Lapo Elkann talks personal taste: Part One

Lapo Elkann, the grandson of Gianni Agnelli, runs the design business Italia Independent and is a creative consultant for Ferrari’s Tailor-Made service

Lapo Elkann in his office in Turin
Lapo Elkann in his office in Turin | Image: Fabio Massimo Aceto

My personal style signifiers are my flocked velvet 090V glasses from my brand Italia Independent, and my tattoos – I have 14, including the Italian flag, the Statue of Liberty and the word “Independent”. Most of them are the work of the brilliant Mark Mahoney, who runs the Shamrock Social Club studio in Beverly Hills. Shamrock Social Club, 9026 West Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA 90069 (+1310-271 9664;

Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT, £59,630
Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT, £59,630

The last thing I bought and loved was not one thing, but three. I am known for being a petrolhead, and I’ve got the latest Jeep Cherokee SRT, with a highly tuned V8 engine, and the first Fiat 500 to be made with houndstooth paintwork. It is the sporty Abarth model, and I designed the finish myself. The third thing is a very special Ducati Diavel street bike. I’m working closely with the design team to create it.


The thing I’m eyeing next is a tuxedo that I have collaborated on with Frida Giannini, the creative director of Gucci, which will be part of Gucci’s made-to-measure programme. It is made from beautiful carta da zucchero velvet and lined with vintage Gucci scarves. Also, I’m awaiting a pair of black alligator and corduroy boots, versatile enough to wear with a suit, jeans and chinos, and on my motorcycle.

Marine iguana on the Galápagos Islands
Marine iguana on the Galápagos Islands | Image: Getty Images/Robert Harding World Imagery

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is the Galápagos Islands. It is not corrupted by money or the power of man. I stayed on a boat there and discovered a true paradise on earth, filled with amazing creatures you can get close to.

Sammlung Boros art gallery, Berlin 
Sammlung Boros art gallery, Berlin  | Image: NOSHE

The best souvenir I’ve brought home is the smile I got from a Brazilian kid when I was visiting Rio de Janeiro. I spent six years of my early childhood in Brazil, and it was heavenly – but this little boy’s life was the opposite of what mine had been, as he clearly lived a very poor existence. I gave him a pair of sunglasses and, in return, he gave me the most incredible, genuine, meaningful smile I have ever seen.

The Wolseley, London
The Wolseley, London

A recent find is a Berlin private art gallery that a collector has created in a wartime bunker, with wonderful work by young artists. Sammlung Boros, Reinhard Strasse 20, 10117 Mitte, Berlin (+4930-2759 4065;


The last meal that truly impressed me was by my friend Carlo Cracco, who many consider to be the best chef in Italy right now. He came to my home and cooked a spectacular dinner – we had Milanese specialities, including risotto, fish dishes, truffles and Lombardy breads, rounded off with different sorbets. Il Ristorante Cracco, Via Victor Hugo 4, 20123 Milan (+3902-876 774;

The best gift I’ve received recently… well, it sounds very dark, but on the basis that I have recently had to bury my cousin, who was the same age as me, 35, I have to say life seems like a humungous gift right now; that, together with my sobriety and my recovery from addiction.

If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose the area of Mayfair between Savile Row and St James’s, for tailors such as Anderson & Sheppard, Huntsman and Richard James, and the Italian shoemaker Gaziano & Girling. I enjoy breakfast at The Wolseley and oysters at Wiltons, plus the excellent Jermyn Street Barbers. Anderson & Sheppard, 32 Old Burlington St, London W1 (020-7734 1420; Gaziano & Girling, 12 Savile Row, London W1 (01603-434 949; Huntsman, 11 Savile Row, London W1 (020-7734 7441; Jermyn Street Barbers, 74 Jermyn St, London SW1 (020-7839 4550). Richard James, 29 Savile Row, London W1 (020-7434 0605; Wiltons, 55 Jermyn St, London SW1 (020-7629 9955; The Wolseley, 160 Piccadilly, London W1 (020-7499 6996;

My favourite websites are Cool Hunting and The Cools. I check the auction-house sites for cars and art, vintage-clothes stores in Japan and La Gazzetta dello Sport. I also like travel sites for new places to discover – but only for adventure travel, not chichi stuff.

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