Llevo tiempo intentando evitar haceros eco de la “dedicatoy lettter” con la que empieza el libro “The Suit” de Nicholas Antogiavanni. En ésta Nicholas ofrece consejos tanto a John Elkann como al resto de los empleados del Grupo Fiat para que puedan presumir de vestir elegantemente.
El hecho de que el hermano de John Elkann, el estrafalario Lapo Elkann, fuera uno de esos empleados cuando el libro fue a la imprenta (era el responsable de la promoción de la marca FIAT) y el tono cómico utilizado en la carta hacen de esta dedicatoty letter todo un alegato a favor de la verdadera elegancia.
Nicolas Antongiavanni to John Elkann:
It is customary for those who desire to acquire favour with a well-dressed man to give him things of their own that they care for most or things that they see please him most. Thus, one often see them being presented with French lisle socks, English suspenders with white gut ends, bolts of ancient tweed, antique cufflinks, and similar ornaments worthy of their smartness. Since I desire to ask a favor of you with some testimony of my homage to you, I have found nothing in my belongings that I care for so much and esteem so greatly as my knowledge of the habits of well-dressed men, learned from long experience with modern dress and a continuous study of classic style. Having thought out and examined these things with great diligence for a long time, and now reduced them to one small volume, I send it to you.
I hope that you will find it useful in instilling sartorial discipline in your workforce, from which great advantage may be gained. For in times of prosperity, customs and mores always slacken, as success makes men insolent and riches make them idle. But in times of trouble they become circumspect, fretting that their prior conduct has caused their present ruin. They begin to respect those whose habits remained firm even in the boom years. This happens no less in matters of dress, which are an outward sign of our inner spirit. “Business casual” said to the world that making money is so easy, and slob can do it. But now that it has been proved difficult, men are less willing to trust their money to those who do not dress with care and respect. Thus by attiring your company smartly, you would attract all the capital and overwhelm your competition.
You should aim for them to emulate the dandies of old, while honouring the conventions of our time. And you should not have any fear of the word. As invented by George Brummell two centuries ago, the dandy is the enemy of the splendiferous and effeminate. He instead favors simple clothes, pristine in cut, immaculate in fit, made from resilient materials by expert craftsmen, never ostentations, always manly-not the garishness of Carson Kressley but the tastefulness of Brian Williams. So far from frippery, dandyism is the mean between foppishness and slovenliness. As Tully says, “in the matter of dress, the intermediate course is best.” This little book will help you and your employees find the middle way and thrive along it. And I hope that it will not be thought presumption if a poor and obscure man dares to discuss and give rules for the art of dress. For although looking smart is so much more important for busy global executives than is for the rest of us, they have no time to study these things, whereas I have had ample occasion to investigate and record them.
Therefore, take this small gift in the spirit with which I send it. If you consider and read it diligently, you will learn from it my extreme desire that you and your employees attain the peak of elegance. And if you will at some time turn your eyes from the summit of Chairman’s suite at Fiat to these low places, you will learn how great is my desire to serve as a sartorial consultant to your company.
A pesar de que en mi opinión la forma de vestir de Lapo Elkann no puede distar más de lo que yo considero elegante, no hay que olvidar que Lapo Elkann fue elegido uno de los diez hombres mejor vestidos del mundo en el año 2007 por la revista Vanity Fair, es considerado por muchos individuos como el dandy del S. XXI y es objeto casi de culto por Scott Schuman, fundador de la archiconocida página Sartotialist.