Born 65 years ago into an aristocratic and well-connected family from Italy’s Piedmont region, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo was a racing driver before an impassioned performance on a radio show caught the attention of Enzo Ferrari. The legendary carmaker employed Montezemolo as his assistant in 1973, and put him in charge of his racing team a year later. These days Montezemolo is chairman of Ferrari (among other things), but despite the car company’s flashy image his dress remains resolutely classic. A close examination of his clothes reveals just how many different elements come together to produce the apparently effortless style that we Brits are often tempted to envy.
Montezemolo’s business dress is very conservative, and consists of a series of grey and blue bespoke suits, many, but not all, of which are double breasted with wide lapels, but without pocket flaps. He combines these with either a white or a pale blue shirt, and usually with a navy blue tie. Rarely seen without a pocket square Montezemolo’s shirt cuffs are invariably protruding beyond the end of his jacket’s sleeves, he wears long socks and isn’t afraid to wear brown suede shoes with his business suits. It appears that he’s been wearing the same kind of clothes for decades, making few concessions to fashion except for some minor variation in the length of his hair.
However, before a man thinks that by using the above checklist he can easily emulate Montezemolo’s style it should be noted that a certain carelessness is a defining characteristic of the Italian’s dress. The most obvious expression of this is his habit of fastening his double-breasted jackets with only the bottom button, but it’s as much about attitude as it is about affectations.
Three things Luca Cordero di Montemolo can teach us:
1. There’s nothing wrong about sticking to a very sober colour palette.
2. Dressing well involves a lot of repetition.
3. There is no substitute for a bespoke suit.