DI: What's your background and how did you get to where you are now? Where did your interest in design begin?
AC: I did my senior year of high school in Rome. And that's when I really discovered art history. Then when I got to college, I double majored in art history and communications. I really thought I was going to study art history. I was at Villanova, which is a great school, but the art history department wasn't great, and the communications department wasn't great. So I applied to transfer, and applied to a bunch of art history schools and communication schools. I got into the communication schools, and not the art history schools. So the decision was made for me. But my interest in art history has always found its way into what I do. Last season was about Florence and there were many references to art history in the collection.
Antonio at Pitti for Fall/Winter 2014 (I forgot to snap a portrait this time 'round).
When was out at USC, I started working designing skate shoes, since I grew up a skateboarder. I had a friend who grew up with some professional skateboarders, in particular one named Brian Wenning, who was a skateboarder for DC Shoes. So I ended up designing a shoe for him, and that was my first entry into [designing]. And I decided it was something interested in and wanted to go into.
I moved back east and spent about six months trying to get a design job without a degree in it and it wasn't happening. So I applied and was accepted at Parsons, and right before I had to send in my security deposit, I got an interview with Vineyard Vines to answer phones in call centers. I brought my portfolio with me to the interview and showed it to the person who was interviewing me. They brought people in to look at it, and they hired me. I was doing graphic design for a couple of months, then clothing, and by the end of it I was doing all the kids and men's and women's accessories.
From there I joined the design team at Rugby for Ralph Lauren. I was a cut and sew designer there for about two years, and then from there I went and worked as #2 in design at Michael Bastian for three years, and that's how I met the Isaia people. Michael and the Isaia people had been talking, and I met Agyesh Madan, who has since become one of my best friends, and who until recently was head of product development for Isaia, and got to know Jim [Shay, Isaia President] and Gianluca [Isaia]. I knew that they had had this other factory for the last 35 years. This was when Isaia was making a huge social media push, with the red Isaia pin everywhere. It seemed to me like there was a real opportunity for a brand that was all made in Italy, focused on quality, but that was targeted towards guys that were sartorially minded, but weren't ready for bespoke and and couldn't get to Isaia. But I wanted it to be a complete idea, not just an Isaia diffusion line. So I pitched them on the idea, and it's taken us a while to figure out how to do it, but this is what we landed on.