Menswear expert & fashion enthusiast Giulio Amato talks to us about the profile of an Italian gentleman.
Why are Italians generally considered the best-dressed men in the world? To answer this question is to understand the mind of Italian men, an in-depth study of the elegance & attitude that the Italian men there do to achieve their winning look.
With that in mind, we bring to you an exclusive interview with Giulio Amato, Italian menswear expert & fashion enthusiasts, on what we can learn from the world’s most stylish nation.
Giulio, when it comes to dressing up, Italian men are the perfect sartorial measuring sticks. They grew up going to tailors, so they know their fashion well. In your own dress style, what would you define as typically Italian?
For Italian people, in general, taking care of the look is very important. That is because of generations transmitting the value of the garment to wear according to the season. It then developed in expressing our personality through fashion. For me, typical Italian is a fitted jacket matched with tailored pants and a well-ironed shirt.
You have often touted the spirit of the Italian way of life; “Italians do it better”. Could you tell us more about this metaphor?
It all spread with the Italian American artist Madonna wearing a t-shirt which stated “Italians do it better” while receiving an award in the 80s. Since then, it became known worldwide as a slogan meaning that whatever Italy and Italians make, from food to arts and fashion, there is always something unique and special. It is the Italian touch of creativity and poetry in everything they do.
In 1528 Baldassarre Castiglione published “The Book of the Courtier” to describe the nobleman (gentleman) at court — how he should speak, dress and behave. In this early how-to guide for the renaissance gentleman, Castiglione coined the term sprezzatura to describe gentlemanly behaviour. Without a direct translation, sprezzatura is possibly best interpreted as “nonchalance elegance”. In your opinion, how can men develop their ‘sprezzatura’?
In the XVI century the artists and the intellectuals wanted to underline that when is something is done with absolute class and style, everything would look easier and more graceful. Everyone can reach a good level of self-control and public dignity. For me, it is important to show respect to the people around by always appear in a proper, refined way.
You had a career exposure in both Malaysia and Hong Kong. What is your observation of Malaysian men compared to Hong Kong, in terms of gentlemen lifestyle?
In terms of gentleman lifestyle Malaysian men are generally a bit less conservative and tend to be more enthusiastic while Hong Kong men are more business-oriented but with an interesting mindset.
How do you keep yourself physically active and fit?
I try to work out and do outdoor activities regularly. Being physically fit is more a state of mind for me.
One of the characteristics of a Gentleman is the way he treats his companion. In your opinion, what is the secret of winning a woman’s heart?
A true gentleman must always be there. Respect and understanding are everything. Good listening skill is also a very important feature. But I do not want to reveal all my secrets.
We believe that there are certain rules that are part of a Gentleman’s instinct. What is the first rule for a Gentleman according to Giulio Amato?
Do not pretend to be someone you are not. Build your own personality, accepting your flaws and working always on yourself. And don’t wear white socks!