ll be reading more about The Hanger Project soon in your
favorite magazine!

Also, special thanks to Nick at B.
Nelson’s Shoes
for lending me his portable shoe shine stand.

Bespoke Lifestyle

Renowned Bespoke Tailoring House English Cut Chooses Hanger Project as their Exclusive Provider of Luxury Garment Hangers

Thomas Mahon at English Cut is perhaps the most well-known bespoke
tailor in the world. His blog, English Cut, was the first of its kind to open the private world of bespoke British clothing to the
sartorially-curious and receives thousands of visits daily. English Cut brings forth for its readers the distinctions that define
bespoke tailoring. Kirby Allison’s Hanger Project is proud to have been selected by Tom as his exclusive provider of Luxury Garment
Hangers for all bespoke suit deliveries.
Click the below logo to visit English Cut and learn more
about the world of Savile Row Bespoke Tailoring.

English Cut - Bespoke Savile Row Tailors

Shoe Care Shoe Polishes

Saphir Luxury Shoe Polish – Polishing Notes

After receiving my samples of the full line of

Saphir Médaille d’Or luxury shoe polishes
, I was very excited to actually
see how they perform. Saphir’s accolades place the MDO collection as the best
available anywhere, but how do they actually perform on the track? No better
person to test than the best “shoe guy” I know: Rickey Thornton at Morning Glory
Shoe Shines.

I am quite proud to know Rickey. I “spotted” him back at my FTI days working
in the Trammel Crow Building. Having long been a shoe aficionado, I know a good
shine when I see one. That is why the first time Rickey shined my shoes was the
last time I used someone new. He is nothing short of incredible and has taken
care of all of my shoes ever since. I regularly take him my shoes by the
suitcase. His other clients probably think I am crazy, but they probably have no
idea the talent they have before him (my assessment is that he is regularly
over-qualified to shine the majority of the shoes he works on).

Rickey is now across the street, having upgraded his booth, at the

JPMorgan Chase Building
in downtown Dallas, should anyone be in the
neighborhood. He is right next to the Starbucks.

So, I was excited to have him try out the new Saphir MDO Polishes. Just my
luck, while leaving my house, I scuffed one of my favorite pairs of Grenson
loafers on my way out (see below). Just the challenge we needed for this

My Grenson’s needed a good polish and, because of their new scuff, needed it
badly. We decided to start with the

Saphir Pommadier cream shoe polish
, becuase it has the highest concentration of
pigment, then use
Saphir Renovateur
to add some additional nourishment for the leather, and
then finish up with the
Saphir Pâte de Luxe
Wax Polish
for a nice high-gloss shine.

Coat #1 – Saphir Pommadier Cream Polish

Rickey started with the Saphir Pommadier Cream Polish to help restore the
pigment saturation of my out-of-shape shoes. In addition the “test scuff” with
which I had just previously gifted the shoes, these needed work everywhere. We
started out by applying the Pommadier Cream Polish directly onto the scuffs and
rubbing it into the leather. Then, we followed-up by applying it to the entire
shoe. The cream goes on very nicely and doesn’t require a much. The
higher-concentration of pigment was immediately noticeable to Rickey.

Coat #2 – Saphir Renovateur Cleaner and Conditioner

There are many different uses for the Reovateur, all of which we cannot get
into here. Perhaps for a later post. This product is quite unique — I have
never seen a product quite like it before. The secret is in its base ingredient
– Mink Oil. Leather dries out over time, and this is he ideal product for
restoring leather’s proper moisture. In this, it is more a conditioner than a
cleaner in the proper sense that we use the word.

Rickey applied Renovateur between the Cream and Wax polishes for an added bit
of nourishment that these shoes unquestionably needed.

Coat # 3 – Saphir Pâte de Luxe Wax Shoe Polish vs. Lincoln Polish

Right when you open the Saphir Pâte de Luxe Wax Polish you notice the
attention to detail. Every tin comes with a aluminum foil seal at the top.
details like this I love. Then the next thing you notice is the aroma — that of
pine trees. The product just smells exceptionally, and this is because of the
all-natural turpentine base that comes from pine trees.

Second, you can immediately see how lighter and “greasier” the Saphir MDO wax
is vs. an ordinary wax polish due to the higher concentration of natural oils.
Just look at the difference in sheen between the two (bottom left). This quality
is even more evident when you actually spread the polish on your shoes — it
spreads like butter on a hot pan. Beautifully. It doesn’t take much of the

Third, just look at the higher concentration of pigments (bottom right). Wax
polishes do not have the same concentration of pigment than cream shoe polishes,
but the Saphir MDO Pâte de Luxe has a substantial concentration. So, not only
can it create an incredible mirror-polish, but it does a better job of
revitalizing the color saturation of the leather.

Difference in Texture of Saphir’s Wax Polish vs.

Look at the difference in pigment concentration
between Saphir’s Wax Polish vs. Lincoln’s.

Polishing Notes – The Result

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. See below.

All of the scuff marks have all but completely disappeared and the
mirror-shine is incredible. Hard to believe that they are even the same shoes!

But don’t take my word for it! Try

Saphir’s Luxury Shoe Care Products
for yourself!