Fashion entrepreneur and style icon Alessandro Squarzi was voted Esquire’s best-dressed man in the world in 2017. He is a blogger, designer and lover of vintage fashion, and you’ll probably have seen him photographed at Pitti Uomo or on Instagram, where he has more than 100,000 followers. His label AS65 was founded three years ago and is known mainly for its fur-lined parkas inspired by vintage military jackets for men and women. We spoke to the man behind the brand and the Instagram account about his perspective on the world of fashion and about his best travel tips for those heading to Italy.
Now working and living in Milan, Squarzi was born in Forlì in the Emilia-Romagna region, and he would consider nearby Rimini his ‘second hometown’. It is, he says, a city ‘that I like to think has adopted me’. He tells us how he is attached to his roots, and that others should be too; ‘I’ve never tried to lose my accent. People who deny their upbringing don’t have much to say’. Yet, for a man who wasn’t born and bred in Milan, he certainly knows his way around and is full of recommendations and tips on where to go and where to eat; ‘El Carnicero serves the best meat in town, and Langosteria the greatest fish ‒ if I could, I would go there every night’.
One thing that’s for sure, Squarzi is Italian through and through, particularly in his knowledge of fashion and his outlook on dressing. He pinpoints the best stores in Milan without hesitation. ‘I love Massimo Alba, he is a genius with fabrics, in particular knitwear. The Store in Via Solferino has a great selection of everything ‒ from elegant eveningwear to sportswear. Also, there’s my amazing Fortela, on Via Melzo, which takes you back to the 30s.’ When I ask him about his favourite city for fashion in terms of style and shopping, he doesn’t respond with the usual suggestions of Paris, Milan, London or New York. Instead he says ‘without a doubt, Tokyo’, adding that ‘everybody is extremely cultured over there and I love people who can teach me something. Just think, they even have a book solely about how to wash jeans.’
When friends visit Milan, Squarzi doesn’t only enthuse about fashion and food. He suggests visitors go to the Science Museum and the Planetarium in Porta Venezia, and he pinpoints Gae Aulenti’s vertical garden, Bosco Verticale, as the best landmark in town ‒ a refreshing alternative to Milan’s famous cathedral. When he’s had enough of sightseeing he heads to Pasticceria Marchesi café on Via Montenapoleone, which ‘feels like home’.
Squarzi is charmingly modest about his success. He has worked with vintage clothing for 30 years and takes the top spot of Esquire’s coveted best-dressed line-up, yet he insists he ‘doesn’t do fashion’. Instead, he explains, he ‘revisits military and vintage styles to create something real. A genuine fashion.’ When asked about his avid Instagram following and why he is so popular, he philosophically says ‘we live in a world full of falsehoods. Probably a real Instagram profile, one that truly reflects one’s life, is in the end rewarded.’
His style is eclectic and the perfect combination of contemporary and classic. He says his all-time style heroes are actors from the 50s, 60s and 70s; James Dean, Marcello Mastroianni and Paul Newman, yet in almost the same sentence he confesses he cannot live without his cell phone. Find inspiration in his Instagram account, and be sure to visit his recommended Milanese hotspots on your next trip.