alain elkann interviews

ART AND DESIGN

Massimo Ferragamo

Massimo Ferragamo

Massimo Ferragamo, how did you become the “American Ferragamo?” The best things in life happen by chance. Back when I was a humble student, I had a conversation with the chairman of Saks Fifth Avenue who was visiting Florence. He suggested I do the executive training...

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Urs Fischer

Urs Fischer

I have just finished a long interview with Urs Fischer in his huge studio in Brooklyn, not far from the bridge that I am now crossing. Today the sky is very blue, as it sometimes is in New York in winter. This amazing view of the city, its bridges and skyscrapers,...

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Mariano Rubinacci

Mariano Rubinacci

Mariano Rubinacci’s large shop and tailor's workshop is headquartered in the heart of Naples in the sixteenth century Palazzo Cellamare. "My son Luca marks the third generation. My father started in 1930 almost by chance. He was from a good upper-class Neapolitan...

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Tracey Emin

Tracey Emin

The job of the artist is to actually make time stand still. Tracey Emin is in her London studio. She says: “I bought this building in 2010. I live two minutes from here in a really old house that was built in 1729. This once used to be an artists' area, now it is more...

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George Wachter

George Wachter

“We just sold a Turner for £30.3 million.” George Wachter is Chairman of Sotheby’s North and South America and Co-Chairman of Old Master Paintings Worldwide, with over forty years of experience in his field. He joined Sotheby’s Old Master Paintings department in 1973...

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Loulou de la Falaise

Loulou de la Falaise

LIVING POETICALLY The art of living life as a muse. Loulou de la Falaise, with her international pedigree, epitomised the archetype of the Parisian lady. I loved her elegance, her imaginativeness, her brilliant creativity and her incorrigible non-conformity. She also...

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Gianfranco Ferré

Gianfranco Ferré

My secret? I love my life. Gianfranco Ferré welcomes me into his office in Via Spiga in Milan. He’s relaxed and smiling as if he’s just returned from a long holiday. He’s wearing a shirt with bizarre black and white stripes, and a tie that with its strange mixed...

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Pierre Cardin

Pierre Cardin

Glamour? It’s about learning to cover up. Pierre Cardin arrives in a dark green Jaguar driven by a chauffeur dressed in an impeccable blue uniform. The fashion designer gets out wearing a blue jacket with gold buttons, a shirt with large checks and a white collar,...

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Sally Clarke

Sally Clarke

My Passion for Real Food. Sally, you are soon going to celebrate thirty years of your restaurant Clarke’s in London's Kensington Church Street. Have many things changed since you started? From the age of twelve and a half I had the real idea that you could run a...

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Edmondo di Robilant

Edmondo di Robilant

Robilant + Voena are agents and dealers in fine art. Edmondo, why did you come to live in London in the early seventies and then never go back to Italy to work? The choice was never really mine. My parents didn't give me the option, but decided that I should be...

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Richard Avedon

Richard Avedon

From Napalm to Beautiful Women. Richard Avedon is a small man. His face is sunken in and he hides behind his white mane of hair and large tortoise-shell glasses. He is dressed in black velvet and has shiney shoes. He’s in the middle of the Sala delle Cariatidi in the...

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Calvin Klein

Calvin Klein

"I’ve seduced the world with casual elegance." Calvin Klein gets out of a Mercedes and goes into an Italian restaurant downtown. He is dressed in dark grey and is wearing a crew-necked pullover without a shirt underneath. He is very thin and lanky. When he speaks, he...

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Paolo Roversi

Paolo Roversi

A life spent in photography. What does that mean? It’s a great life because photography is a way to express oneself with a wonderful language, a universal language that doesn’t need to be translated or interpreted. That everyone can understand. It’s a language that is...

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Helen Ghosh

Helen Ghosh

Looking after special places, for ever, for everyone. Dame Helen, you are Director General of the National Trust. What is the National Trust? The National Trust is an organisation that has changed a lot in the last one hundred and twenty years. Its purpose is to...

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Helmut Newton

Helmut Newton

Helmut Newton is sitting in a light green chair in his studio on the thirty-third floor of a high rise in Monte Carlo with a view of the sea, the Tennis Club and the peninsula where designer Karl Lagerfeld has his house up on high. The great photographer is dressed...

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David LaChapelle

David LaChapelle

Art can be a prism which transcends and transforms. LANDSCAPE, a new exhibition of David LaChapelle’s work, is showing at the Robilant+Voena Gallery in Milan. Marco Voena is with Jacqueline and I in the Armani Hotel. We just met Sophia Loren, here having lunch with a...

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Charles Saumarez Smith

Charles Saumarez Smith

Charles Saumarez Smith is Secretary and Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Arts in London's Piccadilly. Charles, after having been at the National Portrait Gallery and then the National Gallery, how is it to run the Royal Academy? To be honest, it is more...

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Carla Bruni

Carla Bruni

Carla Bruni shows up right on time at the Bar des Théâtres, which is located on the Avenue Montaigne a stone’s throw from Christian Dior’s maison. She is wearing a velvet hat that she bought at a flea market, a small Azzedine Alaïa pullover in fluffy black velvet: a...

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Nicholas Serota

Nicholas Serota

Sir Nicholas Serota, Director of London’s Tate Gallery, says that: “Today art must know how to entertain.” Nicholas Serota, as director of the Tate Modern Gallery, you wanted to hold a retrospective of German artist Gerhard Richter’s work. This is an artist you have...

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Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood

Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood: “People have never been so poorly dressed.” Vivienne Westwood, what state is the fashion industry in? “I make avant-garde things, but I hear from people that there is a crisis, and that it is quite serious. I don’t know how long it...

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Elizabeth Peyton

Elizabeth Peyton

Elizabeth Peyton smiled when I asked if I could interview her, but was reticent. She told me that she had previous bad experiences.  But then she said yes, and the interview took place in the back seats of a big black German car at seven o' clock in the morning, on...

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Thaddaeus Ropac

Thaddaeus Ropac

Best wishes to Thaddaeus Ropac on the April 28th 2017 opening of his London gallery at Ely House on Dover Street. I had the pleasure of interviewing him in Salzburg in August 2014: It is Sunday afternoon and, after a delicious lunch that ended with apricot strudel and...

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Carlo Orsi

Carlo Orsi

Carlo Orsi is President of The Association of Italian Antique Dealers (AAI). Carlo, you come from a famous family of Milan antique dealers. What has changed in your profession over the years? The world has changed and the way we perceive our profession of antique...

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Paolo Bulgari

Paolo Bulgari

Paolo Bulgari is very tall with white hair: he is a man of few words but has a considerable sense of humour. He works in his office on the first floor in via Condotti above the legendary jeweller’s shop. The offices were renovated a year ago and the walls are covered...

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Gaetano Pesce

Gaetano Pesce

Gaetano Pesce has just arrived in his office in downtown Manhattan at 543 Broadway. “I have lived in New York since 1980, for 34 years. I love the city, but this summer we have heavy rain all the time and it is quite inconvenient after the very cold winter we just...

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Mimmo Paladino

Mimmo Paladino

In Rome, where the weather is terribly hot, I go to visit Mimmo Paladino in his studio on the top floor of a Palazzo in Piazza Navona, facing the church of Sant’ Agnese by Borromini. The terrace is amazingly big and I ask Mimmo: Do you play tennis on this terrace?...

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Giorgio Armani

Giorgio Armani

Giorgio Armani is in good spirits, wearing long dark blue Bermuda shorts and a dark brown T-shirt. He is tanned and resting at his home on the island of Pantelleria, an oasis of true luxury, very quiet and with a light breeze. It's seven o'clock in the evening and, in...

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Cristina Acidini

Cristina Acidini

I go to visit Dr Cristina Acidini, Superintendent of the Historical, Artistic and Ethno-anthropological Heritage and the Museums of the City of Florence. I open a little door in a little street of Florence that divides the Palazzo Vecchio and the Vasarian building of...

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Joseph Brodsky

Joseph Brodsky

Skinheads, Nazis and prejudices. Anti-Semitism is the child of Fear.  Joseph Brodsky (1940-1996) does not give way to pessimism: the past is a spent force, history does not repeat itself. December 1st, 1992. The 1987 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, one of...

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Oscar de la Renta

Oscar de la Renta

I am very sad about Oscar's death. The fashion world won't be the same without his smile, his positive and warm energy, his loyalty to his friends. What a splendid example for all of us of someone who loved and worked at his craft from his very early days to the very...

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// FEATURED

Money Must Stay in the Family

The plot of Money Must Stay in the Family, unfolds around the family matriarch’s last will and traces the story of an upper class Jewish family from Turin, the fictional Ottolenghis. The multigenerational saga begins with the flight from Mussolini’s Racial Laws of 1938 and continues with the arrival in the Upper West Side of Manhattan and the dispersion from New York to Rome, Paris, Tuscany, South America, and Jerusalem.

// PUBLICATIONS

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