Aesthetic comfort, the importance of curiosity, and the endless expressions of the human mind
Today's Style talk is the story of a mood board that instantly caught our eyes. A collection of images diverse between them but all conveying a very precise aesthetics made of 80s automobile ads, pastel striped oxford shirts, and iconic design details. Where a close up on a Dieter Rams Braun clock meets a Cy Twombly wall, and a Claude Nori photograph. Where the orange seats of a Mehari meet a Gio Ponti handwritten letter, and a 1980 Perrier commercial. Where a Jeanneret Chandigarh chair meets a pair of New Balance 998, and a collection of 70s Australian train tickets.
Where are documented some of the most inspiring expressions of the human mind in the fields of art, style and design.
Having followed this endless source of inspiration for quite some time, and engaged with it on a few mutually enjoyed posts, we started a conversation with the man behind the wheel and ended up meeting him in Paris on a very cold morning last January.
We instantly felt aligned not just aesthetically, but also in how we thought the whole notion of style, and how it should be approached nowadays. One thing leading to another, we wanted to dig a little deeper on this, and have the man tell his side of the story.
That's right. Michele Pitossi, talking @accordingtomich is in the Journal.
Ciao Michele, we're really happy having you with us today. Thank you very much for the invitation, I am very honored to have this talk.
Let's start from the beginning. Where are you from, and what is the first image that instantly comes to your mind when thinking about this place? I was born in Brescia and raised in Franciacorta. I am extremely attached to that land because it is made up of profound human values, relationships are transparent and strongly based on work; as soon as I can escape from Milan I return to affections and friends of a lifetime. It is a territory that offers a lot in terms of quality of life, I have wonderful memories related to my childhood and adolescence there.
More broadly, what memories do you keep from your childhood? It's a great question, I don't often think about it in reality. When I think about my childhood I immediately think of my maternal grandparents, I spent a lot of time with them and I owe a lot to their curious and sincere approach to life. A little anecdote: I spent hours with my grandfather trying to recognize cars (obsession since day one) that passed through the country roads outside the family house. He was saying that I recognized them all, but he was probably biased, he didn't even have a driving license!
Besides cars, what was your connection with style, design and imagery growing up? I believe that everything is a bit tied to that constant need to fill curiosity. I think that the aesthetic sense is closely linked to curiosity and grows and changes according to personal experiences. The aesthetic sense of each, which involves many aspects of human work either in design, art, fashion, or visual expression in general, is just a sum of one's own experience and effort in understanding it.
When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in those fields? My background does not exactly have to do with style and design actually, I studied economics with passion and I am truly happy to have done it. At the same time, however, I cultivated my relationships with people who stimulated me and with whom it was natural for me to interact and work together with. For this reason it has been very natural when my work interests have shifted their focus a little to the fashion industry.
Would you guide us through your journey so far? I really like the definition of journey to define @accordingtomich, in fact it is a bit of a personal journey. It is a travel that arises from the need to "gather ideas" in a personal virtual bulletin board. On this board I like to pin photos of places, objects, few people (and, proudly, few “icons”) that inspire me and communicate something to me. Through this path I realized that human work fascinates me more than human beings in many cases, I don't want to seem exaggerated, but I often really think so!
Your website talks about "aesthetic comfort" when referring to the purpose of @accordingtomich. We love that definition. Tell us more about this. I am glad to hear that, it is the definition that comes most naturally to me when I have to think about labeling my mood board. I look at it and it gives me well-being, comfort, I feel it strongly mine.
Beyond a mere mood board, @accordingtomich is an amazing collection of images that are very diverse between themselves but convey a unique, and highly consistent curation. How do you pick the images that make it to this collection? Thank you very much, it makes me feel a proud father. I choose the images almost on a daily basis depending on how I feel, looking for them on purpose or remembering having saved somewhere in the roll. I usually look for photos on social media or on the web and more rarely they come from my books or personal photographs. Honestly speaking, the aesthetic coherence is not studied at all, it is simply a result of my personal vision.
Are there any markers that every image would share? Undoubtedly the colors, even if I don’t have a single principle to select them, I let myself get involved by the picture. Colors convey a lot to me, they communicate. Another element that has a strong influence on me is the story of an object or a place: the passage of time gives things an aura that I find it difficult to explain.
How would you define your aesthetics? “Slow”, and authentic.
What is the story you want to tell through @accordingtomich? I don't exactly want to tell a story, the goal is much easier: I like this and that, and you, observer, do you?
What are your main sources of inspiration? Most of all I would say artists and designers of the last century, from great architects like Gio Ponti to painters like Basquiat and Robert Motherwell. However, I also find inspiration in the places I visit, Italian and French countryside above all.
You just launched a limited edition cap available on your website; to which rationale does this extension into the real world respond?
My idea was to start turning the @accordingtomich world into something real, tangible. I was interested in proposing an easy item, which could be coveted by those who appreciate the Instagram feed and somehow feel related to it.
Any other items you would like to launch in the near future? I have a billion ideas in my mind, sometimes they are a bit confused but all in all I like this sort of creative chaos, we will see. For now there is a small but interesting project on the table that could see the light by the end of the year, fingers crossed!
How do you think @accordingtomich will evolve? I don't do many programs about it, I like that @accordingtomich evolves naturally and from what comes what, I hope that it will grow with me and can maybe bring interesting collaborations, I throw down the gauntlet!
What is style to you? This is an interesting question and the answer may not be exactly satisfactory; you see, at first glance I don’t really know what “style” means to me. It’s something that concerns personality I would say, and not just how someone is dressed up. Some people may have more refined “styling” than others but have much less appeal because they don't convey authenticity. The way in which each of us places himself, not only on an aesthetic level, is the result of his character, communicates to others a lot of what one has inside: reflecting on it, maybe it’s what style means to me.
How would you define your own? And this is an even more difficult question to answer, but I would say it's just an @accordingtomich style! Jokes aside, if we just talk aesthetically it is the sum of many influences, I love Ivy League style, with some tailoring notes, even if in reality my uniform for life is made of jeans and a white tee, matched with a good penny loafer.
What's your relation to colors? As I said I am quite obsessed with colors. I think they are the most powerful visual element, just think of the communicative power they have in fashion, almost all brands owe their success to a color or a combination of colors: the tones of Benetton or Missoni, the Valentino red or the Tiffany blue made the fortune of those companies.
What's your relation to scarves? It is the most important clothing accessory for man, really underrated lately. It has the ability to define or complete even the simplest look.
What are your favorite places in Italy? Favorite restaurants? Wow, do we have a couple of days to talk about it? Definitely the islands, I am just returning from a trip to Sardinia, which always has a very strong influence on me. When I leave, I always cry as a kid. Another important place for me is Florence, where you can eat well almost everywhere but among others a true gem is Trattoria Marione.
How would you describe LBH in 3 words? Authentic, chic, noble.
Who would you like to read in our next Style talk series? How about Jake Grantham from Anglo-Italian company?
Thank you so much Michele, it has been very cool. A true pleasure for me, I hope to meet you again soon.