Interview with Lorenzo Osti

As we are sadly unable to speak directly to the late Massimo Osti himself, what better alternative than to have the opportunity to chat with his son, Lorenzo, who offers not only a link to the past and all the great work of his father, but also a lens to the future through his own work at Studio Osti.  Here, Lorenzo answers a few questions posed by the members of the OA forum.

If there was one piece from your father’s collection you would like to see reissued what would it be and why?

I have always been in love with the light cotton trousers my mum and dad used to wear in the Summer. I’m not a great fan of shorts but those trousers were perfect for hot weather – they’re fresh, light and perfect for the city, but I still can’t find anything similar.

Which was your father’s favourite brand (both on which he worked on and other brands) and why?

He was a great admirer of Armani, whom he considered a master of formal apparel, and a great innovator who was always looking for elegance and comfort. He particularly loved his unlined soft blazers.

What’s your personal favourite jacket from any of the SPW collections and why?

My favourite is a classic C.P. Company Saharan jacket, made of linen and cotton and garment dyed. Maybe because my father was always wearing one and it brings back a lot of memories to me.

Do you feel the pressure of being Massimo’s son and also being involved in the clothing industry, considering the way his work is celebrated within the industry, or does it spur you on to try and equal or surpass what he did during his career?

For sure yes, I feel the pressure. And luckily, I’m not a designer! I started working in the industry when I was 21 as brand manager for ST95. It didn’t take much time to realise that it would be impossible to understand if I was good at doing something, because I was always “the boss’s son”.

I decided to quit and I opened my own web and graphic design company with 3 friends, which I still run as CEO.

When I get back to the Studio, my role has always been different from my dad’s one, and I think this saved me from a great frustration, because it would have been a nightmare to be a designer with a dad like Massimo Osti!

My role now is to keep my father’s heritage alive. To me this means to let new generations know what has been done, but also to bring an approach to this job that was typical of Massimo. Our designer, Donrad Duncan, has the same approach: be passionate about the product and do not worry about fashion and trends, always try to create something new, constantly researching and experimenting, without caring what others are doing.

There were rumours of a book about Massimo being written, is there any truth in that?

Yes, we’re working on a book of Massimo’s work and it’s taking an enormous amount of time and energy. My mum, Daniela, is coordinating the project.  She holds all the memories. She is interviewing all of Massimo’s collaborators, going through the archive, collecting as much information as possible to rebuild the story of all of Massimo’s textile inventions, the most iconic garments, and obviously the biography and the cultural context in which he operated.

I am very proud of how the book is proceeding, we’re putting so much effort and so much attention and love into it (we’re doing everything in-house: photos, graphic design, etc to keep the maximum control on the final result) that I think many people will truly appreciate it.

Do you have much contact with Carlo Rivetti and could there ever be a time when you work alongside Carlo on Stone Island?

We’re in touch and have good relations with Carlo and Sabina. I think they did a very good job with Stone Island over all these years. It wasn’t easy to keep alive and evolve a brand that was so linked with my father’s talent. I love Errolson Hugh’s Shadow Project, as well as all the work Paul Harvey did for many years.

Do you think he would have approved of the current designs and pricing from SPW?

I sincerely don’t know, but from what I understand, the market is rewarding Carlo’s strategic decisions.

Do you know if there are plans to ever work with fabrics such as Thermojoint again?

No. Thermojoint has been a great invention: the fabric was innovative, had great impact, with many technical qualities. But the research has evolved over the years and things have moved on. I think today we have to develop something that stands for what Thermojoint stood for in the ’90s.

Are you surprised such a flourishing trade in used Stone Island/C.P. Company clothing exists?

I was surprised when I saw it for the first time, because it was difficult for me to fully appreciate these garments that I have grown up with. But since I’ve been back in the industry, I realised that it’s impossible to find anything similar nowadays. The industry has evolved so much, and today it’s very rare to find the opportunity to do such extensive research and development as C.P. Company did.

What is your collection like? Do you have many jackets/garments from Stone Island/C.P. Company?

I don’t have a private collection, all garments from me and my family have been donated to the archive. We have around 6.000 items, mainly prototypes, some military pieces and garments from most of the brands my father worked on. Plus 50.000 fabric samples in the textile archive and many accessories too.

Do you think clothing companies see forums/blogs as an important part of their PR and Marketing?

I don’t know about the others, but we do! Since the forums and blogs finally give a voice to the users, I think companies who are not scared to face their audience should use them to start a dialogue with their customers, be transparent, listen to suggestions and critique so they can improve their products.

How do you divide your time between MA.STRUM and d-sign? Which do you prefer to be working at!

It’s not always easy, but d-sign and Studio Osti are in the same location, so I can be on two fronts at the same time!

My main passion is communication and design, and working on the MA.STRUM brand is very exciting, because I can use my skills in these fields and work with professional people that I admire.

 

We’d like to thank Lorenzo again for his time and patience!

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