Gianni Agnelli is a towering titan of 20th Century industry, and a huge source of inspiration to us at Gentleman’s Journal. It’s heartening, then, to see that the wildly successful businessman has now been honoured in an HBO documentary about the highs and lows of life at the helm of Europe’s greatest car empire.
A jet-setter, style-setter and lazer-sharp business mind, Agnelli defied conventions and garnered influence in his every movement. As the founder of Fiat, Agnelli carved a path as perhaps the most successful car magnate in history, blending hard-nosed practicality with Italian elan and beauty at every turn. To Agnelli, life was in the details — the carmaker was famous as much for wearing his watch outside his shirtsleeve as for Fiat’s roaring success. He was also crucial in powering Italy’s comeback after World War II, soon ushering what soon became known as the Italian Renaissance. In the words of Valentino in the film’s trailer, “Everybody tried to copy him.”
Directed by Nick Hooker and executive produced by Vanity Fair’s departing Editor-in-Chief Graydon Carter, the film will feature remarkable interviews with 40 members of Agnelli’s intimate circle, from lovers to rivals, from copiers to confidantes. Diane von Furstenberg bestows on her uncle the ultimate compliment: “Every woman was in love with him; every man wanted to be him.” We can certainly add Gentleman’s Journal to that list.