Carlo Brandelli, former creative director of Kilgour, came into the agency today to give one of our occasional talks from interesting and inspiring figures from the broader world of creativity.
Carlo didn't go to fashion college, but learnt from the artisans and craftsmen who surrounded him as he was growing up in Italy. He founded his own successful label Squire, bringing together the worlds of art and fashion, at the age of 24.
Kilgour, the famous Savile Row tailor responsible for dressing some of the most elegant men in the world (Cary Grant and Fred Astaire among them) approached Carlo in 1998 to design their first ready to wear collections. In October 2003 Carlo joined Kilgour full time as Creative and Design Director, with the brief ‘to create a new kind of menswear brand,blending menswear skill and heritage with modern design‘. He brought the company into the new millennium with a sleek new store, and a pared-down collection that adhered to his own strict aesthetic.
In 2005 he won the Menswear Designer Of The Year award, presented by the British Fashion Council, the highest award of its kind in the country, and was voted GQ Magazine's most stylish man. A menswear design award from Arena magazine also followed and an award from British Esquire in 2007 for best menswear fashion brand. A debut Fashion Menswear Show in Paris June 2008 was received with critical acclaim. He has a raft of nominations from GQ magazine for Menswear Designer of
the Year and is a fixture in their 'top 50 best dressed men' list.
So he's just the sort of guy to debate the finer points of sartorial elegance with W+K style gurus like Gav, Dazzer and Danny Wallace: men for whom socks with sandals qualifies as 'a look'.
It was a fascinating talk and really interesting to hear of the similarities and differences between the worlds of fashion and advertising.
Similar: a lot of the creative work only gets produced in the pressured environment of the impending deadline; the creative process never seems to be easy; customers can be difficult and demanding; there are all sorts of category rules there to be broken; you get to see your clients with no clothes on. (I'm thinking here, in our case, of saunas with Nokia rather than fitting sessions with Tony Blair or Bryan Ferry.)
Different: there is no 'brief' in the world of fashion (though there can be some strict design parameters); budgets are much smaller; dressing as a banana probably not OK when meeting with Jude Law to discuss his suiting requirements.
W+K's style icon Noe pays close attention to Carlo's presentation.
This morning, we were swapping stories here about bad reactions from clients to presentations. Thought I'd share one or two of the stories.
Here's one that happened a little while ago.
Client: "You're making me nervous with these ideas."
Creative Director: "Well, nervous can be a good thing."
Client: "Yes, but this is the bad kind of nervous."
If I get time, later, I'll recount the story of the marketing director who physically attacked me to try to stop me from singing him our ideas for some radio ads. Oh, how we laughed about that one.
Interesting to see how the local press in Swindon has covered W+K's campaign to announce the reopening of Honda's UK factory, which is located in the area. The coverage suggests that it's a controversial move locally to spend money on an advertising campaign when workers have accepted pay cuts, but reports that Honda workers have backed the campaign. Most of those interviewed seem to have seen the campaign as a positive step, likely to encourage the business to get moving. A Swindon-based marketing expert is quoted as saying he thinks the campaign is 'a wise move'. And the article talks of Honda's 'impressive track record when it comes to advertising.'
A follow-up piece said 'readers giving their backing to Honda's ad campaign'.
An online poll conducted by the paper revealed 57
per cent of readers supported the campaign.
Pat, on a conference call, under the watchful eye of Wieden.
Blue sky thinking in the 'fishbowl' meeting room?
The adverts that your company has produced for Honda to celebrate the
re-opening of the Swindon factory are superb.
I have been listening to
them on Classic FM each morning as I travel to work.
As a teacher of
Geography my interest lies in their use as learning and teaching aids for
pupils. These short to the point adverts get across the principle of the
"knock-on" or "domino" effect that is part of the course work in industrial
Is it possible to get a copy of the whole set of adverts to
use for education purposes?
I would love to incorporate the adverts
into our teaching presentations to engage pupils in thinking about the impact of
Nice to get some feedback that shows people are engaged.
First up: the awesome White Denim, who rocked. Totally. Wah-wah, baby, wah-wah!
Strangely, their bassist looked like a 14 year old swot. He sang backing vocals at one point and I swear the kid's voice hasn't even broken yet. But he was STILL awesome.
Next up, in just a minute now:
From the Independent's Monday media section (link):
Best in Show: Honda (Wieden & Kennedy)
At the beginning of the year Honda
closed its Swindon factory. It didn’t want to make redundancies,
despite the collapse of the car market, so it shut up shop for a few
The decision was clear evidence of a
brand that, when the crunch came, remained true to the values
encapsulated in its marketing.
Now Swindon has reopened and Honda
has launched a marketing campaign through Wieden & Kennedy to
celebrate. This is one of the posters, but there are some lovely press
executions too, with well-crafted copy and a clean design. Isn’t it
nice when brands do as they say?
White’s new supergroup, The Dead Weather, perform their first European
gig tonight From the Basement online and on mobile. Check out
www.ftblive.com to sign up for a reminder and watch the in-studio
preparations live as they happen with Nokia N97.
We’ll also be streaming the gig live to Rough Trade East London (get
down there at 6.00 pm to collect your wristband for the live stream and an
in-store gig from White Denim), Avalanche Records Glasgow, Piccadilly
Records Manchester and Rounder Records Brighton.
That’s The Dead Weather, tonight 9.00 pm, at www.ftblive.com.
Global finance director Claudia laughs in the face of recession, goes right ahead and orders the lobster pasta.
Claudia and UK Finance Director Bronwen toast the joy of the Excel spreadsheet.