An extract of the interview …
First name, surname, date of birth, place of birth
Francesco Barberis Canonico, 1st March 1972, Milan
How many blazers do you have?
A lot, loads, too many. But I shall still have more!
How old were you when you had your first blazer?
I bought my first blazer in London, off the peg, in a beautiful shop which doesn’t exist any longer, called Daks Simpsons, and I remember that I was very happy because I felt as if I were becoming a member of a club. Ever since being a child, I had noticed elegant men wearing blazers and I always thought that one day I would very much like to have one myself.
What’s your favourite blazer (material, tailor, details, origins …)?
I love all of my blazers. And as they are all very similar, I wear them according to the season and the occasion. Most of the winter ones are double-breasted while the summer ones are single-breasted, generally with either welt or patch pockets. All of them are made by my personal tailor, Maestro Giovanni Barberis Organista.
What is the ideal fabric for a blazer (summer and winter)?
In summer, a lovely, dark blue, half-lined, single-breasted tropical with metal buttons. Otherwise it could seem as if it were a disused suit jacket. In winter, a good prunelle in navy blue. I have a very heavy blazer made in cavalry twill which was once called imperial twill by the great Italian tailors.
Which buttons are the best?
I like golden buttons best. I also have some blazers with silver buttons, the majority of which are knurled, but I do have some smooth buttons. Some of them have a crest. I buy them at Benson & Clegg in London. I think they have the best blazer button collection in the world.
The most suitable occasion?
Always! Blazers are extraordinarily versatile and can be worn on any occasion. Depending on the circumstances, they can be worn with trousers in flannel, twill, velvet or even with jeans. You can wear a blazer for an aperitif, for an elegant dinner or even on more formal occasions such as a board meeting.
What is the best combination?
In winter, I love wearing a blazer with a beautiful, medium-worsted, grey flannel, and in summer with a nice cream-coloured cotton drill.
How do you like to wear blazers?
I love wearing them to work, in fact, I wear them very often. Blazers are by far my absolute personal favourite garment.
What is the most beautiful blazer you have ever seen (who was wearing it, where, other details)?
Certainly the boating jackets Prince Charles used to wear when he was young, because they were particularly charismatic.
What is your ideal blazer?
Blue fabric with golden buttons, either single or double-breasted. If it’s for the summer, maybe even with three patch pockets and half lined.
How should it never be?
With blue buttons to match the fabric, because, in my opinion, it is then no longer a blazer.
How should it never be combined?
Never with bathing trunks or shorts unless you are actually in Bermuda.
What is the biggest mistake you can make with a blazer?
Trying to make it sporty by wearing sneakers. A blazer always requires a certain respect. Once during a flight, while I was moving along the aisle of the plane, I was mistaken for a steward!
What is the first thing that comes to mind at the word blazer?
I love it! Elegance and style. Respect towards others, but also towards oneself.
Do you have any ideas for a new blazer (details)?
Not at the moment, because we are moving towards winter, and I already have a lot. Some are so old that I have had my tailor re-line them. If it’s made of a good fabric, it is everlasting and never goes out of fashion. Perhaps towards the spring, I’d like to have a nice hopsack for the mid-season.