"A lot has been written about 'Italian style'. A number of 'facts' have been detailed: the Agnelli-isms of unbuttoned shirt collars, unbuckled monkstrap shoes, ties over the sweater - your general sprezzatura minutiae. But when it comes down to it, these things border on gimmick. To me, that's not really about what Italian style is about, or what people relate to in my photographs.
What I think people are actually aspiring to is something much trickier to attain. It's the same kind of thing that you've seen in all classic menswear icons, most perfectly embodied by Cary Grantand Fred Astaire. It's grace.
Why people react to Italian style is the grace with which these gentlemen inhabit their clothes.
Now, some people will discredit this and call it 'effortless style', or write it off by saying, 'These Italians are just born with it.'
But it's quite the opposite. There is nothing effortless about their style, or their look. What's unique is that they put an extreme amount of effort into their look when they buy the clothes, when they have the clothes altered by their tailor, and when they put them on in the morning.
But once they put them on, they don't think about them until they take them off again at night. It's that graceful thoughtlessness that is so seductive.
Do me a favour. Look at these photos [below]. Look at the shoulder line. Look at how relaxed these guys are. Their shoulders aren't uptight and around their ears. These guys are having fun.
Then take a look at your typical Saville Row-tailored gent. Refined (read: restrained) to within an inch of his life, shoulders straight as a board and typically looking like they're having as much fun as an American wearing a suit.
If there is one piece of advice that I could give to someone who wants to embody, in their own way, the very best of Italian style, it would be: take an extra half an hour when buying the clothes, and extra half an hour at the tailor to make sure they perfectly fit you, and an extra half an hour in the morning to make sure you are confident in your choices.
Then think about food, think about women, think about cars - and only think about your tie when you buy the next one."