ESQ&A

Yes, re­ally—in fact, it might come as an even big­ger sur­prise to hear that menswear isn’t even new to the brand that you as­so­ciate with a hot date night. We speak to Chiara Scagli, CEO of La Perla’s Asia-Pa­cific di­vi­sion, about over­com­ing that mis­con­cepti

Esquire (Singapore) - - Contents -

Jens Hen­ning Koch, Ex­ec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent of Mont­blanc.

Esquire: Could you tell me more about the rea­sons be­hind La Perla’s de­ci­sion to en­ter the menswear mar­ket? Chiara Scagli: La Perla has been do­ing menswear for a cou­ple of decades. It’s not some­thing that’s su­per new for us. In the past, we fo­cused on box­ers, un­der­wear, T-shirts and swimwear. In the scene in Casino Royale where James Bond walks out of the ocean in a pair of blue swim shorts, those were La Perla.

So, we’ve been mak­ing items in that world for quite a while, and have al­ways had a very loyal base of male clients, but men’s and women’s shopping be­hav­iour is quite dif­fer­ent. Men come into the store, buy 10 white box­ers, 10 black box­ers, 10 white T-shirts and 10 black T-shirts, and go “see you in six months”. ( Laughs) Or they have a place in Lon­don, and they need to stock up on ba­sics. So, they have a set there, and a set in New York.

We thought that since we have en­tered the world of women’s ready-towear, and have the skillset to do menswear too, why not? We want our men and women to look equally great.

Esquire: Do the col­lec­tions share a sim­i­lar DNA? Chiara Scagli: Yes and no. The men don’t have the same flo­ral prints that you see in the women’s col­lec­tion, but the goal of our clothes is the same. We want to make our men’s clothes as com­fort­able as our women’s. That’s num­ber one.

We also want the clothes to be prac­ti­cal, that’s why we add stretch to our fab­rics. It means they are wrin­klere­sis­tant and “re­cover” eas­ily. For ex­am­ple, when you’re wear­ing a pullo-

ver, wrin­kles usu­ally start to form at the el­bows as the day pro­gresses. With the high qual­ity of fab­rics, mixed with the stretch that we use, that doesn’t hap­pen with a La Perla pullover.

An­other sim­i­lar­ity shared by the col­lec­tions is that we want them to be co­her­ent, from A to Z. That means from the un­der­wear to the jack­ets, ev­ery­thing speaks the same lan­guage.

Esquire: Who is the La Perla man? Chiara Scagli: All men are La Perla men, and it’s the same with women. We want to of­fer our clients a year­round ex­pe­ri­ence. That means we are the only lux­ury brand that you can wear 24 hours a day lit­er­ally. You can sleep in your La Perla py­ja­mas, wake up and put your La Perla robe on, have a shower, then put your La Perla box­ers, trousers, socks, T-shirt and shoes on, be­fore slip­ping into your La Perla blazer be­fore leav­ing home. It’s the same con­cept for beach­wear. When you go on hol­i­day, we have ev­ery­thing from swim trunks to linen shirts and beach shorts, all from La Perla.

Esquire: In that sense, La Perla func­tions as a one-stop shop for all your cloth­ing needs? Chiara Scagli: For women, we have sun­glass and per­fume, and we will be launch­ing our sun­glasses col­lec­tion for men for Spring/Sum­mer’18. Ex­cept for ski and scuba suits, we pretty much have any­thing that a man would need. ( Laughs) But yes, that’s the goal, a on­estop shop.

Esquire: To be hon­est, when I first heard that La Perla was do­ing menswear, it was con­fus­ing. It’s hard to dis­as­so­ci­ate La Perla from sexy un­der­gar­ments. It’s a dou­ble-edged sword. Do you feel like that is a stereo­type you would like to change?

Chiara Scagli: I think what you say is right: when men think of La Perla, they think about beau­ti­ful girls in sexy lin­gerie, or they think about their bet­ter halves in sexy lin­gerie—which is fine.

But I think that is the greatest chal­lenge that La Perla faces when ap­proach­ing menswear. There are many brands that started out do­ing only wom­enswear, but evolved into of­fer­ing made-to-mea­sure for men and so on. It took a while for that to hap­pen. The added dif­fi­culty for us is that La Perla isn’t just as­so­ci­ated with wom­enswear, but lin­gerie, which is very fem­i­nine.

Be­ing as­so­ci­ated with some­thing so fem­i­nine is a chal­lenge for us, but it is some­thing that in time will mat­ter less to men be­cause they are be­com­ing more open-minded, even more re­spect­ful to­wards women, and so ed­u­cated that they don’t care.

How­ever, what­ever the case may be, both men and women seek the best qual­ity avail­able that is also dif­fer­ent and com­fort­able. For us, that is our big­gest strength.

Esquire: What is in­side the starter pack for a man who has never tried an item from La Perla? Chiara Scagli: Box­ers and T-shirts are def­i­nitely in there. Not the un­der­shirts, but rather a good solid T-shirt, in ei­ther black or white, made from the finest Egyp­tian cot­ton. Then a pair of trousers that is for­mal enough to go well with a suit, yet made out of tech­ni­cal fab­ric that is com­fort­able enough to sleep in. Then a shirt and a pair of swim trunks to round it off. Five es­sen­tial pieces that a man can wear through­out the year.

“We thought that since we have en­tered the world of women’s readyto-wear, and have the skillset to do menswear too, why not? We want our men and women to look equally great.” – Chiara Scagli

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