Carlo Brandelli, former creative director of Kilgour, came into the agency today to give one of our occasional talks from interesting and inspiring figures from the broader world of creativity.
Carlo didn't go to fashion college, but learnt from the artisans and craftsmen who surrounded him as he was growing up in Italy. He founded his own successful label Squire, bringing together the worlds of art and fashion, at the age of 24.
Kilgour, the famous Savile Row tailor responsible for dressing some of the most elegant men in the world (Cary Grant and Fred Astaire among them) approached Carlo in 1998 to design their first ready to wear collections. In October 2003 Carlo joined Kilgour full time as Creative and Design Director, with the brief ‘to create a new kind of menswear brand,blending menswear skill and heritage with modern design‘. He brought the company into the new millennium with a sleek new store, and a pared-down collection that adhered to his own strict aesthetic.
In 2005 he won the Menswear Designer Of The Year award, presented by the British Fashion Council, the highest award of its kind in the country, and was voted GQ Magazine's most stylish man. A menswear design award from Arena magazine also followed and an award from British Esquire in 2007 for best menswear fashion brand. A debut Fashion Menswear Show in Paris June 2008 was received with critical acclaim. He has a raft of nominations from GQ magazine for Menswear Designer of the Year and is a fixture in their 'top 50 best dressed men' list.
So he's just the sort of guy to debate the finer points of sartorial elegance with W+K style gurus like Gav, Dazzer and Danny Wallace: men for whom socks with sandals qualifies as 'a look'.
It was a fascinating talk and really interesting to hear of the similarities and differences between the worlds of fashion and advertising.
Similar: a lot of the creative work only gets produced in the pressured environment of the impending deadline; the creative process never seems to be easy; customers can be difficult and demanding; there are all sorts of category rules there to be broken; you get to see your clients with no clothes on. (I'm thinking here, in our case, of saunas with Nokia rather than fitting sessions with Tony Blair or Bryan Ferry.)
Different: there is no 'brief' in the world of fashion (though there can be some strict design parameters); budgets are much smaller; dressing as a banana probably not OK when meeting with Jude Law to discuss his suiting requirements.