A devout lover of the finest art and the fastest cars, Gianni Agnelli was — quite simply — one of the most stylish men in history. With his quick wit, devilish charm and elusive style prowess found in only the most debonair of gentlemen, he remains a steadfast style icon for gentlemen around the world.
The eldest son of Italian industrialist Edoardo Agnelli and Princess Virginia Bourbon del Monte, Agnelli was named after his grandfather, Giovanni Agnelli: who happened to be none other than the founder of Fiat (a company of which Giovanni the Younger later took over the reins, in 1966). He moved in the jet-setting circles of could be described as a ‘Golden Age’, and led a sparklingly glamorous life of riotous parties, sleek yachts, fast cars and luxurious villas. And we haven’t even touched on the playboy side of things; let’s just say Agnelli’s lifestyle remains the inspiration for aspiring playboys everywhere.
Agnelli's impeccable taste continues to influence gentlemen all over the world
Beloved as much throughout the world as he was in his home country of Italy, over 100,000 people (including the then-President and Prime Minister) made their way to the Fiat HQ to pay their respects upon his death: a fitting tribute to one of Italy’s most successful businessmen of all time. If a true testament of a man is the number of people at his funeral, then Agnelli received a testament indeed.
But his eternal footprint is stamped not only in the world of business or the gentlemanly high life (though he remains an icon in both those spheres); but in the world of style. His impeccable taste and (often eccentric) choices continue to influence gentlemen across the world today, with his winning combination of exquisitely-cut classic suits combined with personal touches of the utmost nonchalance.
And if you’re looking to get the distinguished, suave Agnelli look, we can help you achieve exactly that.
First and foremost, be sure to get the suiting right
Agnelli was frequently seen in an impeccable suit; and he was no stranger to Italian tailoring. His signature brand of choice was the iconic Caraceni, with the typically wide lapels of Italian tailoring and a perpetually dapper slim-fit. His accessories, too, were unfailingly elegant — we’re talking coordinated pocket squares, ties and shirts of the most gentlemanly varieties.
If you’re looking to emulate the Agnelli look, this wool-flannel suit jacket, courtesy of Canali, is the perfect place to start. Its Italian craftsmanship makes it a jacket after Agnelli’s own heart; and its wool-flannel material gives it a lighter air, too, so it can be worn throughout the summer. Its slim fit gives it that added Agnelli aesthetic; and if you’re looking for pairing options, New & Lingwood and Turnbull & Asser can both offer impeccable white shirts.
New & Lingwood Tailored Cotten Shirt
Canali Wool-Flannel Suit Jacket
Turnbull & Asser Tailored Cotten Shirt
It's time to invest in an off-centre tie
So much of Agnelli’s style stemmed from the nonchalant, effortless way in which he wore it. One particular quirk that has gentlemen striving for nonchalance all over the world was his relaxed approach to his tie. His tie was perpetually slightly off-centre: a personal touch that added just the right amount of ‘devil may care’ attitude to an otherwise elegant ensemble.
If you’re looking to emulate this relaxed, effortless aesthetic, Emma Willis has the answer in a cobalt blue, silk form. New & Lingwood, too, can lend a hand to your off-centre tie experiments with a small-weave burgundy offering; and Ralph Lauren proffers a patterned option for anyone seeking an extra flourish.
Emma Willis Cobalt Blue Silk Tie
New & Lingwood Burgundy Tie
Ralph Lauren Silk Foulard Tie
We'd recommend investing in a Western-style shirt
Agnelli’s off-duty look was as enviable as his formalwear. One key piece in particular was his collection of Western-style shirts: always worn with a subtle sense of attitude and often denim jeans, he was an early adopter of the double-denim look. (If you’re still doubting whether you can pull off denim, let us reassure you that denim shirts are more refined than you think…)
Orslow‘s Denim Western Shirt is, surely, indistinguishable from any that Agnelli would have worn himself; and Fortela has two alternative offerings, if you’re looking for something slightly lighter or darker. After all, it’s possible to emulate Agnelli’s distinctive style whilst remaining true to your own personal tastes, too.
Double up the denim with a pair of the perfect jeans
We’ve already mentioned that Agnelli was an early adopter of the double denim aesthetic; so there’s no getting around the fact that — if you want to do due diligence to Agnelli’s style — you’ll need to embrace the double denim look, too. But if you’re really against doubling up on the denim, it’s not compulsory; Agnelli often paired his American jeans with sharply cut shirts or blazers, too.
Either way, jeans are a must: and we’d recommend starting with Ralph Lauren‘s slim straight offering. Mr P. and Orslow have equally slim-fitting options available, both of which are cut from tough selvedge denim for maximum wearability.
Ralph Lauren Varick Jean
Mr. P Selvedge Denim Jeans
Orslow Selvedge Denim Jeans
Be sure to wear your watch over your cuff
As we’ve most likely established, Agnelli was full to the brim with personal style quirks. An icon is nothing without their personal stamp, after all; and one of these many distinguishable quirks was his habit of wearing his watch over his cuff. It was a time-saving resource of the very best sort — aspiring entrepreneurs, take note — as he always always claimed he didn’t have time to pull back his skirt or jacket cuff to look at a watch beneath it. Style and efficiency in one glamorous package? We’ll take it.
Of course, we’ve got to kick things off with the Rolex Chronograph Datona, famously sported by Agnelli in the 1980s which, presumably, contributed to its enduring popularity today. Now, 50 years after its initial creation, the chronograph continues to be the number one tool for racing drivers. It’s not cheap, but it’s got Agnelli written all over it; as has the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Self-Winding option, which is inspired by designs from the 1950s. And, of course, Hamilton has a special place in the Agnelli watch sphere; Agnelli was very taken with what was, then, the first digital watch (the Hamilton Pulsar P2 2900 LED, also billed as the ‘James Bond watch’, due to Roger Moore sporting it in Live And Let Die); and we have a feeling he’d be just as taken with the American Classic PSR Digital Quartz.
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Self-Winding
Hamilton American Classic PSR Digital Quartz
Invest in a pair of boots: and be prepared to wear them with anything and everything
An early style maverick, Agnelli never shied away from breaking the “rules” of dressing. As at home in rough boots as he was in an elegant pair of loafers, he was often seen pairing them with his famous grey suits. In fact, he famously attended a board meeting wearing a pair of desert boots with a flannel suit. This was a man who made his own rules, after all — and we’re only too happy to follow them.
Cheaney‘s Jackie III R Chukka Boot is a suave, stylish option that’ll look right at home in any sophisticated setting (or a with a flannel suit, if you’re so inclined), as will the Coniston; Crockett & Jones‘ elegant suede higher-leg derby boot that we can just imagine being donned by Agnelli himself. Finally, Edward Green have delivered the goods once again with the Shanklin: this elegant take on the chukka boot is decked out in mocha suede and is just the thing for a relaxed summer style.
Cheaney Brown Suede Chukka Boot
Crockett & Jones Coniston
Edward Green Shanklin Chukka Boot