Originally from Novi di Modena, Italy, Alessandro Manfredini is a former sculptor and graphic designer, accidently turned fashion model. His engaging, chic, eclectic and unique look and attitude is a refreshing statement of individuality and fearlessness… At 48, he sports an effortless, somehow ageless appeal that smolders mysteriously behind those deeply penetrating eyes.
Meet “The Italian Silver Fox.”
After an earthquake destroyed his home, Alessandro decided to re-channel his ensuing depression into a creative personal project and his signature beard and moustache began to take life… and then almost a life of their own: his expression of manliness became a huge hit after being spotted and followed by thousands on Instagram, which led to a wave of interest and subsequent modeling collaborations within the echelons of fashion, fragrances, beard connoisseurs and classic cars, to the delight of his rapidly growing, impressive fan base.
Sasha Frate: You overcame personal tragedy by reinventing yourself with the look that has brought you much success to date. Can you share what led you in this new direction?
Allesandro Manfredini: I think that the events provoked by the earthquake have profoundly marked my personality and made me think a lot. Prior to that drama I always had a particular look too, but then Brock Elbank discovered me and photographed me for Project60 for Beard Season, a project whose proceeds were donated to research against melanoma.
SF: What’s the story behind your tattoos? How did you decide what artwork would be made permanent for you?
AM: My tattoos have always been tied to a period or situations in my life, both positive and negative events. I personally designed some of them.
SF: Last year you were named “Italy’s Tattooed Silver Fox” and you have certainly earned the title as a beardsman who “wears it best,” with admirers enamored by your style. How would you describe your personal “guide to shaping and trimming a beard?”
AM: I treat my beard with Solomon’s Beard products, which are testimonial. I use the special edition Alessandro Manfredini, mixed with spicy notes of nutmeg, ginger, juniper, sandalwood and patchouli. I usually cut my beard and mustache by myself, but sometimes I entrust it to the experienced hands of my dear friend Corrado Bertarini, the owner of the barbershop “La Barberia”.
SF: You do a lot of work with Karl Mommoo Homme, who describes fashion as being about “something that comes from within you.” With this concept, what do you feel that your fashion best expresses about you?
AM: I usually do not follow to the letter the fashion trends in their entirety. I like combining different genres together, matching unusual clothes of different style. The secret is knowing how to wear them without shame. I like looking for vintage clothes at street markets, giving them a “new opportunity.”
SF: Where do you believe the best sources of inspiration for fashion can be found?
AM: I find the best inspirations for fashion by visiting large multiethnic cities, in order to notice how young guys (those who do not follow fashion) dress up.
SF: What is your favorite look in haute couture and in street style?
AM: As I previously mentioned I like combining different styles. However, you should always have a good tailored Papillon, with a DIY knot, a gilet and a pair of Red Wing.
I think nature, good food and good wine are the greatest pleasures of life, which then can also influence your style and thought.
SF: What is one of your favorite brands to work with?
AM: I have no preferences of brands that I work with. The key point is to deal with professionals and establish a nice relationship with them. I have established friendships with some of them.
SF: What is one of your most meaningful life lessons or philosophies that you have gained on how to live life that you feel others could benefit from?
AM: A question of great responsibility … Life has many surprises in store for you, so it shouldn’t be taken too seriously. The important thing is to have respect for people and nature and be self-deprecating.
SF: Tell me about your current project Mustazzi…?
AM: My project Mustazzi for me is like a game and I want it to remain so. Otherwise it would take me away from things that for me have a larger value, such as friends, animals and LOVE.
SF: When not involved in the fashion scene, how do you typically spend your time?
AM: I spend a lot of my time tending to my garden, vegetables and animals. I’m a sculptor and when I get the chance I try to spend my time practicing this passion. I explore the Emilian countryside in my 1957 Lambretta 150LD. I also really enjoy cooking and having dinner with my closest friends.
You can find more from Alessandro Manfredini on his Instagram.