Philippe Perzi Vienna loves a man who takes pride in his clothes, values quality, elegance and traditional craftsmanship and yet isn’t afraid to break the rules by injecting some individuality into his outfit. Enter Riccardo Maria Angelo Viganò – it’s a long name but the young Italian designer, tailor, stylist and clothes horse is a short odds favourite to be one of the most photographed at the Pitti Uomo fair every year (check out our blog), undoubtedly the most important event in the calendar when it comes to men’s fashion.
As such a stand out in the fashion stakes, we thought we’d interview this emerging young talent to find out more. Many of Riccardo’s fashion philosophies and advice echo that of Philippe Perzi Vienna.
PHILIPPE PERZI VIENNA: Tell us about yourself? How did you begin your career in tailoring and as a style consultant?
Riccardo Maria Angelo Viganò: I was born in Monza in the North of Italy but for many years I’ve been based out of Milan. Ever since I was a child, I loved being well dressed. My grandfather owned a wool fabric company and both my aunts are in the fashion world – one is a designer who has worked for some of the major fashion houses and the other is a couturier of wedding dresses. So, you see it’s in my blood, I absorbed a lot growing up with a family in the fashion business.
I started out alone, without any help, firstly with a collection of polo shirts which I named “Ricky Bullet – the elegance that strikes” designed especially for some luxury sporting clubs e.g. golf, tennis, yachting – it was there’re that I honed my skills in sales and how to market my product. I sort of evolved as a style consultant from there, collaborating with various companies to create collections.
A few years ago, I decided to combine all that I’d learnt, utilising my network and with some of my personal flair, I studied to become a personal tailor and wardrobe consultant, offering tailoring services to men who appreciate bespoke clothing.
PHILIPPE PERZI VIENNA: Why did you choose to design, tailor and consult for men as opposed to women?
Riccardo Maria Angelo Viganò: As I’m starting out, I’m running with what is more spontaneous for me, and what is closest to my taste – the taste of the “Modern Gentleman.” In the future, I will also study tailoring for women and look forward to designing for them too.
PHILIPPE PERZI VIENNA: What fabrics do you prefer to work with when making shirts, suits and ties?
Riccardo Maria Angelo Viganò: My preference is to work with very high quality materials. For shirts, I like pinpoint cotton – which belongs to the Oxford family of fabrics. Pinpoint cotton has an especially light-weight feel and fine texture and has a symmetrical basket weave – it’s very similar to Philippe Perzi Vienna’s shirts made from Royal Oxford fabric.
For suits, I like to work with ‘Grisaille‘ in medium weight. Grisaille is a beautiful fabric which is made from combed wool in a twill weave. It is made by alternating dark and light thread in the warp and weft which gives a subtle grey appearance.
I like 7 fold ties and in the summer, you can’t go past a silk tie with a Prince of Wales check pattern. In the cooler months, wool and cashmere in a Pied-de-Poule (Herringbone) pattern. I always finish off my outfit with a silk pocket square, preferably in a paisley pattern for a touch of added panache.
PHILIPPE PERZI VIENNA: Which fashion icons, living or dead have inspired your style?
Riccardo Maria Angelo Viganò: I don’t have any fashion icons really that have inspired my style. As an Italian, I breathe style. Everything is so natural for me when I dress.
“As an Italian, I breathe style. Everything is so natural for me when I dress.” – Riccardo Maria Angelo Viganò
PHILIPPE PERZI VIENNA: In your opinion, where in the world do you find the most elegantly dressed gentlemen?
Riccardo Maria Angelo Viganò: In the past, I think Italy and England set the trend in classic menswear and set a high benchmark for men’s fashion in general. Many men around the world sought to emulate the Italian or English style, and still do. These days though, I see men from Japan and Korea with a true passion to be well dressed and they love the Italian style. In particular, they love the attention to detail that the Italians tend to bestow on their clothing and they know and remember that it’s not all about the brand name.
PHILIPPE PERZI VIENNA: You have a distinctive style and natural flair, as you are often papped by street style photographers. Are Italians born with this instinctive ability to dress well or do you have to learn the art?
Riccardo Maria Angelo Viganò: I like to be well dressed, even as a child I have appreciated quality and the value in dressing well. My family always said to me, don’t pay attention to the brand, but instead the quality and what suits your personality. Everyman needs to stand in front of the mirror in the morning and feel comfortable with himself.
For Italians, I think there is something innate in having good taste and I simply express my mood by mixing colours, fabrics, materials and accessories. I don’t blindly follow the latest fashion, I wear what is stylish because style is forever. I think for many people, there is a culture void of sorts and so they don’t know the ‘rules’ in the first place, in order to dress with style. I educate my clients on how to mix colours and fabrics and quite often they have never been told before.
PHILIPPE PERZI VIENNA: What are the most common requests from men when you are making bespoke clothing?
Riccardo Maria Angelo Viganò: Mostly, clients ask me to make their jackets more slim fitting – very slim sometimes, and they like to make themselves stand out by choosing really cool patterns – mostly to appeal to women. So, I try to do my best to rejuvenate my clients!
PHILIPPE PERZI VIENNA: What are your tips for men who want to dress to impress?
Riccardo Maria Angelo Viganò: You don’t need to dress in the latest fashion, but you should make sure your pants, shirts and shoes are of good quality, good repair and that they reflect your personality. I implore all men to only wear clothes in which you feel confident. Make sure you pay attention to little details – hand stitching, shirts with contrasting fabric in the collars and cuffs for example.
PHILIPPE PERZI VIENNA: What is the most unusual request you’ve had from a client when making clothing for him?
Riccardo Maria Angelo Viganò: The most unusual request was from a client who was a football player. He asked me to make his suit for his wedding, but rather than using silk for the lining, he asked me to use the fabric from his team jersey where you could see his surname and his playing number. It was really an amazing creation.
“I implore all men to only wear clothes in which you feel confident.” – Riccardo Maria Angelo Viganò
PHILIPPE PERZI VIENNA: What are the biggest fashion mistakes men make?
Riccardo Maria Angelo Viganò: I think white socks when the dress code is formal. Dress shoes should only be worn with dress socks, which are wool or cotton in dark hues like black, navy, grey and brown. White socks should be reserved solely for athletic shoes!
PHILIPPE PERZI VIENNA: What do you think are the essentials that every man should have in his wardrobe?
Riccardo Maria Angelo Viganò: A man should have 50 different types of shirts, lots of pocket squares to add a finishing touch and a few formal suits. Some less formal blazers for a chic smart casual look and gabardine pants. Well-made classic shoes and a cashmere overcoat for cooler weather. An original Solaro suit – Made in England is the icing on the cake.
PHILIPPE PERZI VIENNA: What are the most important aspects to consider when purchasing a shirt, suit, tie?
Riccardo Maria Angelo Viganò: The right fabric for the right season, the quality of materials and the method with which it’s made.
PHILIPPE PERZI VIENNA: Does a man have to spend a lot of money on his outfit to look amazing? What should a man spend on and what can he afford to skimp on?
Riccardo Maria Angelo Viganò: To be a well dressed gentleman, it’s a matter of style. You should make yourself a list and then set yourself a budget. Spend money on what you need – buy less by buying smarter, focusing on high quality. It’s far better to have five suits of great quality that you can wear for many years than to have ten cheap ones that will show wear and tear in a season or two. Quality costs more to begin with but in the long run it will be cheaper.
Don’t follow fashion, follow your style. You can take inspiration from other men, but don’t blindly copy – build your own style. Know what looks good on you. Fashion comes and goes, style is eternal.
Accessories are great as they can add that extra touch to an outfit without blowing the budget.
Don’t become obsessed with clothes or distressed if you cannot afford certain luxury items – it should be fun and my clients know that very well. You should save some funds to spend in the future on your wardrobe, you don’t have to buy everything at once, besides, it takes time to build a great wardrobe.
“You can take inspiration from other men, but don’t blindly copy – build your own style. Know what looks good on you. Fashion comes and goes, style is eternal.” – Riccardo Maria Angelo Viganò
PHILIPPE PERZI VIENNA: What has been your most indulgent purchase?
Riccardo Maria Angelo Viganò: I ordered a full set of luggage, a tennis bag and head-covers for my golf clubs… all in crocodile skin from my leather manufacturer.
PHILIPPE PERZI VIENNA: What type of man is your typical client, either for tailoring or wardrobe consulting?
Riccardo Maria Angelo Viganò: My clients tend to be lovers of tailoring first of all. But i have a variety of clients, from entrepreneurs to politicians and businessmen; people who love to be well dressed and know first impressions are very important. My clients want excellent quality and value exclusivity, plus they don’t have the time to go shopping, so I save them time.
PHILIPPE PERZI VIENNA: When you’re not working or being photographed looking stylish, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Riccardo Maria Angelo Viganò: I like to enjoy the good life; I like to eat well, drink good wine, read books, spend time with family and I’m also a sport lover: golf, yachting, polo, car and motorcycle racing.
PHILIPPE PERZI VIENNA: Do you attend fashion weeks and the fashion fairs? What are your favourite/most inspiring/fun ones to attend?
Riccardo Maria Angelo Viganò: Of course, I attend fashion weeks and fashion fairs, because I’m a participant. It’s a great meeting of the minds, mingling with people from all over the world to discuss fashion and trends.
For me, the most important is Pitti Uomo in Florence; it’s the defining menswear tradeshow of the year.
PHILIPPE PERZI VIENNA: What do you see as the key trends for menswear coming into the next season?
Riccardo Maria Angelo Viganò: I’ve seen the paisley pattern increasing in popularity, especially for shirts and also prints with flowers. Beige overcoats and cashmere and wool fabrics. Also Tweed is on trend for men’s jackets.
We look forward to seeing Riccardo Maria Angelo Viganò at the next Pitti Uomo fair. Chances are, you won’t need to attend to see him, with his photo likely being snapped as one of the best dressed. Like many of our European colleagues, it is always a welcoming breath of fresh air to hear that there are still pockets where traditional standards of quality, detail and individuality continue today – as they do for our label – Philippe Perzi Vianna. Start shopping now!