Sartorial elegance can have an eloquence beyond words. But we wanted words anyway from Stefano Gaudioso Tramonte, style director for the Italian menswear brand Corneliani, so we put him on the spot with a few questions. Here’s what he told us.How would you describe the Corneliani man?
“Today it is quite difficult to speak about a specific ‘kind’ of man. I prefer to speak about a ‘tribe’; that is, it’s less about age and more about your social environment and about your culture. Customers choose something not only because of the brand and the actual product, but even more because they feel that they belong to the same world as the brand they are buying. In the case of Corneliani, it’s refined and sophisticated. The Corneliani man knows what’s going on. He’s sensitive to beauty and authenticity; he’s spending money to live an experience, not to own products. He’s an elegant globe-trotter who loves Italy. No matter the age and nationality, our consumers are driven by experience, uniqueness and elegance.”
Tell us a bit about the brand’s sartorial psyche.
“Corneliani is devoted to excellence. We want to be the curators and creators of Italian style for men. We have a unique style and a distinctive and instinctive sense of Italian refinement and sophistication that comes from our origins, our heritage. Staying true to our roots, we relentlessly uphold the passion of Italian sophistication and lifestyle. Using the best Italian craftsmanship, we wish to create much more than a product: We want to deliver a service, a way of life and an ultimate experience of Italian excellence.”
What is your background?
“I was born in Milan in the ’70s, and part of my family was already active in the fashion industry. I grew up in my grandma’s big showroom in the center of Milan among beautiful fabrics, furs (at that time they were popular) and lots of tailors.
When I was 21, I starting working for a European brand while still studying. It was my destiny to work in this industry, and I love it!”
Explain your role as style director and how it differs from that of the creative director.
“My role is not very common for our industry. I’m the style director, but at the same time I’m also the general merchandising manager. That means that on one side I have ownership of the creative aspects of the job; on the other, I need to be very analytical and aware of the competition. I have a great team supporting me in both roles, style and merchandising.”
What has been your biggest accomplishment since joining the brand in 2016?
“From a ‘social’ point of view, I was very happy to be one of GQ’s Best-Dressed Men in 2019. Professionally, I’m proud to have the respect of the people I work with every day. I hope this beautiful brand becomes a major player in our arena.”
What innovations can we expect from Corneliani in 2020 and beyond?
“For SS20, Corneliani debuts Circle, a collection of garments made exclusively of natural and organic fibers from suppliers who have embarked on the path of sustainability. With this project, we are renewing our ties with our longstanding clients and new eco-sustainable consumers, who are increasingly attentive to the ‘nature’ of what they choose to wear. This approach represents an alignment with the methods, certifications and international standards that regulate the compatibility of industrial processes. Innovation is very important, and we are always looking for new ways to represent our DNA. Presently, we are launching a new superlight knit jacket from an Italian supplier that modified its weaving machines to produce a sort of knitted fabric.”
What about comfort and fit?
“Today, comfort is the key word! We want to wear garments inside and outside, at work and during the weekend. We want to feel at ease and at the same time elegant—in every situation. Basically: effortless elegance in every moment.”
What’s a staple in your wardrobe from Corneliani and beyond?
“My style is very simple, as my rule is ‘less is more.’ So in my wardrobe you will find straight-leg vintage Levi’s 501, T-shirts and sneakers. Of course, I have a lot of Corneliani garments, but my favorite is a Corneliani deconstructed and unlined blue suit in a special and exclusive fabric called Flawless. It is a wool Super 160s fabric, which, thanks to the use of nanotechnology to treat the yarn, is made waterproof, anti-stain and non-creasing.”
What inspires you?
“The truth is, I find inspiration every day from real life. I’m a very curious person, and I love contemporary art, movies, music. There’s no structured process; it can come from small things. Of course, traveling and learning about new cultures and new habits always let my mind run.”
Name a fashion icon you admire.
“Audrey Hepburn, for her simple and clean timeless elegance. And Robert Redford for the same reasons.”
Tell us something about you that people might not know.
“I’m not a compulsive collector, but I love Adidas Superstar trainers. I have them in all possible colors. I’m a size 12, and it’s hard for me to find the right size, so whenever I find a nice pair, I buy them.”
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
“‘Always put yourself in the shoes of other people before judging them.’ And it comes from my mom, my grandpa, my aunt—my whole family.”
When you’re not working, where can we find you?
“I don’t have much free time, so when I am free, I’m with my family.”
What are you most proud of? “My two wonderful daughters.”
Do you have any regrets? “No. I have a great job. I love what I do. I have a
wonderful family; they are my life. I am a 47-year old-happy man.”
Has the social climate of inclusivity and gender fluidity affected your vision? “Fluidity and inclusivity are the dominant characteristics of our time. This continual rhythm of change seems to dictate the beat of a new style. Fashion responds to this, offering concepts suited to the new geographic and existential nomadic restlessness, and ‘hybridization’ becomes the key word for men’s fashion. It is the most modern combination of tailored garments and sportswear.
Corneliani’s SS20 collection has been built around an idea of subtle effortlessness. For this reason, I worked to find new ways to mix and morph worlds and solutions—effortlessly. Informality is the new luxury, mixing shapes and functions, playing with materials, wearing progressive proportions. The result: effortless elegance.”
By Rita Guarna