My interview with Luciano Barbera at Pitti Uomo continues. This is the second of three parts. You can read the first part here. Follow the LB Virtual Magazine here. StyleForum: How can a man dress elegantly in a society that is less formal, without seeming pretentious? Luciano Barbera: Above all, have some essential jackets, that can be worn in many ways. So that you can go out with friends, wear a tie or not, etc.. I think that, even if there is more freedom, it's important know what's more comfortable in each situation. Instead of using these ski jackets in your free time, when going out to a restaurant at night or on the weekend, what about a nice deconstructed blazer with an open-necked shirt, even a neckerchief. There's no need to wear cargo pants to a restaurant. There serve no purpose in that setting. You can wear instead some nice cotton or flannel trousers, you can permit yourself that. You can choose in your own wardrobe – not everyone's has to be the same. There are some who would never go out to eat without a dark suit, white shirt, and classic necktie, which is all fine. You can do that without being troublesome to others. There are many ways to distinguish oneself from all those who leave their house in the morning with a ski jacket that they're pulling at all day. There are great opportunities today to distinguish yourself and still remain comfortable in your environment. SF: Do you think about what environment a garment can be worn in when you design it? LB: I'm always thinking about it. Already from the birth of a design, or a type of fabric, I dream about what I would be looking for in a given situation. Then we present it in this way. Then, maybe we designed a fabric with the thought that it would be more formal, and somebody sees it and decides to use it for a shirt jacket. I never impose on someone to use something in the way that I imagined it. When you create these things, and see them used, even if in a different way than you thought, they are still yours. And this constitutes part of the sensibility of the buyer. I really value contact with intelligent buyers. Those that just buy something as is without thinking too much, it's an easy way to buy things. When there's some discussion, I enjoy that. SF: You have traveled a lot in your life. Have you adopted any of the styles of other countries in your clothes? LB: I remember in the early 70s I was traveling in Japan - I love Japanese food - and I saw these marvelous kimonos. But they would only wear these beautiful colors in their own homes. When they went outside, they always wore dark suits; black, dark blue, charcoal. And I wondered why they didn't adopt a little more color in their dress. Seeing those beautiful silks made me think more about color, and how to use it in men's clothing. And on top of that, although many say that the American man has no culture and is poorly dressed, it's not true at all. When I have traveled to Boston and New York, I have seen some of the best dressed men in the world. I have always admired what Ralph Lauren has built with his brand. He created an idea of an American aristocracy with his designs. SF: And borrowed a lot from the English, yes? LB: The English were masters of it all. But the English cut was too rigid. While the Southern Italian style is to tailor a jacket more softly. Now, everyone is trying to adapt to the needs of the modern man, and styles have converged a lot. There is certainly still some creativity allowed for each designer, but we're all living in the same world. And we're all trying to discover how to live better in today's world. SF: That project of living better is at the heart of style, isn't it? LB: Exactly. To me, the true luxury is to live with serenity. To have an interior calm. Living with all this stress, as many do today, destroys you. I see people with faces in a mask of tension. These people need to find more time for themselves. SF: Although designs have converged over the years, as you say - the clothes of Luciano Barbera don't seem to have changed too much. LB: We've never been the fashion of the moment. We have a way of doing things that proceeds over time, with some small changes, or occasionally with some large changes, according to the times we live in. The fashion of the moment is ephemeral and dies away quickly. While we are here for you, to offer you something for every situation in your life, but we don't attempt to impose anything on you. But you know that it's A) of high quality B) created with love and passion, and C) it has a pleasing appearance. Then the decisions are yours. Even in overcoat weather, Signor Barbera gives you the opportunity and the suggestion to wear a flower in your lapel. Wool knit ties. Gorgeous fabric on this jacket. More wool ties. Rich brown with a luscious lapel roll. My favorite scarf again. I'll have a jacket out of each, please. Brown and cream herringbone overcoat. Same coat from the back. The right kind of red tie. The two guys talking. Nice rack. Stitchy's favorite.