superchat amsterdam: mauro grifoni

© mauro grifoni - the man behind the brand

hailing from northern italy, designer mauro grifoni started his fashion brand in 1992 with hand-made men's shirts. gradually expanding his product line, it now features men's, women's, accessories, denim and kids collections. grifoni and some of his staff were in amsterdam to attend the opening of his first store - and a very stylish one at that - outside the italian homeland. for a second season in a row the brand has teamed up with london-based model, dj and photographer cate underwood, stepping into the limelight with a brand-defining media strategy. although mauro grifoni has many stockists across the planet and a few shop-in-shops in the far east, the store opening in the dutch capital looks like the official kick-off of an international retail expansion. superfuture sat down with the designer for a little chat about his brand, fashion, amsterdam and what not.

italian style has a global appeal across the planet. how would you define it, and which values or qualities do you attribute to the mauro grifoni collections? well, italian style is elegant and simple, and those elements are actually part of the dna of the mauro grifoni brand.

if you design, who do you have in mind? could you describe the profile of the mauro grifoni client? generally, the grifoni client is quite similar to myself. i very much look at the detailing of clothes, the quality of the fabrics and a good fit. i don't like anything too extreme but prefer simple design, i prefer aesthetics that are pure.

could you tell us something about your design studio and design team? our design team consists of only three people whereas the entire staff totals just 15 employees. you know, we're an artisanal company so a strict supervision of quality is very important. but i also want to supervise everything, that's the problem...haha!
your brand features men's, women's, accessories, denim and kids collections. is there an objective to create a full-fledged lifestyle brand? if so, which new areas are you considering to expand to next? no, not at this moment. we’re currently only focused on the existing product range and further refining it.
what can you tell us about the s/s 2013 collection that's currently in stores? for women there's an electic mix of marine, pyjama and ethnic styles, and for men there's a style we call metropolitan sport. it features key pieces such as a simple trench coat, military shirts and a bomber jacket. you know, our style is more about timelessness than trends. 
travel is a big inspiration source for you and we’ve read that you find japan particularly inspiring. how so? yes, i go there four times a year! i actually have a friend in the okayama region who makes artisanal denim fabrics. but it's not only work-related, i'm also very much interested in the culture, the point of view of the japanese. they are meticulously precise in everything, i love that!
you currently have five stores in italy and the new mauro grifoni store in amsterdam is the first one abroad. to us the city seems an unlikely choice as european fashion hubs such as london and paris would be more obvious options. how did the store come about? ah, but why? the franchise takers are good friends of mine and they proposed opening a grifoni store as it would be a good fit, and i wouldn't have done it if i weren't convinced. we do have a plan ready for further international expansion of standalone stores. but as a matter of fact we already have sizeable shop-in-shops at lane crawford in shanghai and beijing
the interior design of each of your stores seems to be different. do you have a specific vision what your retail spaces should be like? for me it's important not to create generic aesthetics for my stores. in italy one city is quite different from the other, and that should be somehow reflected in the interior. i always take into account the local architecture and atmosphere. however, it's a different thing when it comes to shop-in-shops at department stores as we have a specific retail format for those.
what's your impression of amsterdam from a fashion point of view? it's only my second time here so i don't know the city that well. but i think the people are well dressed, especially the women in the area of this new store.
apart from wearing mauro grifoni, are there any other brands you wear or like in particular? i very much like rick owens and valentino. they have two very different but also very personal visions. i also like junya watanabe. i think a designer's point of view should be precise and consistent, i'm not much of a fan of fashion designers with a volatile sense of aesthetics.