MILAN–Luca Rubinacci, heir to the fabled Neapolitan tailor that has been for decades celebrated by dapper Milanese lawyers and bankers and celebs like Lapo Elkann, is rapidly becoming a street style icon himself. With his relaxed, moving sartorial style, he has become the darling of photoblogs all over the world. Speaking in Milan, he talks about how he is currently busy with the new Mariano Rubinacci’s flagship store on Milan’s Via Gesu’. The 400 square meter space includes the family’s ready-to-wear collection as well as an English, Neapolitan style gentlemen club features a meeting space, wifi, a fireplace and is expected to sell art, cigars and prosecco made by his friends. BACO sits down with the 33-year-old artisan/businessman to talk about business, his personal style, Napoleon and his bracelets.
Why do you think your style is becoming so popular among sites like the Sartorialist?
I always wear a multitude of outfits and colors and I think that it is this that people like about me. I want to teach young people how they can have fun dressing. Maybe this is why people photograph me. I don’t do it because i want to be famous but because I want to be symbol of how to have fun dressing up.
What’s up with all the bracelets?
I have always done sailing and sailors are really superstitious. When we raced, my mom or my girlfriend gifted me a bracelet. If I won a race, I didn’t take the bracelet off… I sleep with them. When I got operated on my hand, I told the doctors to operate on me with the bracelets on.
This steel link one, my sister gave this to me when I was 20 years old. I said you are evil, because you know this will never go away. And she said she gave me a steel one because she didn’t want me to ever take it off. The Turkish Eye one for example is ugly, but a specialty person gave this to me when I wasn’t doing so well and I can’t take it off.
Why are you a fan of the Napoleonic Era?
That era was characterized by the gentleman. It reminds us of an era when people were dressing very chic and very elegant, and what we constantly try to build on here at Rubinacci is this idea of gentlemanly affair.
What is your personal style?
BESPOKE STYLE. My style is always moving. I like to wear a different thing every day. Only by wearing different things are you able to suggest many different styles.
Why are your shirt initials GR not LR?
I am Gennaro Luca Rubinacci, because like all true Neapolitans I am named after my grandfather. My great grandfather is named Mariano and so my father is named Mariano. If i have a son, he will be named Mariano, and if he has a son he will be named Gennaro. We are very traditional.
Why is Rubinacci placing bets in ready-to-wear?
We want to established a RTW collection for gentleman worldwide to wear something beautiful not just for people who want bespoke.
Why have you decided to build a gentleman’s club into your new retail space?
Why not create a gentleman’s club where people can share their passion for bespoke and buy something new?
Why are you investing in young apprentice tailors?
Young people want to come up with crazy things and sometimes an old tailor doesn’t want to do that sort of thing and asks why he is wasting his time making such a thing? He doesn’t understand that the world is changing. People now need something else and younger tailors want to do that.
Why do you think younger men are turning to Rubinacci — more than ever before?
Men between 20 and 35 want to look elegant and sophisticated after 40 they want to look younger.
Why are women turning to bespoke? What are the signs here at Rubinacci?
In the last year, the women’s business grew 15 percent. I would say about 15 percent of our customers are women.
The main problem is that we mainly make jackets. What ladies want are coats that are single breasted. This summer we made lots of coats that had the coat tails in the back, very wide linen trousers. They all want to dress like men with a feminine twist.
Who are these female customers?
They are the wives of my male customers.
How are you different from your father?
My dad is a little more classic. He always wears blue and he is very formal. I started at 20 years old with my father and now I am 33. I didn’t want to be the son of… If I saw my father wearing blue and I wore red. i wanted to do the contrary of what he did. When I was 20 years old old my dad told me to choose 10 ties and I said I wanted to wear a different one every day, and my father said that you can’t wear a different one every day. He said men are made to wear their favorite thing till they die. It is really like this.
How do you want to be remembered in your family’s history?
My grandfather created the Neapolitan tailor, my father made it famous in the world, and I am bringing it to more of a planetary level on the worldwide web and in the world where my father was not able to arrive, always in-line with traditions.
For example 90 percent of Rubinacci’s clients were Italian when my father and grandfather ran the business and now about 90 percent are international.
Overall, I brought new styles to Rubinacci after studying on Savile Row. I brought English techniques to the tailoring and now clients can say this is a truly modern, international tailor.