Stone Island Special - The Icon: Carlo Rivetti
Welcome to the very last article of this Stone Island Special and thank you for spending your time with me, hopefully getting to know a lot of new faces, badges and stories. (You can read and see all of them again here)
For the very last article I sat together with the legend, icon and big, big brother of wardrobes all around the world - Carlo Rivetti.
The meeting of Rivetti and Osti changed the fashion world forever, through their work together at Stone Island, and they created well respected work, leaving a lasting legacy. Their work is loved, admired and desired amongst fashion designers, collectors, editors, journalists and connoisseurs worldwide. The brand recently took off to a level of rockstar, hype beast, Instagram famous that it had never seen before. Along the way a few new faces have joined the gang of wearers, and now they’re reading (and should read) all about the two geniuses that have helped to kit out their favourite rapper in highly functional, sleek and fashionable looking clothing. There wouldn't be a (ridiculously stupid) 100k diamond gold Ben Baller chain without Rivetti or Osti, even though those two probably never thought about such a ludicrous piece.
From Osti's ideas to Rivetti’s skills as the head of the brand, fashion history was and still will be written by the hands of one of them and the cultural and design heritage by the other one.
So when I decided to write a special about a brand that I’ve followed and admired since a longer time, I had to try not to tell the same stories, facts and well known (or wonderfully written down) history of the brand as all the other articles. The interesting fact about Stone Island for me is that different people around the world interpret the brand in their own manner, its aesthetics are always different wherever you are in the world.
Therefore I originally planned to meet three people: Georg, SI Shots and Nicole. And with a lot of wiliness and hard work, I tried to meet the top bossman Carlo Rivetti on top. The idea grew over time and even though Biancissimo was still a young player out there, I knew I was onto something.
It might be luck or some sort of cosmic power - but I actually had a lot of help from the good people from the German Stone Island gang - because luckily my idea managed to end up in Carlo’s hands. I was actually already happy to have the idea floating around somewhere in an Italian office but I definitely didn’t expect to hear back so soon. The brand and the man are busy, you know what I mean?
So a couple of weeks after I sent my idea to a lovely German SI employee, I got an email from the press office in Italy, telling me to give them a call. “Carlo liked your idea and wants to meet you” was the one sentence that stuck with me after this phone call, and changed the way I was putting work into the series at the time. Shit just got real.
Three months later in the town that I was born in, Munich, I had a big smile on my face while I was waiting for the bossman to show up. Actually I was nervous as fuck, as Rivetti was coming to meet me before having an annual catchup with family and friends.
Kinda out of nowhere Carlo then stepped in with a warm, welcoming look on his face. “Helloooo Mr Bianccoooo” echoed through the room and my membrane.
So after 9 articles, 9 faces (after meeting Rivetti I decided to meet even more people writing even more articles) and a lot of time and work later I can finally present you the final piece of the series. An interview/little chat with the bossman, icon and legend… Carlo Rivetti. Thanks a lot to everyone involved, to all the interviewees, photographers, Stone Island team and my editors. Thank you!
Stone Island Special - The Icon: Carlo Rivetti
Hello Mr. Bianco
Dear Carlo, you once said Stone Island is like a club because people recognize and associate each other wearing the compass. So if Stone Island is a club who are your personal club legends so far, are there any rules for this club and do we have a mascot?
Yes it is true, no matter where you go people see the badge, the buttons and the logo and then they all know they belong to a special club.
Stone Island costumers and fans are very special. No matter where you go from Glasgow to Munich to 100km north of Florence, you will always find people adding their very own romantic part to the legacy. Are there any special stories around collectors or fans you like the most and want to share with us?
There are so many people all over the world giving me a good time when I meet them. Especially in the UK, so every time i feel bad or stressed I travel there. They really treat me like a rockstar there and this makes me happy seeing them all so well connected to my brand. I can go almost go everywhere, they pass me their little children just to make pictures and make me smile with it.
In the recent years a whole new and younger generation of people fell in love with your creations. And even though we live in a time with fast moving trends this young generation understood pretty fast that with Stone Island they found something that is above trends and not dependent on contemporary tendencies. So how do you feel seeing the very same enthusiasm you know from people from the 80s now in the eyes of a really young fashion loving crowd?
I am really amazed how fast these new young people got into Stone Island and how a lot of them understand it the right way and are trying to know more about it. I was afraid that the brand will one day just attract old people like me (Carlo laughs out loud) but actually now so many younger feel the same way about it as people from the 80s. Actually we did not push it in that generation we just adjusted our marketing into new directions. The story we are telling is exactly the same we always did.
So if you watching the market over time you see trends go up and down like a wave but Stone Island always stayed on the same level no matter how deep or up the waves were pending. For me it was just a matter of time till one of these waves stopped at our level and more young people got noticed of my brand.
At the same time the growth of new fans is so enormous that along the track so many new people are wearing Stone Island that some of its stories and romantic trivia might get lost in between the huge hype right now. Is this one of the reason you started highlighting extraordinary releases and innovations with short films (I love them), to actually show the customer what it means and what has to be done to own a Stone Island jacket?
Times are really changed and the young people take way more care about what they actually want to buy or not. Its comparable to buying a sports car, you really want to know what under the hood. So with the videos we really focused on telling this stories. People before told us that we can not produce a 18 minute long video and that nobody will actually watch it nowadays but we again proved them wrong. It was seen by so many people and this really excited me that we could catch this young generation that is consuming media really fast for 18 minutes with our videos.
Carlo, when you appointed Paul harvey back then, you once said you feel the same magic and vibe around him like Massimo Osti, so how exactly was it to work with both.
Massimo was one of a kind, there is no other than him and we always were so lucky to found and have the right designers at Stone Island. It all started with the right one because he founded Stone Island. When I then met Paul I was first afraid because of his bold designs but in the end which is very important he made more collections than Massimo, some people might not know that. Now we live in another time and I am working with a multi cultural team of any age and home land. Donald Trump might not like the idea but for us this is the perfect set up to work on the future of the brand.
So how do you find these young and talented designers with the right passion and visions for Stone Island?
Actually I find some when I teach at the Polytechnic University, there are many talented people, so we give them a fabric and see what they can make out of it. But since a couple of time all the talent is coming to us and want to work for us, so we get a lot of applications from people from all over the world. We are so diverse now, every time we go all together go for a dinner or lunch the other people can probably not believe that this people are the Stone Island Design team. So many different characters and people, it`s amazing.
So you are like a pirate crew kind of?
(Carlo laughs out loud again) Yes, we are.
Carlo, imagine you wouldn't be able to research, innovate and produce garments, in what kind of job could we then find your iconic smile?
That's a very hard question but I probably would still work design-related, for example in architecture!
Is it still your dream to open open up a bar in Mexico? If so, what drinks can I order there and what kind of music will I listen to while sitting in your bar? The Design is already planned?
Yes it still is the bar is already planned! Its in my head yes! Im realliy looking forward to it. And of course there will be beer and the perfect moment and music for me will be the sun-set and some classic music.
And once you become the honorary president can you imagine how a perfect day for you will look like? Is there any way possible that this day could be without anything surrounding Stone Island?
I really was happy seeing that question before. So my plan is once when I am finally and hopefully very soon the honorary president (At his point Franceccsa, Carlo's press chef starts laughing, it´s pretty clear that here will be no “soon” ending to his work ) I will buy a beautiful boat and sail the sea.
No mobile phone?
Yes i would love to, you don't need it on the sea! But actually since my wife is the hard worker in our family - It´s Sunday today and she is working right now - she told me when I buy a boat, then just with the best communication sytstem so she can take care of the business. (He laughs again, actually there was no time at all that Carlo wasn`t laughing).
So women make the world go round, right!
Yes they do!
Thank you a lot for your time, thank you for all your work and thank you a lot for this club.
Thank you too for your love and interest for my brand. I am really happy and proud to see people sharing the same love and interest for it.