Antonio Mancinelli was born in Rome in 1963. He studied fashion at the prestigious Academia del Costume e della Moda. He has written for Italian dailies La Repubblica and the Corriere della Sera, as well as for several fashion magazines such as Vogue Italia, Elle, Vanity Fair and Style. He is currently a features editor at Marie Claire Italia.
Describe a typical day at the magazine.
I write feature articles for the magazine on various subjects, but not only on fashion designers; the subjects vary from politics to international issues. I read a lot of newspapers, websites and other magazines then meet with the other editors from the magazine to plan, share and discuss our ideas. There are 21 different editions of Marie Claire but the Italian version is very avante-garde. We cover politics, the feelings and emotions of people, not just fashion and glamorous diets and beauty. It’s more about the real person.
What is one of the biggest challenges you encounter in your work?
It can be challenging to write a contemporary feature for a magazine that is being printed months in advance.
In your most recent book, Moda!, you discuss how fashion is connected to other areas in our life. Tell us about Moda!
In this book I relate fashion to a lot of other fields. How fashion is found in relationships, in politics, literature, culture and film. In fact I am a huge fan of film, I go the cinema four or five times a week. I love staying informed. For me going to the cinema, reading, writing, and the arts are the best way to do that.
Beauty is about being informed. Being young isn’t beauty. Italy cosmetic surgery procedures are rapidly increasing and becoming more popular. I believe people are free to choose, but I find it dangerous to have this need to constantly feel young. Forgetting about time is dangerous, and that is what happening to people. We are losing our memory of time and with time, comes the gift of experience. Life is all about experience and that is how we get it, through time. I was young in the 1980s, now it is time to be my best in my 40s while being 40 and not trying to be 28. Interest in new things is what keeps you young. That’s beauty.
Fashion trends to be cyclical as are most things in life. Courreges and Yves St. Laurent created clear and transparent looks in the 60s. At present, collections include very space age, futuristic designs. What do you think about this?
Actually right now we are seeing the future of the past. The futuristic fashions we are seeing now are how we imagined the future in the 60s and 70s. It s the TV show The Jetsons all over again, it’s all so passé. It’s not about our real future.
What is the real future of fashion then?
The real future is about being an individual. Finding a style that works for you, the real you. The fashion world is so global now with Zara and H&M, that it makes it easy for you to be in fashion even if you are not rich. You can buy something at H&M, wear it for three months then move on. You see more and more people wearing Hermes clothing, coupled with a Zara coat. It’s all about being more individualistic.
Compare how women dress in Florence to those walking around in Milan or in Rome.
A woman in Milan is serious but modern, intellect chic, not boring nor predictable. She usually wears Prada. A woman from Florence is proud to have an aristocratic grandfather and shows this by wearing a vintage Emilio Pucci piece or vintage Gucci from the 60s and 70s. A woman from Florence is about heritage, very bourgeois. A woman in Rome is very sharp, wears lots of color, sparkly jewels and high heels. Rome is a completely different culture. Rome would be Cavalli. It’s all ok—all three ways. It’s just that Italy is such a schizophrenic kind of country!
There are so many cultures within the 20 regions, but yet it is one country. So it makes sense to have such different styles in the way we dress. Look at how we cook (or use to), we have 10 different ways to make the same tomato sauce.
Any new recommendations for the female in the market for something new and different?
Invest more money in what you can’t see at first glance. Buy beautiful lingerie and have it made to measure. Spend money on things that are closest to your body. Under a plain white simple tee shirt with no logo, wear expensive lingerie. In fact, that is the secret for sex—under that simple tee, a man doesn’t expect to find gorgeous lingerie. Same with perfume. Personalize your fragrance. Smell is also one of the senses we are losing. Take four to six months to find the right scent, perfume is your sign. It’s your own language. Design your own perfume, mix it together, make it yours-again, be an individual.