Style Icons – Antonio Ciongoli
Today I would like introduce you to a new series of articles on the blog. I want to tell the story about the people who inspires me, both for their unique style and humble personality. For today’s post I would to introduce you to Antonio Ciongoli, father, husband and Creative Director for one of my favorite brands Eidos Napoli.
The story for Antonio’s life began in 1984 in Burlington, a town in the northern parts of United States and close to the border of Canada. Antonio started his journey reading art history during high school and ended up doing his senior year in St’ Stephen’s School in Rome. It was during his senior year where the discovered art history and something that he decided he wanted to immerse during college. He applied for art history classes at Villanova in Philadelphia and ended up doing two years before the applied for a transfer to another college. The journey continued to the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where Antonio got into communications where he later majored in the same.
After Antonio graduated at the University of Southern California, he started designing skate shoes and something that got his attention. After spending some time finding a design job without a design degree, the luck finally came and he started doing graphic design for Vineyard Vines. A couple of months later he designed clothing and he ended up doing accessories for all departments for the company.
Antonio continued his journey and joined the design team for the Rugby label over at Ralph Lauren. Doing his first two years at Ralph Lauren he was a designer for cutting and sewing knitwear. From there he went to be the right hand man and Deputy Creative Director for Michael Bastian and his self-titled line under Ralph Lauren for three years. It was during this time that Antonio met the people behind Isaia, and where he later pitched the idea of what today is known as Eidos Napoli. The idea behind Eidos was that it should not just be a diffusion line for Isaia, but instead a complete and unique idea of its own. It was meant for those guys who could not afford or were not ready for the luxurious Isaia, but wanted an alternative that offered affordable clothing with high quality construction and fabrics.
Eidos is inspired by Neapolitan tailoring but with sport influences, which is a combination that many brands have tried before without succeeding. I asked myself the question, why would Eidos be any different than all the other brands that failed with this combination? The answer for this is Antonio. What he did is that he took what he learned from his time at Michael Bastian and his own thoughts, to one of Isaia’s other factories and ended up producing what today may be the most interesting and creative sartorial brand.
I met Antonio for the first time in Florence during the summer edition of Pitti Uomo in 2014. The first thing that strikes you is that he is such a humble guy and talks good about everyone and everything. And when I changed subject to sartorial clothing he quickly shined up like a star and talked so passionate about his new project Eidos, but also about other brands. He explained the story behind every single garment that they had in their stand, about why he choose that particular fabric to that jacket, to those trousers and why he choose those buttons and details to that cardigan. It was at this time when I understood that Eidos, and with Antonio behind the brand, had all the possibilities to be something huge.
In February 2015, I arranged a trip to New York to be able to attend to Eidos Napoli’s first show at New York Fashion Week Fall Winter 2015. I was invited to be able to meet the whole team behind Eidos Napoli, Antonio Ciongoli, Sarrah Candee, Quinton Clemm and Glen Allsop. And I must say that it was a fantastic opportunity to meet the people behind such a inspirational brand. For those who are not familiar with the team, Sarrah is the Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Isaia and Eidos, Quinton Clemm is the Account Executive for the brand and Glen Allsop do all the photographing for the campaigns and lookbooks. What I learned from my trip was that this was not just an ordinary team, they treated everyone like family. Even I that was a visitor, a unknown guy from Stockholm, felt that I was treated as family, I was invited to dinner, and we all ate like a big family. I think what I’m trying to say here is that this passion is also translated into the clothing that Antonio designs for every new season. This can be seen in so many different levels, from the story behind the collections, how and where the lookbooks are photographed and even to small details in the collection themselves.
What I really like about Antonio is not just his personality, but also his personal style and how unique it is. His style can truly be seen in his work, and some garments are of course easier to wear than others. What he truly masters is how to combine tailored and casual clothing, something that easily can look too considered. During summertime he can be seen one day in a well tailored suit, combined with a casual tie, without socks and with the characteristic Belgian loafers. The day after he can instead be seen wearing a tuxedo inspired jacket with wide lapels, with a pair of linen trousers and espadrilles. For winter we can him in see Antonio wearing a flannel suit, combined with a rough field jacket, chukka boots, and a newsboy cap. Another day he can instead wear one of Eidos belted cardigans, denim shirt, stone-washed jeans and a pair of field boots.
I can honestly say that Antonio is one of my biggest source of inspirations. He is one of the persons who have inspired me the most to combine tailored and casual clothing in a subtle way. So instead of wearing a dressed shirt why not exchange the shirt to a washed polo shirt instead? Or why not some kind of knitwear under the sport coat during winter? Instead of wearing a pair of well polished oxfords to a navy suit, exchange them to a pair of Belgian loafers instead. These are just a few of many examples of what I have applied for my own personal style, they may sound like simple steps, but they changed the formality of the clothing drastically. The most important lesson that I have learned from Antonio is to not take everything so serious, relax and combine different styles instead. This is my tribute to Antonio Ciongoli, and to one of the most humble guys that I have ever met in my life.