It reminded me of that famous scene in Goodfellas, when Ray Liotta walks Lorraine Bracco into the Copacabana, greeting everybody along the way. Henry Hill seems to know everybody, or at least, everybody seems to know him. That’s how it felt walking into Acqua Pazza with Giampaolo Alliata that night in Milan.
I first met Giampaolo a year ago, when he was still working as a sales manager at Al Bazar. (N.B. He has since moved on and can now be found at the Doriani Cashmere sartorial room at Via S. Andrea.) After being greeted at the door by Lino Ieluzzi and judged to not be able to communicate aptly in Italian, I was quickly introduced to Giampaolo, who speaks English fluently. (Lino’s English is about as good as my Chinese.)
Everything about Giampaolo exuded elegance, class, knowledge, generosity and positivity. He knew my shirt size without measuring me. He determined that I needed my blazer taken in one centimeter on each side to fit perfectly. He suggested a nice restaurant for dinner and told us to mention to the owner that we were friends so they’d take care of us. He pointed me down the street to a small boutique that sold his (and now mine as well) favorite cologne.
Some people command attention simply by being the loudest guy in the room or, in style terms, the one who dresses the flashiest. But others achieve the same result through more subtle means – by something cultivated throughout a lifetime. You don’t need to be a peacock to be intriguing. Giampaolo is one of those people.
Our visit to Cambiaghi the previous morning got me thinking a lot about permanent fashion, classic style and what it means for something (or someone) to be iconic. Of course with anything, over time there are elements that change, but for me, a true icon is someone or something that is still recognizable because of something embedded in its very being – a design signature, a confidence, an undefined aura.
Whether you realize it or not, you’ve probably seen Giampaolo. He’s on the cover of Closer by Scott Schuman, walking across a street much like we are in this post. While there are a few things that are different between his cover photo and our photos here – a different outfit, a little older, more salt and less pepper – he is still unmistakably himself.
That quality of being recognizable despite years going by, culture evolving, and trends coming and going was what I was getting at when I was talking about the DNA of BMW recently. The car, whether you’re looking at a 1970s model or the new 7 Series, distinctly a BMW. There’s something to be said about anything that transcends trends and retains its character. And that something is overwhelmingly positive.
Thanks for reading. And as Giampaolo likes to sign off on his Instagram: Be gentle, be generous… Peace, love and a lot of passion!
He Spoke Style