Meet design maverick Lapo Elkann

The grandson of legendary Fiat industrialist Gianni Agnelli talks style, sentiment, collaborations and Juventus - the football club his family owns.

November 16, 2016

Lapo Elkann, founder of design company Italia Independent, collaborates with giant brands such as Ferrari, Hublot and Adidas to create customised pieces of design, a philosophy he carries into his personal life and style. 

Where is home for you these days?
Today my hometown has become Milan, not due to love but due to convenience; it’s my base for work. It’s one of the best cities in Europe to move around in, it’s grown in the last few years and has a lot of new energy after the Expo.

Truthfully, I’d love to live by the sea. Do you collect things?
I collect watches and cars. I have a few Hublots and a few vintage Rolexes. I find them at auction or I have good friends in the watch industry who help me. I find auctions exciting; you can find different pieces that are cheaper and it’s amusing. Today I’m wearing a Hublot Ferrari watch. 

How do you get dressed every day?
I don’t like fashion, it annoys me. I don’t buy from fashion brands and I don’t follow fashion. I create my own style because I don’t like being told what to wear or how to dress. I’m inspired by vintage clothing from the past – English military or Italian flamboyant cuts for example. Every trip and every person can inspire me. I feel creativity comes from everywhere so I dress according to my mood when I wake up. There are no rules.

But you always insist on quality, is that right?
Yes, I love quality but I love basics too. I go to the best tailors in the world but I also wear pieces from Adidas, H&M, Levi’s, Zara and Uniqlo. Wearing a bespoke suit with a Zara t-shirt is great. I like to ride my scooter and drive a Ferrari; I fly Easyjet but I also like to travel on a private jet.

How do you feel about jewellery?
I wear it once in a while but I don’t like the word jewellery, I prefer the term ‘personal belongings’. I believe pieces need to be personal to me and not just a fashionable item.

Do you have a style rule that you never break?
I believe that details make the difference. I always have the Italian flag stitched on the lapel of my jackets and cuffs for example. Details are what make you win or lose, in life, business, everything.

Are you sentimental about clothing?
I used to be, but not anymore. I’m bored of possessions. A few years ago I sold my houses in London and New York. Less is more, I think. 

What triggered that decision?
I love to create watches, cars or sunglasses but once it’s done I want to do the next thing. I’m not attached to things; attachment stops you from going forward. Enzo Ferrari was asked which was his favourite Ferrari and he always used to say, “The next one.” I feel the same.

What attracts you to working with Hublot?
Companies are made of people and with Jean-Claude Biver [shareholder] and Ricardo Guadalupe [CEO] I felt the right energy and emotion. Whatever idea I come to them with, they don’t say no, they say “let’s try.” Hublot loves innovation and tradition; they don’t have fear of the unknown and that is key.

As a big Juventus fan, who were your football heroes growing up?
I liked [Alessandro] Del Piero and Edgar Davids who they used to call Pitbull. I’m lucky to have met these players. My grandfather, uncle and cousin have been chairmen of the football club and seeing the team win cups is emotional for me.

What do you think of the Juventus shirt from a design point of view?
The black and white shirt is iconic, one of the most important jerseys in football I think. I worked on the zebra print third shirt this year with Adidas, and I hope one day to work on the home jersey. I believe Juventus is an iconic team like the New York Yankees in baseball, but I’m Juventino so maybe I’m biased!