Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Style Profile - Gianni Agnelli

Gianni Agnelli - 1921-2003 - Head of Fiat

Popularized and epitomized Italian Sprezzatura fashion. Sprezzatura meaning "Artful Dishevelment", was accomplished by Agnelli by wearing his watch over his shirt cuff, twisting his tie, wearing no shoes or interesting shoes (see the boots below) and wearing short ties. Agnelli also wore beautifully tailored Caraceni suits that fit him perfectly, matching those suits with the Sprezzatura elements.

Gianni Agnelli played with the subtle elements of his outfits, while following the rules on the basics of his outfit. Notice how his suits are made out of great materials and tailored to fit him perfectly. The suits are always appropriate, which allow him to wear a shorter than normal tie, or wear his watch over his cuff.

Agnelli played up the sprezzatura elements of his outfits to disconcert his rivals and to allow others to misjudge his competence. Agnelli capitalized on his competitions under estimation.

Gianni Agnelli's ability to dress with style and become a style icon should be studied. As Agnelli would want you to remember, keep it stylish but non-chalant, keep it classic, keep it personalized, keep it fun.


  1. Does anyone know how to tie the sprezzaturra knot that Princely Count Vitus Sebastian Barbaro invented? Barbaro is an automobile designer and aerospace engineer who presented a concept for the Ferrari Enzo to the Fiat Group in the late 90's. He's about the same age as Gianni Agnelli's grandson Lapo Elkann.

  2. It's called the "Barbaro knot", and he invented it with a specific purpose in mind. It is wider at the top to fill the space between a spread collar and sweeps down in a curving manner to a subtle base more like a 4-in-the-hand. It is the "it" knot for ties and unlike any other knot out there. All types of Windsors are clunky and the 4-in-the-hand is very skimpy for a spread collar. The Prince Albert knot doesn't hold well at all, but the Barbaro knot is the perfect mix: hip, stylish and loaded with Sprezzatura. Unfortunately, I don't know how to make it.

  3. There is a post on the Barbaro knot at the GQ forums under "Princely Count Vitus Sebastian Barbaro".
    GQ will probably be your best place to find info on how to make it.