Designer Q+AMeet Gucci's Former Head of Tailoring Who’s Now Revamping Boglioli
Read our Q+A with Boglioli designer Davide Marello, who's pushing the soft-shouldered Italian tailoring masters into the new no-rules era of modern suiting.
Five years ago, when the online #menswear movement hit a critical mass, Boglioli was known mostly to industry insiders, magazine editors, and sharp-as-hell Milanese men who all coveted the label's innovative “soft” jackets: unstructured, unlined, and garment-washed to look and feel like you've been living in them for years.
Basically, Boglioli was the exact opposite of the starched, stiff aesthetic you see on trading floors and in law offices, and the small buys at specialty retailers in the States sold through faster than gelato melts in August.
Then, last year, Boglioli CEO Giovanni Mannucci tapped young-gun designer Davide Marello—who clocked nine years as head of tailored clothing at Gucci—to be its first-ever creative director. An inaugural runway show was staged, and Boglioli came out looking like an all-new brand.
Yes, the suits and blazers were still there, but Marello added piles of cozy knits, Schnabel-grade pajama shirts, and fashion-forward outerwear like hooded car coats, bombers, and colorful dusters with leather accents—all built on Boglioli's light-as-air chassis. “I wanted to fill the rest of a modern man's closet,” Marello says. “I wanted to complete his arsenal.”
All the cashmere-and-wool-washing technology that Boglioli perfected has paid off: At Boglioli's fall show in Milan, Marello sent buttery leather goods and fabric after lust-worthy fabric down the runway. “We have a lot of material treated with this frost effect,” he says, “which gives it a bit of sheen but still retains the softness.”
Below, Marello, who still spends his free time squaring off in foosball matches against Gucci's Alessandro Michele, discusses his Gucci experience, how "personal style" is changing tailoring, and Boglioli's first New York store.
GQ Style: Boglioli has long been known for it’s tailoring, but recently it’s been pushing more into fashion. What do you think the brand had in mind by bringing you on?
Davide Marello: My position is not a big change, I don’t think. The image of the brand was already very good. Boglioli already took a more relaxed approach to tailoring, while still making very beautiful garments—and I didn’t want to change that.
What were the first few things you knew you wanted to do when you got the job?
Before, Boglioli was more about product and less about storytelling. There wasn’t much imagination. What I wanted to do was create a silhouette, a man, a lifestyle around this man.
Boglioli has always been known for its unstructured and soft blazers and jackets. What are a few surprises a newcomer to the brand might find now?
I don’t want to play too much in fashion. There are a lot of brands much better at that. When I first arrived here I immediately understood that Boglioli had a following that loved the brand. I didn’t want to change that. So of course the jacket and suits are important. That’s the core business. But I’m also trying to use other things—like outerwear and knitwear—so it feels more like a complete collection. I’m filling in the pieces. A car coat, a peacoat. We’re developing new tuxedos. Tailoring is my bread and butter. I worked at Gucci as head of tailoring for 10 years. But we had a lot of chances within the team at Gucci to get to a bunch of different things outside of tailoring. There is a natural need to work on something new. So it’s interesting for me to approach things outside of the suits.
How have you seen the brand change and evolve since you’ve come in? Do you approach things differently now that the brand is growing?
Everyone is talking about personal style, and that’s something I really like. Everyone is trying to refresh tailoring and classic menswear—something born from sportswear. Accessories and what you pair with it makes a big difference. You can wear sneakers, a tie with sneakers, you can skip the tie. You can wear a T-shirt and it all works. You can be cool without being too classic. Right now you can easily do something personal to make classic tailoring fresher. I cannot tell you there is a trick, but everyone has their own tricks. There are no rules now. That’s the difference between the past and now.
You guys just opened a New York store. What can a man expect to find there?
Yes, the store is on Bond Street. We worked with studio Dimore in Milan. The coolest studio. We also opened a Milan shop but this is a bit different—it’s more representative of New York. I think that’s what’s contemporary in retail right now. Instead of every door in every country being the same, each has its own identity.
What are your favorite pieces in the fall collection?
It’s like choosing a son—which son do you prefer? I cannot wait to wear the double breasted trench coat. It looks like a winter coat but is super light.