Are there any style combinations that you object to?
I am obsessed with the formal silhouette; such as a sharp suit, a crisp shirt, a soft tie and a good pair of shoes. The fact that I would not wear sportswear or casual wear, does not mean that I object to it: as long as the wearer assumes his/her responsibilities of a possible life in hell, I am okay with it. On the other hand I do deeply object to any possible compromise that involves the quality of the garment, its fit, fabric and manufacturing.
Please describe your style in three words.
Contemporary bespoke menswear.
What is the biggest mistake one can make when getting dressed?
We have invented casual Fridays, sportswear, loungewear, et cetera. These products or inventions all make perfect sense, when used properly and according to their purpose. Unfortunately, the world of today often allows us to get away with certain things, especially when it comes down to getting dressed. Men have gotten lazy, impersonal and easy-thinking. Today one sadly believes "to be okay for the opera" by wearing a white T-shirt, a pair of five-pocket jeans and sneakers. The biggest mistake one can make today is trying to get away with being lazy.
Do you believe in role models?
Yes. One should admire but never copy a role model in order to become one.
What are your favourite fabrics?
All things (hand) made from wool.
Which city has the best-dressed men?
I love London with its dapper men and Milan for its Mediterranean "nonchalance". Every city has its proper sartorially inclined gentlemen. The art is to find them.
Would you say that you are conservative or bold?
Conservative dresser with a bold personality.
What are the rules in the way you dress?
Generally I follow one rule: "Whatever the situation, wear a suit". Throughout the years I came to understand that in order to develop a personal style, one first has to truly understand the old, often unwritten rules and to then challenge or break them. I always dress to respect the person I am with and the places I am in. I never want to feel underdressed, but at the same time, never show off. I dress to be heard, even when being silent.
Celebrities and style...
Should never be mentioned in the same sentence.
Name one garment/accessory that you can never have enough of?
Suits in all colours, textures and weights.
A man should always look like…
He wants to be appreciated for who he is and not for what he represents.
Who taught you what you know about style?
I don't think that one can learn about style. What I've learned from the people I worked for, especially Mr Domenico Dolce and my tailors, is the knowledge of how to properly create and manufacture the basics of men's style: how to cut a shoulder, how to choose a fabric or how to elaborate a personal look or silhouette. Looking at old pictures of my granddad in his beautiful suits and hats, reading every possible book and simply getting older, brought me a certain theoretical approach to what style could be. A steady research of difficultly tangible things. Today it has become my daily work to merge these two experiences into a contemporary, personal style for each and every one of my clients, not just for myself.
How do you select your clothing every morning?
I am always wearing my signature suits and shirts with a four-in-hand knotted sevenfold tie. This silhouette has become some kind of a uniform to me. The colours, textures, weights and general loudness of the outfit clearly depend on my mood, the weather and whether I travel or not. Impeccable everyday style is not only wearing a sharp suit and a crisp shirt. It is of importance to always be well groomed and to wear clean, appropriate shoes.
What is your biggest regret?
I usually regret trying to fulfil wishes that third persons have for me. I learned to stick to my own gut.
An essential thing a man should know about style is…
If one has to affirm to know about style, there is usually little style involved. The beauty of style is that you never know the whole story. It is a learning-by-doing thing. You really only know that you don't know much about it!
Do you have any shopping rituals?
I always have tea or coffee afterwards to cheer up my bank account and cool down my credit card.
We will never see you wearing...
Tight or ergonomic active sportswear.
The most stylish person you have ever seen...
My late grandfather, Mr Lapo Elkann, and Mr Tom Ford.
What is the first thing you notice on a man?
The shoes and his manicure.
The one image that defined your approach to style...
A picture of my granddad, wearing an oversized, double-breasted camelhair coat, a silk scarf and a beige fedora just to have a walk in the Swiss mountains. I still have that photo framed on my desk. A true inspiration.
Which new designers do you admire and why?
I follow my fashion students, such as Sandra Mansour and Sasha Nassar, and what they've become. It fills me with deep pride to see them taking over the world.
The only article of clothing that a man needs to pay close attention to is…
Clean, white and natural underwear.
What are the most treasured items in your wardrobe
The first suit I cut, when working at Dolce & Gabbana.
Is comfort an enemy of style?
Having style means being comfortable with yourself. I mean a certain peace of mind. When you are mentally at ease you don't need active sportswear or casual clothing to feel physically comfortable.
Who would you like to recommend for My Style?
My dear friend Mr Fabio Ciquera, a London-based luxury market specialist. His love for the good things in life and his impeccable taste make him a true inspiration. I also would like to recommend Mr Karl Heinz Nuber. The owner, publisher and editor of Tourbillon Magazine, he knows the luxury watch industry inside out. His personal and slightly eclectic style, his years of experience and knowledge make our steady breakfast meetings a true and inspiring pleasure.
The best words of advice you have ever heard?
"No crime is vulgar, but vulgarity is a crime." — Oscar Wilde.