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My fashion life - Lello Caldarelli

The president and creative director of Italian brand Antony Morato is always thinking about its next collection.

You set up menswear brand Antony Morato with your two brothers Tania and Giovanni in 2007 - what’s the best thing about working with family?

It’s good because you are guaranteed to have someone nearby that you can trust and always be able say what you think. You can be truly and completely honest with each other and it helps you work better and faster, because it cuts out the politics and you can get straight to the point. We also divide our roles, so one of my brothers looks after the financial part while the other focuses on kidswear.

And the worst?

You never stop working. Any family lunch is working time and all leisure time turns into work. If you have something in mind about work that’s just what comes out.

What’s the biggest challenge?

To keep up with what’s new and right for the times. The hard thing is searching for new ideas.

You are the president and creative director of the brand, so how do you balance the business side with the creative?

It’s difficult. You have to pay attention to a lot of different things and can’t just focus on one part. When you start thinking about the new collection, a part of your mind has to stay focused on the business side - what it needs, what direction we should go, where you want to take the company. This is the secret of the business, because we’re creative but are also very clear and concrete in terms of our development.

What’s the best thing about your job?

It started with three people but now I have 300 people working for me, which is great because we’re still doing the things we like.

I get to work in fashion, which is my passion.

What don’t you enjoy?

We are seven years old as a company and I’m 33 years old, so I worked the past seven years of my life all day long because I like to keep an eye on everything in the company.

It means I always have my mind at work.

Antony Morato often uses top models in its ads, but if you could have any person to model your collections, dead or alive, who would it be?

Andy Warhol, because he represents a sense of beauty and was able to get in touch with innovation and creativity and the sense of how the times were changing.

Where does the name of the brand come from?

We are a designer brand, so we thought that we should have the name of the designer.

But my full name is Raffaele Caldarelli, which is not easy to say at all. Not easy for an Italian, so I can’t imagine it at an international level. I worked on a name that could represent Italy but was easy to communicate; Italian but with an international feel. In the end we just came up with Antony Morato.

You were selling 5 million items of clothing a year by 2012. How does it feel when you see strangers wearing your clothes?

It’s very strange. It’s great, but on the other side it sometimes makes me angry as once the collection is out I’m always thinking about the new one - in terms of style and cut. So I see it as not the newest, nor the best version that people are wearing. We’re always wanting something better for our clients.

What are your favourite brands?

I wear everything. Yohji Yamamoto, John Varvatos, Lanvin and Balmain, but mixed with something from the likes of H&M. This is the time of mix and matching high and low at the same time.

I hope customers mix Antony Morato with other labels because a real modern brand is one that can fit into any wardrobe.

What’s your favourite item in your wardrobe?

I have no idea because it’s so full. I work in fashion, so there’s so much. However, I based our first denim collection on myself and the super-skinny fit was based on me, so I love that fit.

You’re based in Naples, Italy, but where are your favourite places to shop around the world?

Shanghai, Istanbul and Naples, because they have lots of different ideas all in one place.

What has been your career highlight?

My career has only just started. Ask me in another 20 years.

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