Have you always wanted to be a fashion designer? I was very passionate about being a designer very early in my life. I remember sketching pieces when I was younger, and I would go into the streets and ask people questions about their vision of fashion. Although I studied literature at the University of Florence, it was an essential experience for me [as a designer] because it expanded my vision. After I had studied literature, I took fashion design at Polimoda, also in Florence. Some people set out to make astonishing clothes, but I stuck with the basics and the construction of the clothes, which is a dominant feature of my work. After school you worked at several firms. What did you learn? My first job was as an assistant designer at Anton Giulio Grande for both the haute couture and ready-to-wear collections. I worked in womenswear and got to understand the needs of my clients. I learned the importance of attention to detail. Haute couture is about translating dreams into wearable fashion, and that's how I developed a consumer-oriented approach to design. After that I worked at Avant Toi, a luxury knitwear company, where I learned to experiment with dyeing techniques on different fabrics. Why did you decide to pursue menswear instead of womenswear? I find menswear more challenging. I have seen men becoming more fashion conscious over the past 20 years. They understand the quality, structure and beauty of the product much better [than previously]. I don't design for people who support a brand just because it's trendy - I decided to be a menswear designer because I saw the enormous potential of it. It's also more challenging because you have fewer pieces to work on. Usually it's about jackets, trousers and shirts, so you can focus more on the detail, construction and fabric. How did you end up working at Ferragamo? I've always wanted to work for Ferragamo because it's a prestigious brand associated with glamour and heritage. When they offered me the position I just grabbed it. I started as an assistant for knitwear, then worked in sportswear before becoming creative director of menswear in 2005. I was aware of respecting their values and heritage and showcasing them at their best. What is your vision for the brand? Fashion is not just about the design anymore. It's important to spend time in the store, see how the consumers are reacting and understand their needs. Fashion is not only about aesthetics, but about functionality and comfort as well. That design philosophy works better for men because they are more practical, but I can see womenswear heading in that direction as well. Menswear is not about being risky and adventurous, but is more of an evolution where my design philosophy shines. You've been at Ferragamo since 2000. How has your work evolved? It's more fluid and user-friendly. I think of men as on the go constantly because most of my customers are travellers. The pieces are less formal and lighter, so they are easy to pack and good for mixing and matching. I want my consumers to look smart and elegant for every occasion. For me, being practical doesn't mean you have to be a fashion victim who wears the same pieces. Where do you get your inspiration? I am strongly influenced by contemporary art and movies such as The Sheltering Sky, The Lives of Others and In the Mood for Love because they stimulate my curiosity in mixing different cultures. I also love to travel. For spring, India is my inspiration. I toured Rajasthan with a friend last March and my spring collection embodies the amazing colours and the ethnic aspect of the state. I have used bright colours such as blue and orange, while my favourite pieces are tie-dyed suits, made using a traditional Indian dyeing technique.