← DRAG TO MOVE →
Having spent more than a decade as creative director of a leading Italian cashmere brand, Mr Massimo Alba knows something about comfort. He went on to work with one of Europe's best-regarded knitwear companies, before launching his own, eponymous, label six years ago. His collections take everything that Mr Alba learnt while working with cashmere, and deploys that knowledge across an entire range of clothes, from T-shirts to double-breasted jackets. The results are soft, comfortable, rumpled, chic and relaxed. Mr Alba, with his tongue only half in his cheek, describes his creations as the clothes celebrities wear when they're on holiday, away from the cameras.
His designs hit a sweet spot where contemporary forms and beautiful fabrics meet Italian manufacturing. There are long-sleeve polos in linen, crew-neck sweaters in ultra-soft cashmere and tactile jacquard blazers with a beguiling little car print on the lining. All are as comfortable to wear as pyjamas, while being smart enough to wear to lunch in a decent restaurant. We visited Mr Alba in his showroom and studio space in Milan's Navigli district, to understand what inspires him, and to see where he works.
His studio space, which is simultaneously a library, office, living room and art gallery, is filled with such a busy blend of eclectic elements that it's initially overwhelming. However, as the eye adjusts, individual pieces begin to stand out; the most eye-catching is a pair of beaded African chairs, while the mid-century Scandinavian desk and table are more sophisticated, but just as beautiful, and there's also an elegant French chaise longue. The various bits of furniture and works of art come together to produce a coherent and relaxed room, in a way that's reminiscent of how Mr Alba's clothes feel like a series of individual items, rather than a uniform.
Photographs and bird statue
"The photographs of the woods are by Gianni Pezzani, while the bird comes from my collection of old German ceramics, and was made at the end of the 18th century."
Gnome and painting
"'Il Toro' is an oil painting on canvas by Livio Marzot; the gnome holds the keys to open all doors."
"This is protection. I was at Pitti, presenting my first collection and I was given it by a friend. It's a transformer, very beautiful. It's my bodyguard."
"This is something that I found in the south of France four years ago. It was part of the inspiration for my first collection - I was washing the shirts to make them look like the sails."