Congratulations on being invited as guest designer for the 80th Pitti Uomo.
Yeah, another show!
Does that speed up your production process, going in June instead of September?
Yeah, I mean, the men’s is always on track to be done by Milan; but the resort on a runway for women’s becomes a whole other thing. So, we have a lot to do.
You’ve been to Florence before, I presume?
Oh, yeah. I’ve been as a tourist, and in January I was there scouting locations.
So, that Florentine flair—sprezzatura, and all. What’s your take on the way gents are dressing over there?
I was there at the same time as this last Pitti, and it’s amazing. It’s what The Sartorialist and all his followers have now immortalized—just the best-dressed dudes around. What I love about it more than anything—I mean, I love what they are wearing, obviously—it’s the thinking about all these guys in the morning, in the hotel, with their outfits all planned out for the entire week, meticulously, getting ready for the big moment.
There are so many steamers in town for that weekend.
Steamers and shoe horns—every mens-y thing you can think of.
So, how will the Italian swagger play in the Band show?
It’s all shrouded in much mystery and secrecy, but the idea is really…The spirit of Pitti is, you are putting up an event that is somewhat site-specific to Florence and to Italy, so it will clearly acknowledge what this is, the event. It’s such a big deal for a menswear brand to be invited to this. It’s a rite of passage. There will be a clear nod to all of that—the global nature of the event, my heritage, and how that ties into Italian heritage.
As an Angeleno, I am proud that both guest designers (you and Rodarte) are LA brands. Will there be some reppin’ Cali going on?
Sure. I’ve been talking to these guys at Pitti for a long time. Their job is to scout the talent globally and try to, each season, put that in the context of the European market and tell a story behind that—whether it’s an Italian heritage brand like Trussardi or Corneliani who they’ve recently done, or somebody like us or Rodarte. We’ve been at this for years and the fact that it came about this way is especially interesting to me. I love Kate and Laura. I think they’re super talented. We couldn’t be more different aesthetically, in terms of what we make, and what we do and who our customer is. But, at the same time, I think we do strangely have very similar reference points, and the way we look at the landscape out here and film…It’s cool. It sends such a clear message: This is something new, this is a different take on fashion.
Florence isn’t exactly known for its cookies, so are you going to have to settle for red wine and red meat?
Well, I’m allergic to sulfites, so I can’t drink red wine over here…but I will settle for red wine out there. [Ed. note: Italian wines in Italy are reported to contain fewer sulfites than their exported cousins.] And they do a good olive oil-based biscotti that I have a sneaking suspicion somebody will sneak into the program.