My eyes first fell upon Luca Rubinacci while exploring Scott Schuman’s website The Satorialist. I can still remember being quite impressed by Luca’s use of color. “Now that is how you dress boldly,” I said to myself. I must admit that I thought nothing more about him for some time afterwards. Then one day as I flipped through the pages of my favorite men’s magazine, The Rake, there staring back at me was that same stylish individual from several months earlier. I recognized instantly the same style, and once more I was taken by his bold use of color, his beautifully fitted bespoke clothing, and the distinct originality that he projected. I was so impressed with what I saw on those pages that I actually took the time to read the entire article, something which I’ll admit that I rarely have time to do. Come to find out, Luca Rubinacci is a very interesting man whose style exemplifies his originality—in his clothing, his work, and his lifestyle, all of which help him cut the dandyish figure.
He is part of a long tailoring tradition that stretches back generations in Naples, Italy. Luca Rubinacci is the great grandson of Mariano Rubinacci, who founded one of the legendary Neapolitan bespoke tailoring firms during the first half of the nineteenth century. Following in the family tradition, Luca became a tailor of renown who has taken his family business global, making it a success by adding his own modern flair and youthful exuberance to the traditions he inherited. His originality lies in his ability to bend the rules of conventional menswear by adding bold, yet tasteful uses of color. He designs everything from his own coats, suits, shoes, vests, pocket squares, scarves, and even jewelry. Luca Rubinacci recently made GQ’s yearly list, at number seven, of the international best dressed men, beating out George Clooney who dropped in behind Luca at ninth place.
As Rubinacci’s reputation has grown so has his client list. In fact, a frequent client of his is the one-time Dandy of the Year recipient, Lapo Elkann. Another is everyone’s favorite style writer, Nick Foulkes. Luca is not only a style icon, but is fortunate in being able to help other style icons in developing their own appearance. He is the man they look to. Today he’s in great demand as he travels the globe on his tailoring adventures to cities like London, New York, Milan, Tokyo, or to trunk shows in other fashion capitals. He very much plays the international playboy. A quick look at his blog, Rubinacci Club, reveals that he recently went from yachting off of Croatia, then to ring in the New Year on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro. He is an easy man to both admire and envy.
Charles Baudelaire once wrote, “Dandyism is, above all the burning desire to create a personal form of originality, within the external limits of social conventions.” Rubinacci does this and more. The items he wears and designs are rooted in a classic Italian tradition, but his ability to tastefully bring bold colors into the mix allows him to reinvent that tradition, putting his own spin on it. What he invents is not only interesting and beautiful, but also an expression of a playful mind that toys manfully with social convention. This ability to put forth a bold, original new look makes Luca Rubinacci an easy choice for our 2011 Dandy of the Year.
Bravo, Mr. Rubinacci.