“The strength of Hublot is that we can go anywhere. We can forge a strategic alliance with anyone as long as they share a similar spirit of dynamism that embodies Hublot,” says the brand’s CEO Ricardo Guadalupe. And that chameleon like ability, that capacity to shape shift and transmogrify, to — in the words of Bruce Lee in the seminal Enter the Dragon — “To be like water,” and effortlessly encapsulate and embrace the best and the brightest of sports, cinema, music, tattoo, motorsports and so much more that is vibrant and relevant in contemporary culture, which eventually led them to Lapo Elkann.
And let me be straight, emphatic and unabashed about the following statement, Lapo Elkann is one of the kindest, gentlest, most sincere and most evolutionary style and design innovators in the world we occupy today. And while he’s had a few ups and downs in his life, I defer to Jesus of Nazareth’s wisdom and say, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Are we done with that? Good.
Because ever since I’ve known him I’ve felt privileged to call Lapo Elkann my friend. He is, without an irrefutable doubt, one of the best people I know. And he is also one of the primary catalysts in reintroducing the codes of classic style and tailoring to an all new generation of sartorial fanatics; myself included.
Whether he’s donned in his grandfather — and Rake di tutti Rakes — Gianni Agnelli’s Caraceni suits, restyled with a new irreverence or clad in one of his Rubinacci bespoke creations like his cobalt blue flannel dinner jacket or his Ferrari red cotton suit, he has captured — no better — embodied the zeitgeist of tailoring’s nouvelle vague.
In collaboration with Hublot, Lapo has also designed two of the brands hottest and most coveted limited edition hits by incorporating the material texalium, a kind of colored carbon fiber used in sailboats as well as race cars, though perhaps most irreverently as the cladding for all the furnishings in his lavatory including, what is undoubtedly, the world’s coolest toilet seat.
The first edition featured a Big Bang with a texalium bezel, texalium case and a studded denim strap, which brought a rock and roll luxe edge to the brand’s panoply of horological finery. The second edition featured a series of texalium camouflage watches, which were amongst some of my favorite Hublots of all time and sold out (in reality) a hell of a lot faster than a certain notorious steel case collaboration between a venerable Geneva brand and a well known watch blog.
But for his third mashup with Hublot, Lapo decided to tap on the ability of one of his greatest friends and one of the key catalysts in the advancement of the sartorial arts and one of the most frequently photographed, ‘grammed, regrammed and featured style icons of the new millennium — another dear friend of mine — Luca Rubinacci.
Now, to give you a bit of context on Luca, you need to understand that it was his grandfather Gennaro Rubinacci who created the culture and technical underpinnings of Neapolitan tailoring. Rubinacci was enamored with British style and loved the elegance of the English tailoring, but not the restrictiveness and heaviness of the jackets.
So, together with his trusty cutter, Vincenzo Attolini he began to remove that which he deemed unnecessary from the internal structure of the jacket, such as heavy layers of padding and lining. He created a shoulder that mirrored that of a handmade shirtsleeve. Spalla Camicia, as it is called, allows for a small armhole to be matched with a large sleevehead to create optimal mobility for the arms and results in the signature soft pleating at the shoulder seam, which has become one of the most recognized sartorial details on the planet.