How do you select your clothing every morning?
It all somehow comes together five minutes before I rush out the door, I need the kick of adrenaline to make decisions. I have developed a sort of uniform for myself — blazer, vest and tailored pants are the core of it — which makes the process quite easy: the fewer elements you have at your disposal, the more you’re forced to act imaginatively.
Please describe your style in three words.
I embrace paradoxes.
What is the biggest mistake one can make when getting dressed?
Trying too hard. Also, not looking in the mirror before going out can be a tad fatal.
Do you believe in role models?
I believe in mindscapes. Reality is the product of imagination, according to Wallace Stevens. One should always trust artist, the most untrustworthy of individuals.
What are your favourite fabrics?
Flannel and seersucker, but not necessarily together.
Are there any style combinations that you object to?
Everything and nothing, I believe, is possible style-wise: it’s not what you do, but how you do it. Thereafter, there’s no combination I would object to beforehand.
Which city has the best-dressed men?
The elderly men in Naples and Palermo are the perfect expression of what I’d call elegance: effortless dedication to composed manliness.
Would you say that you are conservative or bold?
I am a joker hidden under conservative layers.
What are the rules, if any, in the way you dress?
A little mistake, something wrong, is mandatory to keep the balance off-kilter.
Celebrities and style...
Is a shipwreck.
One garment/accessory that you can never have enough of?
Softly-tailored blazers. I’d even sleep in them.
A man should always look like...
A man. And a man, even at his most flamboyant, looks effortless.
Who taught you what you know about style?
The imagined life of books, film, paintings, music and dreams.
Your biggest regret is...
Living in a country with a glorious past in art and humanities, ruined by the filthiest mix of politics and TV. When I think about what Italy was and what it is nowadays, my eyes fill up with tears and my gut dries out in anger. That includes the general sense of style, and excuse me if I sound harsh.
The three essential things a man should know about style are...
As a rule, don’t believe in rules. But I am adamant in saying that style is about clothing just as much as the way one carries himself, walks, talks, writes, eats, behaves.
Do you have any shopping rituals?
I never buy any item of clothing right away. I look, try on, take time to think and then return to the shop if I really feel like buying.
We will never see you wearing...
Never say never, but you will hardly see me wearing those instantly recognisable “it items” from the season that every fashionista invariably ends up wearing.
The most stylish person you have ever seen...
Artists Francesco Clemente and Sergei Sviatchenko.
What is the first thing you notice on a man?
The silhouette and the details.
The one image that defined your approach to style...
A collage of disparate things: exoticism, bohemia, London in the 60s, early punk, Irving Penn, Sarah Moon, Richard Avedon, mid-century modern, rococo, masks, brutalism, Leigh Bowery, decadence, decay, sublime landscapes, solitude, radicalism, idealism, japonisme, minimalism, maximalism, absurdity, classicism, order, chaos, imperfection, mistakes. I even created a tumblr, poeticallypunk.tumblr.com, in an attempt to register everything that defines my approach to style. If anything, I believe style is an endless process.
Which new designers do you follow and why?
Antonio Azzuolo for his deranged take on classicism; Siki Im for his cerebral approach to tailoring; Umit Benan for his dedication to manliness; and Mads Dinesen for being wild.
The only article of clothing that a man needs to pay close attention to is...
It’s not an article, but quality; there should be no compromise on that. Less, but better, and thank you so much Dieter Rams.
What are the most treasured items in your wardrobe?
My thickly-framed prescription glasses: without them, quite literally, everything looks hazy and indistinct. After that, a bunch of vintage bow ties bought in Venice years ago.
Is comfort an enemy of style?
It depends on the meaning you give to the term ‘comfort’. Comfort can dangerously verge towards laziness, but if you intend it as being at ease in what you wear, then it is not an enemy of style but an essential part of it.
Which designer/fashion house never fails to impress you?
Dries Van Noten. The way he works with texture, colour, and shape is moving.
Who would you like to see next in My style?
The best word of advice you have ever heard?
“It’s not where you take things from, but where you take them to.” – Jean Luc Godard