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Summer Vacation with Tie

You may have noticed a lack of activity in this space. I was on vacation, and I wasn't fooling around. I was determined to do no work and I almost got away with it. It's pretty easy when you're in Italy without your laptop. I did take some work on a little 1GB USB necklace, and I managed to file the one story I had due from an Internet café on an Italian PC. Hey, I can't even use an American PC. Their excellent coffee helped out.

In the spirit of my vacation, I'm not going to report on it. At least one place I went I won't mention because I don't want anybody else to find out about it. I did go to Puglia, the "heel" of Italy, where I had never been, and I had a wonderful time despite the fact that the day I arrived the temperature hit 104°F, two days later it hit 107°, and the day after that 109°. The humidity wasn't too bad, but the locals were bugging. Unlike our President they have no doubt that strange changes are afoot in the ecosystem. And it was quite spectacular driving to Rome on the Autostrada and passing through a forest fire with flames shooting fifty feet in the air. The fire was on the other side of the divided highway, but managed to spread to the side I was on. I flew through the cloud at about 160 kph and when I looked back it was like Sodom back there.

It's great being in a foreign country for a good stretch. It gives you a different fashion perspective. I got a lot of ideas, and now I'm working up some fashion designs of my own, including full-face sunglasses and thong jeans. I did manage to do a little shopping. I went to one of my favorite stores in Rome, Bomba on Via dell'Oca. It's the shop of Cristina Bomba. It opened in 1980, and ever since has offered women's clothes in a most independent spirit, as well as some great things for men. They sell the most beautiful fine-gauge knit ties. Every time I'm in Rome I buy myself a new one. They come in extraordinary color combinations and in what I consider an optimal width: 3 inches.




Please excuse the pictures. This was the beginning of a camera meltdown that concluded with my seven-year-old photographer dropping the instrument on the cobblestones.

I made another discovery in Rome. Walking down Via Coronari, a street of great shops, I saw some interesting ties and vests in a window, peeked in and saw a sartorial vision, Alberto Valentini, peeking back. He was dressed in a brown blanket plaid tweed suit with a matching tie, a big fat tie like those favored by many smart Italian gentlemen. I had never seen a tie made to match a suit, or anyone who looked quite like Mr. Valentini, so I had to go in. I was very taken with the clothes in the shop, expecially the vests and big ties, which could also be had in matching patterns. I wound up walking out with a matching vest and tie, in a Burberry plaid. I thought I'd try the big tie look on for size. It seems like there are times when it works. Of course, for a big tie you need a shirt with a big collar, and so I wound up buying a beautiful white shirt to complete the look.

To make a long story short, someone lifted the package containing the tie, and so now I have a very extravagant vest and a very beautiful white shirt with a big collar. When I replace the tie I'll model the whole nutty look for you. I quite liked Alberto Valentini's tailoring style, too. His suits are nicely proportioned and modern in a delightfully idiosyncratic way. Maybe the jackets weren't just right for me because of their big shoulders. I have big enough shoulders already, but Mr. Valentini is a bespoke tailor who has outfitted a wide variety of customers, from the last Pope to George Bush—the older, well-dressed one. I would highly recommend this delightful little shop (at Via Coronari 17) for anyone visiting Rome.

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