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Introducing new Canali's consultant

Menswear designer Andrea Pompilio, who joins Canali as Creative Consultant this SS15, is a natural born people watcher. His forward-looking, sport-influenced designs offer a contemporary take on the Italian way of life, combining relaxed tailoring with stylish ease and a dash of colourful humour. In this special edition of Canali's 200 Steps interview series, Pompilio explores his own inspirations, musing upon key locations from his life and career ahead of his debut catwalk presentation for Canali in Milan next week.


Andrea Pompilio, Canali’s creative consultant for spring 2015, is one of Italian fashion’s brightest new stars. His endlessly inventive work (which saw him win Vogue Italia’s prestigious 'Who Is On Next' award in 2012) is an intriguing combination of contrasting elements, mixing sportswear with tailoring, humour with formality, a subtle eye for colour with a love of dazzling prints.

Born in Pesaro, Italy, in 1973 Pompilio describes his creative world as a 'melting pot' of influences, drawn from sources including architecture, the history of menswear and the colour-soaked films of Wong Kar Wai. Fittingly, for his profession, he’s something of a cultural magpie, continually seeking out rare books and vintage magazines for his personal library and spending days in factory archives researching prints and patterns. But he’s also a natural born people watcher, always on the look out in every day situations, gathering the crucial details that give his clothes such personality.

'Since I was a kid, I’ve always observed a lot – checking people out, looking at other kids like me. I can’t stop watching people and dreaming where they’re going or where they’re coming from. That’s one of my biggest inspirations, more important, probably than films or books. Looking at the people that surround me, who are next to me. I can still remember some things that I noticed 20 years ago.'

As a child in the 80s, spending weekends with his cousin in his grandmother’s fashion boutique, Pompilio had plenty of people to watch, from the lurex-drizzled customers who browsed through the racks to his own grandfather – an impeccably dressed gentleman who he will always remember for his sharp, pin-striped suits and burgundy shoes. Since then, he’s filled countless sketchbooks with drawings of people, buildings and unexpected details that catch his eye, often when he’s on the move.

'Sometimes I do sketches sitting at a bar or restaurant, sometimes I find an image in an old magazine somewhere and I sketch that. It can be anything that gets me started – a restaurant sign, a piece of clothing, small details, a piece of furniture. I love to work this way. This is at the beginning of a season – at a certain point I come back to my office and put together all the things I’ve seen. And from that point the collection starts to grow up, grow up, grow up, and again, and again'.

Pompilio’s clothing is rooted in a strong sense of menswear’s past as well as its future. Many of his designs focus on updating what he calls 'iconic' garments, such as the trench coat and the bomber jacket, reimagining the staples of the menswear wardrobe for a contemporary lifestyle that’s increasingly more flexible, fast-paced and global.

'I start from iconic menswear pieces and I re-work them. I re-work with materials, with proportions, with piping, with buttons, with collars… everything looks fresh, but it’s also really elegant, wearable and classic. I’m always starting from the history of the wardrobe of the man. And, I think, Canali comes from the same place. This is something that brings us together. At the same time, I’m not too attracted to the past in general. For me, it’s very important to live and design for the moment we’re living in now. I think this collection represents a very contemporary gentleman. I can see this gentleman crossing the street in New York, taking a Taxi in London, running in Tokyo'.

As is evident from such statements, Pompilio loves to travel. He’s happiest on the move, in the midst of bustle, relaxing in the airport lounge. His collections, with their sportswear inflections are designed for ease, comfort, motion and versatility mixing function and aesthetic in a way not normally associated with the traditions of tailoring. But for all the global flavor of Pompilio’s work, there’s an integrity, quality and meticulous attention to detail in his clothing that, he says, is quintessentially Italian.

'Being Italian is very important for me, and I think you see it in the pride I have in my work. Because quality in Italy is a 360º concept. It’s a quality of life – the pleasure of eating delicious pasta by the seaside. Going skiing at the weekend. Our history of fashion. It’s my Grandfather, who loved to be well dressed. It’s something I have in my blood'.