It often seems that the fashion business is run by celebrity creative directors and critical journalists. In actual fact, there are a few special people whose views on a collection, a retail choice or a CEO-level strategy can be more influential than Anna Wintour’s. These ‘fashion whisperers’ are the individuals masterminding several of the most important luxury brands today. Without doubt, one of them is Alessandro Maria Ferreri, defined by many publications and key players as ‘the most connected man in fashion,’ someone with an extensive network of friendships and connections with the top levels of most maisons today.
Alessandro Maria Ferreri, photo by Guido Taroni
Whether the subject is fashion or jewellery, retail or franchising, trends or products, Alessandro has important information and contacts that he can give to those who ask him for advice before launching new products, changing career path or even acquiring a property for a new flagship store.
Not only do top executives and head hunters ask him for advice, but also creative directors and stylists. He can assess a collection as confidently and comfortably as he can recommend the right place to set up a boutique anywhere in the world. This rare insider fashion intelligence is not limited to one category – be it public relations, communications, trade or merchandising – but across the entire fashion business in which well-informed advice can be priceless in decisions involving millions of euro.
We met Alessandro in his beautiful home in Milan, fresh from having advanced another step in his career. He happened to be talking with a friend of his - a well-known chef - who asked him about the name of his latest restaurant venture. While confidentiality is key to Alessandro’s networking, we asked him more about his work.
Are you a fashion fortune-teller?
Not at all, I have spent my whole career as a top manager in different luxury groups, with exclusive contracts and specific skills in business development and merchandising. Nevertheless, over the years, I have accumulated information and contacts that will prepare me for a new adventure as a CEO or Chief Commercial Officer.
In the age of social networks and global advertising, are there still any well-kept secrets in fashion?
Often, it is not the information itself that is important, but the timing at which it becomes public. If I know something before the markets finds out, this gives me a strategic edge.
If you have an established role in a luxury maison, how would you stay on the pulse of the market without being on the phone all day?
I have always been good at PR and I am constantly connecting the dots that may not seem apparent to most people. A perfect example would be during dinners and parties when I make a mental note of everything for the future, while dedicating time to a few selected people who need advice.
Can you share with us your favourite hangouts around the world as a jetsetter?
Start your day off right with a croissant and cappuccino at the Bastianello pastry shop on the corner of Piazza San Babila, a perfect spot for a sweet treat. I love shopping at Pettinaroli in Piazza Belgioioso, where the Italian aristocrats used to, and still today, order headed papers, business cards and personalised stationery. Why not bring your family crest and have it printed on the paper of your choice? And as Milan is synonymous with 'risotto', you can savour real Milanese cuisine with a dish of 'risotto al salto' at Antica Trattoria della Pesa on Viale Pasubio.
Bastianello, photo by Elisabetta Valente
Antica Trattoria della Pesa, photo courtesy of the restaurant
Growing up in South Kensington, I simply have to go to Bistrot Aubaine, before heading to a cross-fit class at the gym or shopping at Joseph. The bar and patisserie on Brompton Cross is a delight, you can enjoy fresh strawberry cakes while rubbing elbows with oil tycoons and royal family members living in Chelsea. And if you ever find yourself in a bad mood, shoe impresario Ricardo Osorio, owner of the brand Aquazzura with its very first London store on Albemarle Street in Mayfair, will pick you right up with sexy footwear. For a fun brunch, reserve a table in the crazy India Mahdavi-designed room which takes you back to the 1970s with an all-pink décor - right down to the pink macaroons - at Sketch, on Conduit Street. Your toast will never taste the same.
Bistrot Aubaine, photo courtesy of the restaurant
Aquazzura, photo courtesy of the brand
Sketch, photo courtesy of the venue
I can't live without La Gare, ever since it opened in Passy La Muette, transformed from an 1854 train station (as its name aptly suggests) in the heart of the 16th arrondissement - very chic, very parisienne and a gourmet must-stop. And when it comes to shopping in the French capital, forget everything you know, because there are secret places where expensive gifts are re-sold for cash - Depots-Vente - and the most interesting one is L'Appart de Cendrine. This shop hidden in the 11th arrondissement is where you can snatch up that Birkin of your dreams without a 2-year wait, or a perfect Chanel outfit right off an aristocrat's wardrobe, acquired by owner Cendrine in full discretion. For accommodations in town, cosy boutique-style Hotel Monsieur offers quietness, comfort and a touch of design on rue Mathurins, next to St. Augustin. I love the cute and warm Deluxe room.
La Gare, photo courtesy of the restaurant
Always go around town with Uber because it sends out large SUVs, perfect for going from spot to spot in style, without dealing with snow during winter, with plenty of room for all your shopping bags after a trip to Bergdorf Goodman. For breakfast, Barneys New York's top floor bar with sweeping views of the Upper East Side is the ideal choice. This is where you can relax and plan out your purchases on all the levels below you, even shopping takes organisation! Whenever I feel home sick, my friend and Executive Chef of Tribeca's Locanda Verde Andrew Carmellini always makes me his amazing pasta with eggplant and tomato. I'm sure he will be very happy to do the same for you. Just remember to book very much in advance and get ready for a real treat to Italian cuisine.
Barneys New York on Madison Avenue, photo by Jim Henderson
And ladies, a very exciting opening is coming up in the huge empty space next to La Durée on Madison Avenue. Get your AMEX Platinum ready, and don't forget to book tickets for the Metropolitan Opera now, to show off your beautiful new evening gown at.
For a place to see and be seen, Bibo, the new art gallery transformed into French restaurant, is the place to be. For an amazing lasagna, I turn to my friend 2-Michelin-starred chef Paolo Casagrande at Vasco. And though I am not a Kowloon boy, the rooms in the Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong have simply the most stunning views over the Central skyline. For shopping, I head to none other than Joyce for their private label of brightly coloured alligator bags.
Bibo, photo courtesy of the venue
Vasco, courtesy of the venue
The new Otto e Mezzo Bombana is a must-stop. Its risotto with white truffle is heaven! Shopping in the Promenade at Galaxy Macau is also on top of my list, where Maison Margiela has a stunning boutique. And for gambling and staying overnight, the Venetian. Pass all the public areas and head straight to the exclusive Paiza Club, where you can have your personal gambling room connected to your suite with private elevators and your own security team to ensure utmost privacy. I once threw an unforgettable party for my birthday, themed "Opium Time in Macau"!
Otto e Mezzo Bombana, photo courtesy of the restaurant