Italian Suits That Transform

Lorenzo Bringheli

Uman suits by Umberto Angeloni are trying to alter the shape of mankind.

In today’s menswear market, no one needs another marketing pitch or fashion myth. Before he acquires something new, a man needs to feel inspired. Enter Umberto Angeloni, 58, the former CEO of Brioni and currently a partner of the Caruso tailoring firm near Parma, Italy. Angeloni is now the architect (and perhaps the best interpreter) of Uman, a collection consisting of one men’s suit and three jackets that he believes will reshape the long-outdated men’s silhouette. In the “concept room” of Angeloni’s Milan studio, the first thing one sees is a life-sized, undressed mannequin. It’s a crystal-clear, if imposing, statement of intent. For Angeloni, Uman is a matter of posture and proportions. “Men’s clothing,” he says, “is based on a set of generic measurements of World War II conscripts.” The measurements for the Uman silhouette were tailored through a study of 3,500 men commissioned from Alvanon, the largest database of consumers’ body measurements in the world. Through those facts and figures, Angeloni identified the profile of the new Uman man.

Who is he? “A contemporary European of a certain class and active lifestyle,” says Angeloni. “He moves between London, Milan and Paris; he’s affluent but careful and aware of quality and cost. He keeps a low profile, is original but not flamboyant, and has his hobbies. He does not belong to a particular group but to a global community.” It isn’t difficult to see that this man bears a striking similarity to the elegant Angeloni himself.

Philosophy aside, there are practical elements that define the Uman difference. Traditional sizing is done away with: Jackets do not come in 42 long or 38 regular but in sizes 1 to 8. Each is tailored according to specific data and with careful attention to each measurement: shoulders, torso, back, seat, sleeve length. Every season one silhouette is proposed in the form of a two- or three-piece suit in a large selection of materials. It is presented alongside three “pleasure” jackets inspired by “the ever-present passions of the people who wear them.” The first season brought the blue stretch-cotton Fairway, inspired by golfers; the light-blue linen Cuba Libre was an interpretation of the tropical guayabera. This spring the collection includes a double-breasted Mariner jacket; the silk shirt–like Monoi jacket, adorned with bread-tree flowers; and the hunteresque, linen-and-cotton Mogambo, inspired by the one Clark Gable wore in the 1953 film of the same name. Also, everything is blue. “It is European, romantic and intellectual,” says Angeloni. “It is the color of modern art.”

Each Uman suit comes with The Lexicon, a booklet written by Angeloni that features quotes from Plato. Those who purchase a jacket will also receive one of the house’s collectible books from a series titled “Uman—The Essays,” which were edited by cult publisher Skira and explore the inspiration behind the design of the piece. Say what you will about Angeloni’s lofty ambitions, but within an hour of the launch at Barneys, two men walked out of the store with Uman suits—no tailoring required.

Uman suits start at $2,700 and jackets at $2,095. Angeloni wears the company’s signature three-piece suit ($3,000). Uman is available at Barneys New York, barneys.com. For more information, contact Uman at uman@mclink.it.