Pier Davoli is the new Creative Director of SISLEY, based in Treviso, at the notorious BENETTON GROUP Headquarters. Design Father interviewed him on men’s fashion, style, art direction and all those little things a man simply has got to know.
Pier DavoliBeing the Creative Director of SISLEY, means that he is actually in complete charge of the relaunch of the Italian brand worldwide. A tricky position, only for the brave and talented. Responsible, among many other things, of the newest, absolutely eye catching SISLEY campaigns, featuring Milla Jovovich (last season) and Georgia May Jagger (Fall/Winter 2013), Pier Davoli has most certainly managed to give SISLEY the kiss of life.
What has helped was the fact that he is no stranger to the brand, since he had been the Design & Product Director for the last two years. But even before that, he had been (for eight consecutive years) the Global Product Director of Cerruti 1881 and Merchandising and Product Development Director of CK by Calvin Klein.
And so we wondered what a man of such caliber would now have on his mind, in his closet and in his dreams. Curiosity justified.
ON MEN’S FASHION
What are the five pieces that any man should absolutely have in his closet, in order to always look cool in every occasion?
In my opinion, any man should have in his closet: a tailor made suit, a pair of English shoes with shoe-strings, a pair of dark denim trousers, a field jacket in washed cotton and a bow tie.
We live in Mediterranean countries, dividing summer into countless weekend getaways. What should the male backpack/luggage consist of, in your opinion? Which are the essential pieces?
It should contain a pair of cargo bermudas in washed cotton, a linen white shirt and a blue blazer in creased linen.
Who is the ideal SISLEY man prototype?
He is contemporary but never ordinary. He is a mix between a dandy and a rocker, unconventional and deeply urban.
Why did you choose Josh McLellan to star in the Fall/Winter 2013 campaign of SISLEY, next to Georgia May Jagger? What does he represent?
Georgia and Josh are a real couple in everyday life and we wanted to represent a true romantic getaway. Moreover, Josh has a very unconventional, confident urban, as well as cool look who are exactly the characteristics of the Sisley man.
What are the key pieces of this coming fall? What should we be looking forward to?
For men, one the coolest pieces of the entire Fall/Winter 2013-2014 collection is definitely our felt coat with raw cut edges.
Name the most stylish man on earth to you (dead or alive).
Nino Cerruti. Definitely.
What are the trademarks of a Mediterranean man?
Refinement of the details and elegant allure.
ON PERSONAL STYLE
Is there a piece in your closet that you keep onto for ages now and could not imagine throwing away?
Yes, a pair of coats in washed wool by Guaglianone, bought in the 90’s. Always modern and wearable!
What was your last purchased item?
A wonderful washed checked shirt.
Name your favourite perfume, watch and sunglasses brand.
I usually wear Odin n°7 and Odin n°3 as perfumes, my watch is a Suunto and my loyal sunglasses are Ray Ban Aviator.
Which are your favourite colours?
Blue is my favourite colour. Absolutely.
Is there a piece of clothing or accessory that you have inherited from your father that you love?
Yes I have, it is a beautiful Eberhard gold watch that belonged to my grandfather. Who later gave it to my father. And now it’s my turn to have and to hold it.
Describe your favourite pieces in your closet.
I am deeply essential: chino stretch washed blue!
Is there a piece that you desperately want to get soon?
Of course I have, the ones my team and I are designing for next season!
Which fabric describes you and your personal style best?
A wool mixed linen texture, lightly treated in basket.
Name the man you have looked up to, while growing up.
I have been very lucky, because I have always collaborated with lots of well-known Creative Directors and each and every one of them has teached me something that has remained in my head and heart during all these years. But my guide and “teacher” has been Mr. Nino Cerruti.
Do you drive a car or a motorcycle?
I drive my car to get to work, I own a white Audi A4SW. But I wish I would have the time to enjoy spending some quality time with my motorcycle, a beautiful old BMWR1150R, total black!
What is the first thing you would teach your son, in things style? And your daughter?
My wife owns a kidswear shop (from 0 to 16 years old). In other words, she dictated the rules: first of all refinement! So I backed off.
ON WORK – CREATIVE DIRECTION
What inspires you the most to creating a campaign or choosing the key pieces of the season? How do you know what will “hit” the market like a bomb and what not?
I approach every collection and its evolution by paying particular attention to details: from valorizing every aspect of the product’s construction, to dedicating my total attention to fabric selection, cut and other significant aspects. Designing for me is a mix of concreteness, hard work, fun, innovation, harmony, creativity, spontaneity, authenticity, style and good taste.
What is the secret of a successful campaign?
I shall give an example, it is the current SISLEY campaign. It was important to represent through this campaign not only what Sisley stands for, but also to talk a very innovative language. We have used social medias and internet to launch the campaign to represent the reality of our society and to better “talk” to and with our customers. Our search for a better and more realistic mean to talk to our young fashionable customers was also the reason why we have picked such a fascinating real-life couple like Georgia and Josh. Both of them, in their own way, represent the unconventional, sensual, urban, sophisticated soul that Sisley has. That’s it.
And what is it that you can’t wait to hear, after every campaign is launched?
Feedback, feedback, feedback… It does not matter whether it is positive or negative. Feedback makes people grow up, grow wiser. It makes one better. So I absolutely need it.
What is SISLEY showcasing this season?
We have some amazing novelties for both men and women for next season. Sisley Collection is a mix of lines, rich fabrics, unexpected details and rich blacks brightened by vibrant colors. The woman’s collection takes its inspiration from a trip through the cities, such as Amsterdam with its warm colors and its feminine attitude or New York, the place where rich colors and leather are the key. Man’s collection has got a trip inspiration too, with dandy style from England and double denims from the American Dream of the 50’s. It is a mix between elegance and rock n’ roll.
Which one of your projects are you particularly proud of?
I am proud of all of my past projects, like a father to his children, but I prefer thinking and talking about the future ones. I hope to be very proud of the Sisley relaunch, soon.
Is there a campaign or a project that you regret having done in the past?
I have absolutely no regrets. Honestly.
Where do you imagine yourself to be in –say- ten years from now? What would you ideally do next?
Ten years seems like a distant place in time which is simply too far away as a perspective, I can’t make prevision at the moment. And I also wouldn’t want to, to be honest. Let’s see where this adventure shall lead me.
Describe a typical work day at the SISLEY headquarters.
Sisley is in a continuous evolution. So there really is no such thing as a typical work day. We are living lots of busy, but exciting 14 hour – work days!
All images are courtesy of SISLEY.