Italian Alessandro Cassano, 27, wearing a green Jean Paul Gaultier parka, Dolce Gabbana multi zip combat jeans from 2003, Ralph Lauren blouse, and a Marithe Francois Girbaud jacket

Maximalist Menswear – Designer Finds Thrifted in Rome

Italian Alessandro Cassano, 27, is a maximalist who can layer five tops and two pants in the same outfit. All secondhand, of course.

  • Liisa Jokinen

  • Nov 28, 2023

“Five years ago I started working in a vintage shop. It was then that I fell in love with old clothing. I no longer bought anything that wasn't secondhand and started collecting iconic fashion pieces.

Most of my vintage items are bought at flea markets and vintage shops in Rome. The best neighborhoods to shop vintage here are Monti and the area surrounding Via del Governo Vecchio. I also suggest everyone visit our largest and best-stocked flea market, Porta Portese.

I developed my maximalist style as a way to express myself in deliberate opposition to the prevailing minimalist trends of today.

Thanks to vintage, I can mix different styles without worrying about genre standards, for example. I am inspired by Japanese streetwear and hippie style – it is fun and at the same time committed to social issues.

Currently, I’m focused on collecting Roberto Cavalli, Dolce & Gabbana, and Marithe + Francois Girbaud. In the future I am planning to incorporate some items from Diesel and Moschino as well. My list is constantly updating.

Armani and Girbaud express my minimalist side. I appreciate their attention to detail in shapes and cuts, always adding a touch of elegance to any outfit.

The first time I saw a Roberto Cavalli piece it was love at first sight. His colorful patterns and early 2000s styles immediately impressed me. In this look I’m wearing a Just Cavalli mesh shirt, an early 2000s double-breasted Just Cavalli jacket in herringbone fabric with denim inserts on the front and back pockets.

At the bottom, I’m wearing two pairs of trousers. The bottom one are a 90s Roberto Cavalli, while the top shorts are Marithe Francois Girbaud. My glasses are Dior Gaucho by Galliano from the early 2000s, and for rings I’m wearing an Indian silver hand kisser, some Dolce & Gabbana rings and a blue Murano glass. Two necklaces, one in hammered silver and another Dolce & Gabbana.

In this look, the main theme is the floral motifs on each garment, from the 90s Roberto Cavalli trousers to the Gianni Versace silk shirt, which are two of the first vintage garments that I included in my collection. The kimono in red silk and the white shirt with a Victorian style lace collar are the latest things I have bought.

Regardless of the brand, I like to mix vintage and secondhand items in order to give a distinctive style to my outfits.

As accessories I wear a Roberto Cavalli handbag that I tied to my belt, two pearl necklaces around my neck, one woven on a metal mesh bought at a vintage shop, the other one from a flea market. For glasses, I wear vintage Vogues.

I like to stand out with very colorful outfits. Here I’m wearing two reworked kimonos – the first red one has an elastic band added to the sleeves while the second one has been cut at the waist. Under the kimonos I’m wearing a Dsquared denim jacket with a traditional tattoo print on the sleeves.

As trousers I’m wearing Just Cavalli. They have a snakeskin-themed animal print but with very bright and contrasting colors such as light blue and red. The dyeing of the fabric makes it very shiny, adding a touch of glam.

I find it very difficult to find shoes that adapt well to my outfits. When I found these Crocs in a small market I was a little doubtful at first, but for the comfort and the chunky form they have become indispensable to me. The hat is from Valentino Rossi Merchandise while the glasses are Oakley minute 2.0 from 2001. The red Polo Sport bag is a gift.

I love layering and decontextualizing clothes like in this outfit where I layered a multi pocket technical military vest over a tulle baby doll dress, kimono, and a patterned Cavalli mesh shirt. The jeans are 90s Cavalli.

I love the transparency and the volume of this outfit, and how the two very colorful Roberto Cavalli pieces contrast with the completely black garments. I think this makes the look extravagant but at the same time elegant.

This colorful and fun outfit is made up of a Made in Italy shirt with a double collar from the 80s, a t-shirt and trousers by Just Cavalli with the same pattern but in a different colorway, and a beige Armani jeans vest on top.

The jacket is a kimono that I reworked and padded. You can also wear it on the purple side on top, but I preferred the black side to tone down the eccentric play of colors.

The handbag is a stuffed animal with a zip that I found at a stall. Since then I’ve been looking for stuffed animal toys that I can use as a bag because I think it adds a really nice touch to the outfits that I usually wear. The glasses are Oakleys from the mid-2000s, a cycling model with blue and yellow polarized lenses.

I am a very versatile person and I really like wearing technical clothing, too, like this green Jean-Paul Gaultier bondage parka, a parachuting model with special details on the pockets. The trousers are a Dolce Gabbana multi zip combat model from 2003. They also have various inserts like the zips and buckles at ankles and knee patches.

There is always a y2k influence in my outfits, and that’s why I am a big fan of early 2000s Dolce & Gabbana, one of the iconic Italian brands of that time.

Underneath I’m wearing a Ralph Lauren shirt with a puffed neck and a Marithe Francois Girbaud jacket, with a corset fastening and gray tulle inserts. The glasses are Dolce & Gabbana and the hat is Armani Jeans.

In the few years since I started collecting, I have noticed a strong change in people’s perception of secondhand and vintage.

If before there was mistrust, secondhand is now starting to take hold among all age groups.

I hope this brings a change in aesthetics and allows everyone to be able to express themselves freely, outside the defined minimalist canons that we find in today’s society.”

Follow Alessandro on Instagram @hippiebeast_