L’Avvocato, the inimitable

I will go on a limb here and say, that if you are a subscriber to Gents Cafe, you most certainly know of Giovanni “Gianni” Agnelli. “L’ Avvocato”, The Rake of the Riviera, The Crown Prince of Italy – his person, achievements and general way of life put many labels to his name.

Great Italian industrialist, the head of FIAT, owner of the Juventus football club, flamboyant playboy and most certainly a style icon – his level of style was unparalleled. To Agnelli, style was everything; he loved fine tailoring and he wore it with an ease and elegance, but always with a personal twist. His style quirks have made him a menswear legend.

He mixed classics with modern and broke all the rules: suede working boots with tailored suits, his E. Marinella tie askew on the outside of a cardigan, unbuttoned collars on button-down shirts. Small personal statements, that gave his outfits a subtle edge; Gianni Agnelli was the epitome of sprezzatura. His most famous style quirk is probably wearing his watch over the cuff. And one of the great mysteries of the world is… Why?

Why did he wear his watch over his cuff? According to his friend Taki Theodoracopulos, the cuffs on his Battistoni shirts were cut too narrow so the watches wouldn’t slip under. Another story stipulates that he did not like the feel of metal against his skin, and a third story tells us that he was just too busy to be bothered to pull back his sleeve.

Regardless of the reason, this became his “signature” and probably the most copied Agnelli-move. As many have tried to copy Agnelli, not many have succeeded. And why is that? I think it is because he was L’ Avvocato; the whole package that was Gianni Agnelli.

This wasn’t just about style and little quirks. He was the forerunner and a role model of his time, a pillar when Italy needed it the most – he was unique, and it all added up to the complete picture of Gianni Agnelli.

“There was no point in trying to ape him. He was inimitable.”
– Taki Theodoracopulos

Originally posted as part of the Gents Cafe Newsletter, a bite-sized read about men’s lifestyle to enjoy over a coffee or a nice cocktail. Join now!