August 21, 2013 by Ville Raivio
‘I’m 53 years old and the “the mind behind” Classic Parfums. I graduated at the Bocconi in Milan with an MBA. I am married and have two children. I think all three of them consider me slightly mad when it comes to clothing. They smile at my dedication to small details and some of my stylistic choices. Maybe they even pick up a few elements here and there but without documenting it further. [As for hobbies,] there are way too many. I like to cook and eat, travel, drink complex wines, smoke cigars and furthermore I’m interested in art, culture and music. As I already said, there are too many. My problem is that once I’m interested in something I aim to pursue it to the fullest degree, for example cooking. I’m not satisfied with cooking one tasty meal. No, I want to reach at least 1 Michelin Star level. Of course this takes a lot of effort and looking into the subject.
My parents died very early and consequently I have been taking care of myself from an early age on. Nevertheless, my father taught me a lot considering clothing. He never once wore a ready-to-wear garment, everything was custom-made. But by simple craftsmen and not by exclusive tailors, since ready-to-wear clothing wasn’t as advanced back then. My father never got to witness the change to ready-made garments.
Due to him I have gained a lot of respect for clothing. To this present day I often think of his advice to hike up the trouser legs before sitting down in order to prevent them from bulging at the knees. This and many other pieces of advice he has passed on to me. Consequently my own dress style has been quite influenced by it. Since my youth I have always worn classic men’s clothing. It just came naturally to me. I had no access to fashion since my size wasn’t available and therefore I turned towards bespoke clothing out of necessity.
With father a few decades ago
[As for my knowledge on clothing,] at the beginning, predominantly through my father. Later on through my own experience. Additionally, I grew up and studied in Italy and was constantly surrounded by style which left quite an impression on me. Because I advanced into bespoke clothing very early on, different tailors and craftsmen have taught me a lot. Books just gained importance later on more or less as a completion. Most of my knowledge I have gained through observation. The art of observing attentively and thoroughly is the key to many things.
I think someone once said that the special thing about me is that I do not have a distinct clothing style or cut. Of course I always choose more or less classical clothing but considering each clothing item on its own the styles vary quite a bit. Ranging from a flamboyant sports jacket from Sciamát to a conservative cut done by my tailor in Florence. Every now and then I regret not having a particular style. I admire people who are able to obtain a steady style but I cannot resist the various style options.
I am familiar with [the style of the 1920s to ’30s] due to books and movies but I would say I draw most of my inspiration from travels and observation which are primarily temporary. Furthermore, I have to admit that I observe ladies’ fashion just as much as men’s. Since the ladies’ fashion is more innovative in my opinion, it is easy to adapt colours, for instance, and draw further inspiration from it.
I do not own a lot of RTW clothing. A Jeans or a jumper here and there but I do not obey one certain brand. I value the quality of a garment and try to buy it as close from the production era as possible. For example, my stockings, which I acquire from an old boutique in Florence that sells stockings in an excellent quality and in my size. When it comes to tailors, I favour my tailors in Verona and Florence, and for more fancy pieces, Sciamát. Nevertheless, I always keep an open mind for new tailors because I’m fascinated by the different approaches and styles.
Classic Parfums developed, like many things in my life, out of a passion. I always attempt to involve my passions into my work. Most of the time I succeed at fulfilling my passions but occasionally I quit at a project like the wine-trade. My prime aim with Classic Parfums was, and still is, to seek for unknown perfume manufactories that work on a high quality level and offer them to the German market. Not an easy task. The unknown often discourages. At the beginning, only a few people trusted my abilities. Over time we worked to gain our customers’ trust and nowadays we are known as a competent business partner.
Although the store’s success grew substantially due to my wife joining Classic Parfums. I have great ideas, that’s out of question, but she is capable of executing them perfectly which is sometimes even more important. We do not have our own perfumery and we only supply specialised trade and therefore no end-consumers. Consequently, your readers can find our products in many perfumeries in Germany. Our product range is visible at our website http://www.classicparfums.com/. Moreover, we are represented in well-known online stores like firstinfragrance.com and essenzanobile.com.
Right: with master perfumer Lorenzo Villoresi
I discovered the Stilmagazin at a time when it was still called Stilblog and was a regular visitor from the beginning. It has changed quite a bit over the years. Having expanded the variety of topics changed it as well. I participated more actively in the beginning for sure but I’m still an avid reader today. I just focus more on the areas which catch my attention.
My first Blog was created by accident. In order to show my daughter how to create an online blog I setup “Grimod de la Reyniere” on Blogspot as an example for her. Then I thought to myself that if I already have a blog, I could use it as well. Later on it got bigger and a little too much to handle for me since I felt the pressure to create content regularly, which wasn’t possible for me due to my workload. In consequence, I shut down the blog and created a Tumblr. I perceive Tumblr as a more relaxed way of blogging. I don’t know why that is so but I don’t feel pressured to post something. Maybe that results from Tumblr being more like an album rather than a diary.
The world and the people and things surrounding me inspire me. A quote by Valentino Ricci comes to my mind „Style is a person’s characteristic and not one of clothing”. My advice is only this much — travel the world attentively and observe with eyes wide open.’
Pictures: © the Stricker family