Creative director Luca Rubinacci’s favourite hatmaker

The creative director of his family tailors turns to Borsalino for the Ferraris of headgear

Luca Rubinacci with Francesca Martinez at one of two Borsalino boutiques in Milan
Luca Rubinacci with Francesca Martinez at one of two Borsalino boutiques in Milan | Image: Valentina Sommariva

"I like to think that I am something of a specialist when it comes to hats; I counted the other day and I now have almost 100. But while that may sound a lot, I always have space, and a desire, for more. I travel a lot: one week I may be in New York, the next Dubai or Kazakhstan and I often come back with a new hat.  

I don’t know where my love of hats comes from, as my father hates wearing them; even in winter he goes bareheaded. I tell him at least to wear a cashmere cap, but he says: ‘No, my brain should be fresh.’ However, I like to keep my mind warm, which is why I am grateful to the late Sergio Loro Piana, who introduced me to beaver hats. They are the Ferraris of headgear; you can screw them up into a ball and they spring back into shape. We sell unlined ones in our shops, but for more formal wear I prefer Borsalino’s lined beaver hats. 

If asked to choose a favourite hatmaker, I would have to pick Borsalino because it is an iconic Italian hatmaker that brings extra touches that turn a hat into a treasured accessory. Its panamas, the Montecristi hats, are also fantastic, very light. I love its boutique in Milan and am always staggered by the choice of felts and coloured hatbands. It’s incredibly hard to choose between all the hats, so I place myself in the expert hands of Francesca Martinez, who has great taste. 

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Whatever the occasion there is an appropriate hat; other than Borsalino I try to find the best hatmakers for that particular style wherever it is around the world. When I got married recently, my father and I went to Lock & Co in London for top hats to go with our morning coats. And I love sailing, so naturally I wear something completely different when I am on a boat. In summer I like to wear little traditional fisherman’s crocheted skullcaps in cream cotton that have been worn by Capri’s mariners for centuries. 

I have many other styles, but the hardest to find are the newsboy caps that you see in American films of the 1930s and 1940s: typically, they are worn by the kid riding the bicycle, throwing the papers onto people’s porches. A friend from New York brings me one as a present every time he comes to Milan for a fitting, but he takes the label out so I cannot see where he bought it, and he refuses to tell me the shop’s name. He says: ‘At least I have something to give you as a present – when it comes to clothing you have everything else already.'"

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