Incognito: Giotto, Creative Director of Grand-Pa

For the fashion enthusiast, he is the street style muse we dream of turning our boyfriends into. I mean if you own an Instagram account then chances are you have regrammed, liked or frothed over one of Giotto Calendoli’s many trending photos. As a permanent fixture during Fashion Week, the stylish Italian is regularly photographed on the arm of equally fashionable Patricia Manfield. Giving a whole new meaning to his and hers dressing, the duo are notorious for putting together the kind of outfits that would make Tommy Ton weak at the knees a little. Not to be mistaken for a Britney and Justin denim on denim moment, heck no! Each ensemble offers the perfect marriage between luxurious pieces and high street, in looks that are anything but contrived. Because Giotto isn’t a slave to labels, he is a man who just knows good style.

For the fashion trendsetter, however, who is always on the lookout for the next big thing, Giotto Calendoli is anything but someone’s arm candy. Having launched successful lifestyle website The Atelier , the Milan-based creative is swiftly expanding his portfolio to include creative direction and design. Drawing on his attention to detail, love for fine tailoring and research obtained by roaming the worlds’ most fashionable streets, Giotto has turned his attention to Italian label Grand-Pa. Launching with a line of hand-crafted hats, the kind you would expect to see on Italian men who don’t need an excuse to dress up, the designs offer a telling glimpse of what is to come.

As we eagerly await to see what fashionable move Giotto pulls next, we asked the Creative Director to give us an insight into role role at Grand – Pa, the menswear label your boyfriend should be watching.

Firstly tell us what your role as Creative Director involves?
My first and only one rule is to get creative, that is what made me want to start and keep doing this.

Describe a typical day in the life of Giotto?
Well… every day is different from the other. But I wake up, have breakfast and if I can I work out (I love working out early in the morning at the gym) and if I don’t have appointments, I love to stay in my office and do a lot of research and work with my lovely team.

What do you think makes a good Creative Director?
In my opinion a good Creative Director has to know how to manage teamwork, share ideas with everybody. I think the key is to listen and learn.

What would people not expect of your role?
That I am bit crazy when it comes to ideas, and I can’t sleep or eat – I’m on another planet and sometimes I can get very weird 🙂

What do you love most about your role?
Being independent, working on my own project… because it is something that keeps me awake and I never get bored because it all depends on me.

What’s the hardest thing about your role?
When your brain is on  (I call it) ‘”airplane mode’’, because you need to keep trying to think about something new but sometimes you can get creative blocks.

Where did you get experience from?
I got experience just by analyzing the clothes of my grandfather that I’ve never met. I had and I still have issues when it comes to shopping so basically I fixed all my grandpa’s clothes and at the same time I stared to replicate them with different shapes, textures, buttons – until I decided to start the brand and continue what he started.

I have never studied design but I have always loved making a suit or jacket for myself – it’s a real passion of mine.

Where did it all begin?
When my grandma opened my grandfather’s wardrobe for the first time.

Why hats?
Good question.. first of all I am obsessed with hats, and I think my first limited edition hat collection was more me at the moment than anything else… hats are something super personal and it’s my favourite accessory.

For the first season I decided to made only 50 pieces so I thought that the first one has to be available only on my platform ( I am so proud because  they are almost sold out and I did everything by myself  in terms of pr and communication, but for the next season it’s gonna be different because I have received a lot of request from different platforms, shops and distibutors so stay tuned

Who is the GrandPa customer?
I think the GrandPa customers are 3 categories: the first one is my male public, men that love to wear simple and good quality clothes, who trust my point of view and who have difficulty in finding the right clothes in designer collections or high street brands. The second one is composed by women, the ones who love a masculine touch in their wardrobe and are comfortable enough with their personalities to own it. The last (but not least) category is made by people who generally love an evergreen and don’t just live off of trends.

What sets GrandPa apart from the other hat labels out there?
GrandPa is not an hat label, it is only starting out with hats. But when it comes to hats, I think  GrandPa is a beautifully made product from Italy, with an infinite passion, attention to detail and for a reasonable price. All hats are handmade by only one Italian artisan who makes each and every hat different from the others. The black hat box in leather is also a detail people who receive the hat at home really appreciate. GrandPa makes it unique because of the story behind it.

I think that choosing the right fabrics is the first step to make a great hat. I always try to pick the best quality. My hats are made in Milan in this tiny “Bottega”. I remember the first time that I went there, a feeling that I’ve never felt in my life, something really unique.

Tell us about the brand name?
I got inspired by my grandfather, Giotto, that I’ve never met, but I inherited all his clothes which magically fitted perfectly on me, so I decided to call my brand GrandPa in honor of my grandfather.

What’s next?
I love the word next. My next step is going to be another collection of hats plus boots or sunglasses, basically GrandPa will be the image of my lifestyle – think hats, boots, sunglasses, flannel shirts, sheep jackets and of course alot of collaborations with specialised brands. I’m not talking about a total look necessarily but about the key pieces in a man’s wardrobe.

Homepage photo courtesy of Adam Katz Sinding