LELLO CALDARELLI, PRESIDENT AND CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF ANTONY MORATO, SHARES HIS VIEWPOINT ON MENSWEAR FROM HIS SEAT AT THE HELM OF ONE OF THE FASTEST GROWING BRANDS IN THE WORLD
The creative director of Antony Morato shares his viewpoint on menswear from his seat at the helm of one of the fastest growing brands in the world
Compared to many other global fashion houses—including other Italian establishments—Antony Morato is still a budding brand, having started its journey as the dream of three brothers a mere nine years ago. Yet, as early as 2012, it has expanded into at least 50 countries. And since last year, the brand already landed on Indonesian shores.
At the helm of this flourishing business sits Lello Caldarelli, president and creative director, who—along with his brothers Tania and Giovanni—has made quite a name for himself with a design direction that is both contemporary and distinctive, both Italian and global. It surely doesn’t hurt that Antony Morato’s marketing efforts have always been on point, either by featuring top-billed models (including, for instance, Tobias Sørensen whom we’ve featured in a previous issue of DA MAN Style) or inventive campaigns such as #IAMWHOIAM (more on this below).
Naturally, picking the brains in charge of this intriguing brand venture is a definite eye- opener for serious fashion enthusiasts or just about anybody who would like to keep up with the ever- changing tides of contemporary menswear.
DA MAN: What’s the style direction of Antony Morato’s F/ W ’16/’17 collection? Lello Caldarelli:
The collection references the glam rock of the ’70s, the years when the rules of music and style were changing, when at the Marquee Club in London or the CBGB Club in New York City, artists appeared on stage bringing a musical proposal that clashed together rock and psychedelic music. They proposed a style never seen before. Rugged and rock music-inspired qualities mix up in the fall/winter ’16/’17 collection with optical-illusion prints inspired by the ’70s and retro designs.
DA: Which pieces do you think will be the highlight of this fall/winter season? LC:
Well-tailored outfits that represent Italian tailoring traditions, going back to contemporary materials and fits. They are to be worn in a classical way or with sneakers and a T-shirt.
DA: How far are you personally involved in the design of the collection? LC:
As the brand’s creative director, I am very involved and this is the best part of my job. Our office in Naples has more than 30 people, mostly in their late twenties, from all parts of Italy. We begin each collection by collecting creative ideas, before taking them to the next step, which is the production of the design and creating the first prototypes.
DA: What is it that sets Antony Morato apart from its competitors? LC:
Our design stems from Italian style. That is our cultural roots and we re-interpret them following contemporary fashion trends through constant innovations in fabrics, materials and inspirations from all over the world.
DA: The brand is known to be quite aggressive in terms of marketing, with strategies such as featuring a carefully selected group of individuals to wear and showcase the products. Are you employing any similar methods for the brand’s F/ W ’16/’17 campaign? LC:
In the last season we launched a new campaign called #IAMWHOIAM. This is basically a declaration of freedom and independence, by which we mean to say that the 2016 men’s collection of Antony Morato will defy every attempt by society to classify it. The world of men’s fashion is going through a little revolution that follows the traces of change in our society. Dogmas and classifications are disappearing, leaving space for the freedom of being what we want in a single click or to endlessly change our style. With #IAMWHOIAM, we will continue to collect digital stories of influencers, artists and common people who declare themselves as free through our platforms.
DA: Let’s talk a little bit about the brand’s history. It’s said that you and your brothers established the brand. What was the idea that started it all? LC:
The idea was to create a brand that responds to the requirements of a man who wants to play around with fashion and is not afraid to break the classical rules of men’s styling.
DA: By the way, can you tell us the story behind the name Antony Morato? LC:
A real fashion brand needs a name and a surname. Mine, Lello Caldarelli, was too long and difficult for an international audience. So, I invented Antony— without an H, as in the Italian-American tradition.
DA: You have three lines under the brand. Is this what you envisioned from the beginning? LC:
The subdivision into three lines was born some years ago, and we think we have rationalized the collections so that every line has a real, different and distinct identity: Black is rich in fashion and trend content; Gold is more casual and able to rewrite the rules of denim-wear; and Silver represents sportswear. One Antony Morato, three different moments of use.
DA: As the brand celebrates its 9th year today, how do you think has Antony Morato evolved so far? LC:
Nine years ago, when I first began my project, it seemed like in a dream. Now, every time I see someone wearing one of my creations, I realize that
“THE COLLECTION REFERENCES THE GLAM ROCK OF THE ’70S, THE YEARS WHEN THE RULES OF MUSIC AND STYLE WERE CHANGING”
my dream is coming true. I’m looking forward to celebrating the 10th year soon, and if I have to explain how the brand evolved I would just say: with hard work and daily perseverance.
DA: Considering the rapid expansion of the brand, what do you look for in a country before you consider moving in? LC:
We are growing a lot, and before expanding into new markets our priority is to rise in the markets where we are already present. We are a young brand. Europe still has a large potential for growth; in the Pacific area we have Korea and, of course, Indonesia where we want to increase our presence. To be “ready for Antony Morato,” a country must have a growing middle class who is curious toward fashion and eager to discover new trends.
DA: What is your ultimate goal? Will you design womenswear in the future? LC:
In the past eight years, I have always been reviewing our goals. We went so fast, that once we had our targets fixed, they were already overrun. We want to keep growing without changing our idea of product and fashion, without losing the capacity for changing and innovating. Womenswear in the future? I don’t know about that. Modern men have just begun to play around with fashion, and Antony Morato still has a lot to give to them.
DA: What do you think about the state of today’s menswear industry? What are the biggest challenges in running such a global brand? LC:
The menswear world is evolving constantly, and more and more competitors are entering into the universe of fashion with their own proposals. Therefore, there is a lot of competition, which is a problem. But at the same time, this also gives us a great impulse to always do better. Today, the main challenge for a global brand is to provide products and services without misrepresenting ourselves, without losing creativity, energy and flexibility, which are at the base of our growth.
DA: From your experience in the industry so far, what were some of the big mistakes that you learned the most from? LC:
Every day you make mistakes, and every day you get up and learn something.
“DOGMAS AND CLASSIFICATIONS ARE DISAPPEARING, LEAVING SPACE FOR THE FREEDOM OF BEING WHAT WE WANT IN A SINGLE CLICK OR TO ENDLESSLY CHANGE OUR STYLE”
Clockwise Pairing a formal blazer with grunge-styled denims; a leather jacket on top of a shirt with an opticalillusion pattern; the season’s biker denim pants
top Model Xavier Buestel wears a formal suit with leather pants
from left The season’s outwear layering; a blue ensemble with clashing patterns opposite page A stylish getup for fall/winter