My Style: Alessandro Calascibetta

Portrait of Fashion director Alessandro Calascibetta

Photo: Gianluca Fontana — Courtesy of Alessandro Calascibetta

What are the rules in the way you dress?

I learnt how to dress only in recent years, thanks to my present partner’s suggestions. For example, he suggested that I should not wear black shoes with a camel coat, and he managed to convince me not to wear black any longer. Before that, I did not even realise. I just did not care, and I had a quite messy and discontinuous way of dressing. I know it might sound weird because of my job, but that’s the way it is. Fashion itself does not really touch me; to me, fashion is just a tool to create an image. I look at collections and think about the set and the shooting I will be able to build with those garments. My work is always linked to a context that comes from the artistic intuition I’ve developed through many years of experience. I rarely appoint pure fashion shootings, and today I am further from fashion magazine logic than ever. The readers of the online and print magazines I work for are not addicted to fashion, nor am I anyhow: I catch their attention by the means of a plot, as if we were on a movie set.

Please describe your style in three words.

I am unable to describe myself; I’d rather have other people do it for me.

What is the biggest mistake one can make when getting dressed?

Not to respect your shapes and proportions: we’d better think about that whenever choosing an item or accessories. I sometimes happen to see very tall men who wear a short jacket and vice versa. Or you see large trousers on small men, wholly covering their shoes so that their feet look so tiny.

Do you believe in role models?

No, I don’t.

What are your favourite fabrics?

Wool, cotton, and canvas. On the opposite, I do not like ‘cold’ fabrics or acrylics like nylon.

Are there any style combinations that you object to?

I can't stand total looks when they are too eye-catching: it’s vulgar.

Which city has the best-dressed men?

Paris.

Would you say that you are conservative or bold?

I am very classic, almost boring.

Celebrities and style...

They rarely get together! Especially Italians, they have no sense of the image at all. Americans are much better in this sense.

Name one garment/accessory that you can never have enough of?

Ties, shoes, and socks.

A man should always look like...

A man should NEVER look like — he should only appear how he is.

Who taught you what you know about style?

As I said before, my present partner.

How do you select your clothing every morning?

It’s up to my mood, but when I am down, I try even harder to be elegant.

What is your biggest regret?

The fact that I used drugs in the past; I thought it might have helped with some hectic work schedules and that I’d be… "smarter." Bullshit. You feel like Superman, while in fact you’re just so stupid.

The three essential things a man should know about style are...

First, when people stare at you on the street, don’t be so sure that it is because they admire the way you look; take a glance in the mirror and double-check if there is something wrong. Second, never mix two patterns. A Prince of Wales blazer with chalks tripe trousers looks so ugly. And lastly, blue with black shoes? No way.

Do you have any shopping rituals?

I just enter stores knowing what I am looking for. I rarely change my mind.

We will never see you wearing...

A nylon padded jacket — never again.

The most stylish person you have ever met...

That’s me. :)

What is the first thing you notice on a man?

His shoes.

The one image that defined your approach to style...

A Paolo Roversi campaign for Valentino in the 90s: David Boals modeled it, and he wore a long velvet coat. I love under-the-knees coats so much, and I am glad they made a comeback.

Which new designers do you follow and why?

Andrea Incontri, who marries fashion with tradition. Fiona Cibani and Ian Hylton of Ports 1961: despite their modern eye, they pay attention to sartorial traditions. Sergio Colantuoni who designs great collections for Caruso with the right amount of taste and refinement — genius. Antonio Romano and Francesco Alagna of Comeforbreakfast: their shapes are fluid, and they remind me of the best of the 80s (a decade we’d better forget for many other style details). Last but not least, Chiuri and Piccioli. They are not new, but they created a new proposition for Valentino’s image. They created an image of masculine elegance built on the very basic idea of luxury.

The only article of clothing that a man needs to pay close attention to is...

There is not just one; the whole ensemble makes the difference.

What are the most treasured items in your wardrobe?

All of them.

Is comfort an enemy of style?

Not necessarily. For example, a nice pullover (I mean a very nice one) can easily serve instead of a jacket. Knitwear is so important in a man’s wardrobe. Then of course there are some rules and limits: jeans and sports sweaters kill style, no matter what the age.

Which fashion house never fails to impress you?

For the good and the bad: Prada.

Who would you like to recommend for œMy Style€?

Sergio Colantuoni, Alessandro Sartori, and Antonella di Marco.

The best words of advice you have ever heard?

I never actually 'heard' them, but I came to a realisation after many years of hands-on work experience. You should never feel ‘successful’, as you always have something to learn from someone, even from the most unexpected people. Nevertheless, I owe so much to Bruna Rossi’s teaching (fashion director of Io Donna and my boss for many years when starting out at Mondo Uomo), as well as to the editor-in-chief of Max magazine, Andrea Rossi, who encouraged me to expose myself more.

    

Many thanks to Carola Dolci for her help.

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