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DISPATCHES by Peter Howarth: Alessando Squarzi

READ THE FULL INTERVIEW

DISPATCHES by Peter Howarth: Alessando Squarzi

ITALIAN DESIGNER, ENTREPRENEUR AND VINTAGE COLLECTOR AND EXPERT

"Vintage garments have a story to tell."

He drives a 1955 Porsche Speedster and wears military camouflage with Neapolitan tailoring and jewellery from Santa Fe. Alessandro Squarzi is a man of many talents, not least, his encyclopaedic knowledge of vintage clothing.

“Not having much financial resources when I was young, I used to buy vintage a lot. And every time I bought something, I always asked the seller to tell me their stories. From that time my passion was born.”

And that’s the appeal, to this day: the story. “The fact that the vintage garments have a story to tell. Sometimes I want to know their entire history in detail,” he says. It’s all about narrative, whether that’s to do with a specific style of jean, or military bag, or design of watch.
As he talks about his three favourite watches it becomes clear that vintage pieces are a way for him to capture memories and connect with history, and his story.

“I have 6,000 vintage clothing pieces in my archive,” he reveals, and much of it he wears. He also uses it for inspiration for the collections that he designs. He describes it as “my classic male wardrobe”. In other words, a closet full of the best-in-class representatives of what stylish men have been wearing since the middle of the last century.
If you ask Squarzi who his style icons are, he will put “The King of Cool” McQueen up there in his top three, along with Marcello Mastroianni and Paul Newman. Top four, actually, as the list has to include his father, Luciano, too.

“I never followed fashion but I always wanted to dress up in a certain way”. It’s an eclectic look, but speaks of a man with personal style who values not the latest release from this or that global label, but instead a sense of the timeless items that men can wear season in and season out. Just put together with confidence and character.
And don’t take my word for it: in 2017, sitting at the top of Esquire magazine’s “The 40 Best-Dressed Men In The World” list was… you guessed it.
 

“When someone buys an item from the Fay Archive collections, he is not buying a fashion item, but an object with a story behind it.”

When he was 20, Squarzi bought one of the Fay Quattro-Ganci workers' jackets. You can see why it would have appealed to this Italian who loves US vintage. Squarzi may be obsessed with old-school Americana (“My point of reference is, above all, US style from the 40s to the 60s”), but he is in no doubt that, in his opinion, Italy is a world leader in fashion and clothing design.

“Unfortunately, I don't have my old Fay jacket any more. I remember, however, that when I bought it I was very happy with the purchase, and I wore it for a long time.” Two years ago, Squarzi got involved with Fay again, this time because the owners were delving into the brand’s history. They asked him to come on board to help develop a collection called Fay Archive. “We thought about all those people who love clothes with a story to tell, but who perhaps do not like wearing genuine second-hand or vintage clothes. The vision for Fay Archive is to give these people the opportunity to wear iconic garments, but revisited in a modern key.”
 
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DISPATCHES by Peter Howarth: Jake Chessum