INTERVIEW BY GIUSEPPE CASTRENZE
TRANSLATED BY MAISHA GRISPINO
PHOTOS BY FLAVIA DANIELE
Giuseppe Castrenze, Maisha Grispino, Flavia Daniele
We sit on a sofa in a bar, next to Fortezza da Basso in Florence. Luca tells us that he is very busy, yet he is very helpful and kind. For more than an hour we talked about culture, social experiences, fashion, ideas of gender, his work and Slippage.
Luca Imbimbo, a journalist, stylist, fashion consultant, and art director. After a master's degree in fashion journalism, he works for major fashion magazines and is senior editor of the prestigious menswear magazine, Fucking Young. He has a passion over books, the cinema, the 90's and above all, art. He believes in hedonism, but not in the one that devoid of substance since he believes social changes have to be listened too. Luca is always looking for avant-garde and believes in a true return to pure street style. He believes in freedom of expression. Freedom as a means of escaping from conformism. Man must have within himself the strength to be himself and to go his own way: from the sexual one to that of his own identity. He loves to deepen every aspect, in life and in work. He says, "Think differently, but first of all think!" Chatting with him was a total experience, it wasn't just an interview.
On models.com I was intrigued by the quote from D’Annunzio's "Pleasure" reported on your biography. In particular "You have to make your life like a work of art". Do you also live your life as a work of art? How?
"Gabriele D’ annunzio was one of my very first approaches to reading as a kid. It has always intrigued me how the human being can be so focused on himself and then how he looses sight of what the social context is and his life where he has to contextualize himself. Goethe's "Elective Affinities" helped me to get out of this rigid pattern that in my opinion reality forces onto us. I always thought that not everyone must necessarily be comfortable with everyone. It is a fact of sensitivity, empathy, energy. From here, I discovered Gabriele D’ Annunzio, an Ego that is not just about giving space to an Ego without substance. Sometimes D’Annunzio has been misunderstood, also due to the way in which he has lived his entire existence. In his giving vent to his ego, he always gives meaning to an absolute value to what he is doing. So, I'm not hiding that I'm a narcissistic person because otherwise I wouldn't have chosen this type of job. But through me and my work, I try to grow and always go beyond the personal limits and the limits that society imposes. I love beauty and think it has so many levels, whether it be higher or lower, it always seems different and interesting for me. Just as D’Annunzio and his book "Pleasure", protagonist Andrea Sperelli has done it for their whole life...I do it in 2020.”
You have a degree in Philosophy of Communicative Processes. How much did your philosophic training affect your aesthetic vision?
“Reading and philosophy were my first passions, which are absolutely complementary. Not having followed a path purely in the fashion field has allowed me to reach a faster awareness of who I am, of my abilities and how to put them at the service of a world that could be a passion and at that moment, it was very far from me and from what had been my life until that moment, although I had always cultivated a passion for fashion. I have always considered myself a sort of outsider of the system. This has facilitated me to have a broader vision, absolutely transversal. Mine is a form of intellectual fashion, less democratic. In my opinion, in order to be elevated to an art status, fashion must not be considered democratic, otherwise it becomes purely commercial and therefore no longer art. When fashion becomes democratic, it’s just screwed up.”
Photographer: Flavia Daniele
So for you, luxury cannot be democratic?
"The democratization of luxury occurs and exists, but it is completely different. It is a necessity that allows brands to survive. For a long time luxury has been elitist, but today it is no longer true. Globalization no longer allows it. Luxury today is possible only for those brands that have a very high cost, almost inaccessible. Luxury is a state of mind, the need to possess it and anyone can get there."
Luca, you are senior editor of Fucking Young! What does it mean to you to have such an important role?
"I arrived at this point alone and with all the difficulties of the case. It means giving the opportunity, especially to young people with the skills and the desire to do well and succeeding."
Fucking Young gives a lot of space to emerging artists. In your opinion, in such a frenetic world as the one of fashion, how can you distinguish yourself?
“The search for new talents is fundamental. In my opinion, to emerge first of all, you have to have the skills. So many people think they have them, but it is not always the case. It is necessary to be humble, but self-confident and to be able to listen. Steal with your eyes and with your ears with what most competent people know. You also have to be lucky, and today, it is useless to hide it, you have to know how to sell your person: the image in fashion is fundamental. Today people want to see, they want to identify with something and the image allows you too.”
What advice do you feel you can give to emerging young people who want to work in the fashion world?
“What I recommend to emerging young people is to commit themselves, to always seek new stimuli within and outside themselves because in life you always have to be true to yourself. Identify a new road, an evolution. When you stop studying, researching, being curious, it’s over. The wish that I give to young people, but also too myself, is to continue to be curious.”
Let's talk about Fucking Young. What are its characteristics? Is there a different editorial line for the print edition?
“The constant is unique: menswear, young and unconventional. The social message recently is fundamental for us. For the web edition there is much more freedom, everyone is free to express their ideas, their work. The choice is based on the quality that always has to be high and on how interesting a project could be and on the potential for brand growth, but above all, it is based on what is in line with our aesthetics. In the print edition it is different. We have a fixed theme around which the whole issue revolves around. And here we choose photographers with whom we generally collaborate with.”
Photographer: Flavia Daniele
Slippage is a creative magazine that redefines what it means to be male. A crossroads where the two genders meet themselves and where people choose not to go in a single road, but both. What do you think of this?
“Everyone must be free to be himself. And in order to be yourself, you can be yourself in any way, in any dress. The human being has no sex, has no religion, has no negative or positive meaning. He is a human being and as such should be considered. A reality like Slippage can help young people who find themselves in moments of identity crisis, who live social realities that do not particularly help them. It can be a refuge, a way to offer courage. An opportunity to go further”.
What exactly does "genderless" mean in the world of fashion?
“The concept of genderless has always existed. It’s enough thinking of ancient Greece, ancient Rome. People dressed in tunics, there was no difference in costume. At theater, men played women roles, and it was done absolutely naturally. In the XVIII century there were the Cicisbei from which Alessandro Michele took inspiration for his first Gucci collection. The concept of gender fluid is an evolution of what are the historical courses and recourses that have always existed and which should be noted. In the 1980's the whole wave of Japonism led to gender fluid in a completely different way. Also in the 80's, Armani deconstructed the jacket, making it an iconic garment for women. Today in the Scandinavian countries there is a fashion that is based on 4 fundamental principles: unisex, evergreen, four season and notrend. Everyone as human being can wear whatever he wants. Now the concept has been chewed, digested, exasperated. It is a social message and fashion is made for that too.”
Photographer: Flavia Daniele