On the issue of September 2020 (Fashion Business Issue), the magazine Kak Potratit (Russian edition of How To Spend It) published an interview to Angelo Caroli, owner and founder of A.N.G.E.L.O., by journalist Giovanna Marchello.
The article narrates Angelo Caroli's professional trailblazing path and examines contemporary vintage. Find the English translation below!
Second life of fashion
A store and a unique collection of vintage clothing - A.N.G.E.L.O. in Lugo attracts fans from all over the world
In Lugo di Ravenna, a historical and picturesque town in the fertile plains of Emilia-Romagna, rises A.N.G.E.L.O., one of the largest vintage stores and archives in Europe.
This temple dedicated to the cult of vintage clothing and accessories was created by Angelo Caroli in 1978, when the man who is now rightfully considered a “guru” of vintage was still a teenager.
“In the beginning,” recalls Caroli, “I started my business in my hometown because I was still going to school. Later, I realised the potential of my territory:
I was lucky enough to start in an area of Italy that, at the end of the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s, saw the birth of the most famous discos of the Riviera Romagnola.
It was thanks to that period that I was able to make myself known in the world of fashion.”
Caroli was driven by his passion for collecting garments and accessories from different eras and origins.
This passion, initially born as a pure aesthetic attraction, soon developed into a project dedicated to the recovery, recycling and preservation of the memory of fashion.
“I started by recovering second-hand clothes,” explains Caroli, “which I hunted out in street markets, especially in the United States. Later I turned to auction houses and private collections.”
Today A.N.G.E.L.O. Vintage Palace, the original shop housed in a historical building in the town centre, offers customers an extraordinary selection of clothing and accessories that range from cult denim and original military garments
to the most precious and sought-after items, with luxury brands such as Hermès, Chanel, Versace, Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent.
The archive collection, now housed in a former orphanage, contains over 150,000 garments and accessories dating back to the end of the 19th century and the early 2000s, intended for the preservation of the memory of fashion and available only for rental.
“My archive includes, among others, a beautiful collection of Chanel jackets and bags and a collection of Yves Saint Laurent garments from his most successful years,
as well as some pieces by various historical designers such as Paul Poiret, Jeanne Lanvin and Emilio Pucci, but also Hermès bags from the 1930s to the 1950s and an important collection,
which represents the core from which my passion began, of American jeans ranging from the 1920s to the 1950s.”
Many of Caroli’s collector’s items are worn by international celebrities and are showcased in important fashion exhibitions.
Furthermore, they are regularly studied by fashion schools, designers and stylists.
“I often compare my archive to a library,” he says. “When you have to write an essay or an article, it is normal to look up the bibliographic material in the library, both to collect information and to draw inspiration from the style of a particular author.
Visiting a vintage clothing store is an equally valuable source.
Seeing with your own eyes what the artisans of the past have achieved, the excellences, the details, the silhouettes, the prints, the accessories, is useful in the creative process that leads to conceiving something new and contemporary.”
Contemporary as his selection criterion: Caroli buys clothes from the past paying specific attention to current trends and to what it is actually possible to wear with pride and joy today.
“In addition to always keeping this criterion in mind,” he explains, “for my archive collection I also select pieces that I consider representative of periods in the history of fashion,
as well as the rarest or most exclusive gems that my long-standing experience helps me to single-out.
Today, I also buy a lot of luxury pieces, because in the last 10 years the market has become extremely fertile for these types of items.”
Many are the famous people whose clothing has been bought by Angelo Caroli over the years:
“Amongst others, I bought some of Liza Minnelli’s dresses at an auction, and then almost the entire wardrobe of the fashion journalist Anna Piaggi,
known in Italy and abroad for her creativity and eccentricity. Since Anna was a great friend of Karl Lagerfeld, this collection also includes some jackets he signed and donated to her and which were worn by several famous supermodels.”
“I have always been a promoter of the province,” he concludes, “and being able to bring to my country of origin an international audience like the one I have now fills me with pride and persuades me that I have made the right choice.
It would not have been the same if it had been in another area or region. Lugo will not be Milan, but this particular portion of Italy was the cradle that enabled me to grow and expand my business linked to vintage.”
Thank you to Kak Portratit and Giovanna Marchello