The watch on the shirt cuff
A stylistic quirk rather than a symbol of the Gianni Agnelli’s unmistakable taste . Universally recognised as one of the most elegant men in the world, interpreter of a masculine, unique, original style, with a sometimes extra-vagrant trait and destined to be studied, analysed and eventually imitated by several generations, not just by aspiring managers. One hundred years after the Fiat Patron birth, founder of what, rightly or wrongly, would have been defined as the real Italian royal family, the choir of celebrations destined to recall a legendary life, for his passions and profession, could not ignore that innate elegance, from an aesthetic taste that is never purely formal.
Born on March 12, 1921 in Turin, his beloved and favourite city until his end, in 2003, at the age of 82, which for him, cosmopolitan and traveler, would remain the centre of the universe together with the Fiat company. Giovanni Agnelli was the great protagonist of the economic life of the country, between 1960 and the 1980s, in a very delicate twenty-year period that combined industrial reconstruction and class struggle, factory claims and first strikes, to the discovery of a new well-being of the middle class.
But, the lawyer, with that capital “L”, for over 50 years at the top of Fiat, would also become the great interpreter of the best Italian style worldwide. Made of good tailoring and good manners ,combined with casual imperfections, were of style or of character, like the slightly misaligned tie knot, the sportier down jacket, instead of the classic coat, worn over a tailored suit, the curiosity that exercised the best feminine charm on him.
Handsome, rich, of excellent births and high bourgeois education, Donna Virginia Bourbon del Monte’s second of the seven children, American heiress, of high lineage, decisive in the formation of the Agnelli style. Nourished from an early age by taste, kindness, curiosity and irony, along with the marinara tailcoat, GIANNI Agnelli has become a true symbol of Italian style, on both sides of the ocean. The Italian Kennedy, as it would later be defined for his passion for the Brooks Brothers’ bottom down shirts, the one that dressed presidents and university professors, the power culture and the symbol for a suit.
Lover of sports, in his heart Juventus and Ferrari together with the Mediterranean sea, Agnelli often personally steered in a blue shirt or shirtless, his Yacht Agneta, which, on a cruise that remained legendary in the jet set world, also hosted an enthusiastic Jackie Kennedy Onassis. With the same aristocratic ease, he moved on the more international political stage, in gray grisaille and suede boots, necessary after a juvenile car accident on the Cote d’Azur. Impeccable and unmistakable style, whether it was a formal suit or jeans, in the Senate room, in the factory or in the family.
Next to the lawyer, Donna Marella Caracciolo, his lifelong partner, a Avedon swan, often dressed in Valentino, the Villar Perosa gardens architect, the Turin hill residence decorated by Renzo Mongiardino. A coherent style manifesto for a couple still capable of intriguing and enchanting today’s world.