PARMA–With over 100,000 pieces in his archive, Angelo Caroli is known around Italy as the “King of the Vintage.” The entrepreneur is a collector and has a true passion for Made in Italy. After 35 years of working in the field, he is now regarded as one of the most influential representatives of upmarket vintage fashion.
Angelo started at 17 years old, plundering his father’s closet for second hand items and perusing second-hand markets.
“I learned from him how to recycle and to save clothes,” Caroli explained to BACO.
During the 1970s, when the vintage craze had not even begun to settle in, Angelo was touting his views on fashion on a local radio station, and at just 18 years he opened his first shop. Everyone called him just Angelo, so he decided to name his company by his own name, and in the Eighties he become popular among the disco crowd.
He has grown in years and has a reputation as a vintage guru. Today he is known worldwide and even Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren pilgrim to his small town of Lugo di Ravenna, in order to have a look at his Vintage Palace, a temple to second hand that spans 1400 square meters.
BACO: When did you realize that you made it?
AC: “I can’t choose a single moment. I have grown constantly for the last 35 years. Every step I took was just a natural evolution of what I was doing and what I am”.
BACO: How do you get the ideas and decide what to look for?
AC: “I go around and I see a lot of things and people. If I notice something that looks like a trend before it really becomes and then I start looking for that pieces. I rarely go wrong.”
BACO: You are a collector. How do you manage with all the stuff you find?
AC: “I decided to not sell a lot of things but to build an Archive (now with more of 100.000 pieces). I consider it my library. Clothes are organized by type. It often happens that people, like Ralph Lauren or Calvin Klein, come to Lugo and check my archive. They rent what they believe is interesting for them and then they bring it back.”
BACO: You often participate at vintage markets and fairs. Which are your other activities?
AC: “I learn constantly while I’m doing my job: working in the motion picture industry as costume designer, choosing clothes for artists, working with the fashion world is always an opportunity for new challenges.
BACO: Who looks for vintage finds?
AC: “The people that look for vintage changes. There are people that go with vintage because brands are more accessible, others because they are collectors or they looking for some particular items and quality.”
BACO: You have a big vintage collection, do you also produce dedicated lines?
AC: “We have an high-end line Angelo Gold and we have Angelo & Partners, a line with remakes and updated pieces.”
BACO: What’s your secret?
AC: “I’m always trying to anticipate a trend before it becomes one. And when I have an intuition, I double check with the younger part of my staff, in order to test their reaction”.
BACO: What is your personal style?
AC: “The 60s are my favorite fashion period. In the Sixties there was a huge revolution in classic style and colors. In this period, you have the quality of the 50s but with a sense of innovation.”
BACO: What are you wearing?
AC: “Pierre Cardin 70s suit, Levi’s white shirt from 80s, Lanvin silk scarf, vintage German bandanna, Adidas L.A. trainers, socks found in a job lot of a famous old Genovese shop, 70s Givenchy glasses.”
WHAT: Vintage clothing from 20s to 90s
HEADQUARTERS: Lugo di Ravenna
PRICE RANGE: from 3 to 15.000 euros