Do you have any shopping rituals?
My only shopping ritual has to do with Tokyo. When I arrive there, the first thing I do is visit the Cassidy Home Grown shop and buy ties and some handkerchiefs… I also look for Cedar, a particular variety of The Laundress Fabric Fresh scents. It's my favourite.
Please describe your style in three words.
'Trad', authentic, (but also) experimental.
What is the biggest mistake one can make when getting dressed?
Trying to be a different person.
What are your favourite fabrics?
My heritage is jersey and knit fabrics, but I've grown into denim…so I could say that I cherish both.
Which city has the best-dressed men?
Tokyo, by far.
Would you say that you are conservative or bold?
I personally feel I'm conservative, so I probably am. But when I design, this changes…I'd say that my mood is a balance of both. I step into different personalities every time I approach a new project.
What are the rules in the way you dress?
I wear a blazer as much as possible. The blazer is the only 'style rule’ that I am most confident about.
Celebrities and style...
As I live and work in a small village in the woods, I couldn't be further from this whole star system, so I'm probably not the right person to answer this. With that being said, I do respect them. Celebrities are an important part of fashion, as they can sometimes create attention for brands and styles.
Name one garment/accessory that you can never have enough of?
A man should always look like…
Every man should have his own vision for himself, this is a question that could answered differently depending on the man and the moment. However, a man should always look simple and never overdressed.
Who taught you what you know about style?
Oh, a lot of teachers! They are probably not known, as they are from the 80’s…but it was those in that period who really worked with real passion on the garments and approached them with a desire to invent new things and experiment. All of them were important in some way: they inspired me to have a fondness for fabrics and original designs that are created using paper and pencil. If I had to name one 'teacher', I'd say Mirco Termanini. However, there are two more people that really helped me find the right direction: my mother and father. My mother was a pattern maker and my father was just a passionate, elegant man. They both taught me the concept of simple and clean style, which to me is what real elegance is all about.
How do you select your clothing every morning?
I am quite lucky, as I don't have to struggle a lot! My wardrobe is full of many variants of the same items, so I only have to choose between different shades of oxford blue shirts or different widths of regimental ties. Selecting a blazer is also easy; as I trust what I do, I wear my personal designs. Most of them are 'blu navale', a shade that’s my favourite and that my partner in work and life, Silvia, has created especially for our brand. She is the 'master creator' of colours and a pillar of 1ST PAT-RN.
What is your biggest regret?
I don't really have any big regrets, I am quite happy with the choices I have made in my life. However, if I have to pick one, I would say not starting my brand earlier.
The three essential things a man should know about style are…
Learn and study: knowledge is power. Be simple and humble, always. Choose only (and this is mandatory) quality and well-manufactured items: always think about quality, not quantity.
We will never see you wearing...
Anything skinny, super-slim or tight. I hate it. Honestly.
The most stylish person you have ever seen...
I think it’s Mr Hiroyuki Yagisawa, a man whom I really respect for his knowledge, humbleness, and the inspiration he shares with his style.
What is the first thing you notice on a man?
His suit or jacket.
The one image that defined your approach to style...
It was the editorials and pictures of the Condé Nast magazine Per Lui in the 80's – which was shut down too soon. They really shaped my sense of style when I was very young. I still got some copies in my library; they are still impressive, even after thirty years.
Which new designers do you follow and why?
I admire a lot of designers but they are not new.
The only article of clothing that a man needs to pay close attention to is…
His shoes, of course.
What are the most treasured items in your wardrobe?
A pair of Yuketen boots made exclusively for me by Mr Yuki Matsuda, using a leather with a special shade of colour. He said that there’s only a pair in the world; this is amazing and I wear it with pride.
Is comfort an enemy of style?
Not at all. Comfort is the perfect companion of style. If I may, I’d like to expand on this topic as it's important. I'd like to start with my personal definition of comfort: it’s wearing elegant clothing in a natural way. Comfort is to have clothes that make you feel and look better in every moment of your life: at work, when travelling, and at your leisure time. It's also a way of being elegant in a modern way. I tried to capture this philosophy inside my knitted, 'Cavalry di Maglia' jackets: they are tailored to be elegant, but also amazingly comfortable. It's something that's recognised every time a buyer or a customer tries it on. I still think of a Japanese buyer who once said about the jacket that 'you have to try it on to understand'. It's a phrase that's impressed me so much that I designed a label with this sentence on it and I stitch it in every jacket. So, definitely: comfort is the modern approach to style and elegance. However, you have to search for garments that were designed and manufactured using special fabrics specifically for this purpose.
Which designer never fails to impress you?
Todd Snyder, Michael Bastian, Billy Reid, Nonnative, Engineered Garments, Nanamica...so many.
Who would you like to recommend for My Style?
I have two: my brother Alessio Berto, for the knowledge of tailoring, pattern making, and his unique style (not to mention his impressive jazz culture and his collection of thousands of vinyl). The second one is Hiroyuki Yagisawa, the man who created the shops Cassidy81 and Cassidy Home Grown in Tokyo. He is an icon of style and a source of immense knowledge in fashion.
The best words of advice you have ever heard?
‘Failure is not an option’ — said by Gene Kranz during the Apollo 13 mission. It's my maxim.