Menswear designer Filippo Ricci on growing up in a fashion household, the biggest trends, and Italy's most beautiful sights
In his blood
As the son of Stefano Ricci, the man behind the suiting supreme known to dress the world's richest men, one could be forgiven for imagining Filippo's childhood to be swathed in the finest silk, framed by the glimmering light bouncing off the gold bars in his throne of a crib. (We kid) Yet, aside from the private museum tours and the first class fashion education he received alongside his older sibling and the future CEO of the company, Niccolò, from the moment they could spell 'tie', creative director Filippo's favourite memories of his early years are that of the remarkably conventional (though no less poignant) sort.
Perhaps it's this balance of (let's be honest) unbridled luxury and humble tradition that inspire the brand's aesthetic — part refined, part relaxed, all quality and elegance. On Venitian grounds, fashion editor Jolene Khor views the brand's fall/winter 2020 collection and sneaks in a few minutes with the young Ricci to discover the inspirations that drive the craft.
What was it like growing up in the Ricci household?
It was very natural, for many reasons. When I would leave school, I would go to study at my grandmother's house. This family villa was where the company was founded by my parents, on the ground floor. I breathed in the smell of the textiles, touched the silks, and I saw the foreign guests who spoke to my father. As my brother Niccolò and I grew up, we were always involved in the dinners and trade fairs like Pitti Uomo. We had our first professional experiences in business before we started university.
What are your favourite childhood memories?
Having lunch at my grandmother's house, with the whole family gathered around the table to eat typical Tuscan dishes. This moment was all our own, in a place where we could joke and laugh freely.
What's your fondest memory of fashion?
Visiting historic buildings in Florence with my father. We would observe the paintings at the Uffizi Gallery (which houses works from the Italian Renaissance), and the clothes depicted for emperors, leaders, and thinkers. We noticed how style has changed over the centuries. This stimulated my interest in the fashion world, alongside my participation in men's fashion shows where I saw different proposals in garment cuts and colours.
You were born into a fashion family. Do you think you'd be in a fashion business otherwise?
I wanted to be an astronaut! [Laughs] But I jest; without a doubt, mine was a natural path. I have always felt a vocation for creativity. I don't know if fashion would have been my destiny, but I would have found creativity regardless.
What's the best part about working with family. And the hardest part?
The best part is represented by dinners at my parent's home, where my mother is the real boss. [Laughs] That's when we make the most important decisions. It's only us four: my father Stefano, my mother Claudia, my brother Niccolò and myself. No one else. The most complex part is to maintain our balance in the view of some physiological aspects of life in any society; but once again, we can count on my mother to be our backbone in this.
How would you describe yourself as a designer?
I'm a curious person. I love to experiment, to go beyond the limits. I find inspiration in details that others may consider insignificant. True wealth consists of travelling, meeting other cultures, and reinterpreting what our nature and ingenuity has produced to date. I search to transform this all into an emotion of the future.
What are the biggest menswear trends in 2020?
This is an answer that I leave to others. My father has never considered trends; he prefers to reason with quality. In a way, he did not chase the fashion but on the contrary, he often anticipated it. Starting from the classic man, in all his forms, we have arrived at the definition of the dynamic man and our history certifies it. My parents first started with a collection of ties, which were followed by shirt and leather goods collections. From here, they moved to the total look, and then to accessories. Today, our company offers the highest expression of luxury lifestyle, embracing interior design, the SR Home collection as well as the new SR Luxury Tech and SR Ski lines. Not to forget enhancing elements such as SR Wines, with Giorgio Pinchiorri couvée, and the OpusX-Stefano Ricci cigar.
Masculinity has been redefined in much of the world, thanks to progress in feminism. Has that had any effect on you as a menswear designer?
Through travelling, you discover many things. I have seen men look for softer shapes, devote more time to themselves when choosing a fabric, a cut or a sportier style. Stefano Ricci is the expression of 100% Made-in-Italy menswear with a high manufacturing component, and we will never give up our DNA.
How do you spend summers in Italy?
On a boat, with my son Stefano.
Where's your favourite place in Italy, and why?
Italy is beautiful in all its forms. There are cities of art, seaside resorts, mountains, and small villages. I am privileged to have been born and raised in a city like Florence. I like the dynamism of Milan, as well as the opulence of Rome. Believe me, it's difficult to choose. This is why I decided to set our collections in the places of great beauty.
What do you wear on a daily basis?
My wardrobe has been rigorously tailored so that it offers solutions for every moment of the day. I prefer soft jackets and knitwear in silk and cashmere blends. I don't mind wearing sneakers in a combination of colours and materials with my look, but if a black tie evening has been planned, then I'm happy.
Is there anything you'll never design?
Never say never. [Laughs]
What do you have most in your closet?
Extra-fine cotton shirts, in a variety of colours and designs.
If we were to peek at your closet, what would someone be surprised to find?
An important presence of technical garments for my free time. I love to run at the first light of dawn and to walk through a forest even if the temperatures are extreme. For someone like me who leads a full social life, this is a rare trait.
What's one thing you used to wear a lot, but don't anymore?
Garments from other brands. With the growth of Stefano Ricci, we have continuously included wardrobe elements that honestly represent the highest level of craftsmanship alongside an absolute quality of materials.
Bows or ties?
Oxfords or loafers?
That depends on the circumstance.
Pocket square, or no pocket square?
Pocket squares all the way!
Milan or Florence?
Pasta or pizza?