It’s good to get a different perspective every now and then. And when it comes to matters of style and la dolce vita, there is no better person to consult than an Italian guy.
Let’s kick things off with something I’m sure we’re all dying to know…
Why are Italian men so stylish?
My personal opinion is that it’s something we have in our culture. It’s in our DNA. It’s the way that we like to show off, the way we like to be like a “Latin lover.”
How far back in Italian culture do you think this goes?
I don’t want bore you with history, but there’s a story about the 14th century Medici Family in Florence. In the middle of the Renaissance, the Medici’s and many other rich families were obsessed with developing and solidifying their identity. As a result, they spent lots of money on fabrics for their clothing. You could call that the dawn of Italian fashion.
Well, we’ll fast-forward quite a bit but in the mid-20th century – July, 1951, to be exact – again in Florence at the old Pitti Palace, designers like Emilio Pucci, Roberto Capucci, the Fontana sisters and many others had the opportunity to show international buyers their wonderful collections. More of the world was beginning to see Italian fashion.
Not to bring it back to America, but did the U.S. play any role in the world’s really “getting” that Italians had some serious style?
Actually, yes. Hollywood gave us a big boost with movies about the Mafiosi. Yes, they were criminals, but they were always well-dressed!
Then also Cinecitta and Federico Fellini in the 1960s with La Dolce Vita with Marcello Mastroianni, who is one of my style icons. That brought to the world the Italian way of enjoying life and caring about one’s appearance.
Is it just a small subset of Italians or do you think most people care about having style/being stylish?
In Italy there was an old tradition, especially in small southern towns, called the rite of the struscio (translates as ‘rub’) which occurs after work and on Sunday after church. All kinds of people – rich people, farmers, regular workers – like to get together and walk in the town’s main street to show off their best suits and be seen. It’s known as the struscio because the street is so crowded that people are literally rubbing against one another.
Sum it up for us.
So, to sum things up, I think I have to go back to the beginning of my answer… We like beauty and we like to show who we are! Just look at Italian history – our art, sculpture, painting, and architecture. This kind of style has been a part of us from the Roman Empire to now. And, of course I’m to proud to be Italian!