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This Week I’m Wearing

Mr Antonio Ciongoli

As Eidos launches on the site, the brand’s designer shows us his favourite East Coast hangouts – and what he wears to them

Descended from Italian immigrants, Mr Antonio Ciongoli, 32, carries a torch for his mother country not just in his designs, but in his mannerisms. “Whether or not I like it, I’m a talker,” he says. He talks with his palms up, arms moving.

His brand, Eidos (rhymes with Barbados), takes the unstructured styles synonymous with Neapolitan tailoring into even more casual realms: teaming up jackets with denim shirts, cashmere sweaters and loose chinos. The three-year-old brand’s parent company is Isaia, an Italian tailoring brand founded in Naples in 1920.

Mr Ciongoli has mined the cultural geography of Italy for nearly all of his collections. Fishermen in Ischia and the photographer Mr William Klein’s 1950s work in Rome have inspired him previously. For AW16, he meditated on the anti-Fascist writer Dr Carlo Levi’s 1930s period of exile in a rural backwater of Southern Italy.

Like his last boss, the designer Mr Michael Bastian, Mr Ciongoli also plays with the sportier and more self-effacing traditions of the American Northeast. These are dress habits he knows well. His late father, and his ongoing style muse, was an Ivy League undergrad during the mid-century “trad heyday”, who paired Borrelli shirts with LL Bean corduroys, and raised Mr Ciongoli and his brothers in the outdoorsy college town of Burlington, Vermont.

The skater style Mr Ciongoli favoured as a 1990s teenager isn’t too evident in his Eidos designs. But the attitude is. “I call it comfort-food clothing. Things that are soft, a little slouchy, have natural dyes and fabrics, and get better the more you wear them,” he says. He’s a sucker for fleecy, gutsy knitwear in particular.

Mr Ciongoli is that rarity among New York designers: a young family man. He’ll make the 90-minute commute to Isaia’s midtown offices when he has to, usually a few days a week, but tackles creative tasks at home, in part so that he can spend more time with his two young sons (aged three and two). He lives in New Jersey. The lost cachet of a Brooklyn apartment was a small price to pay, he says, for a giant backyard and beach proximity. “And I like that I see things that are different from what every New York designer sees. It’s a different viewpoint.”


Home: Shrewsbury, New Jersey

“I like to work on my collection from home, because it’s a lot easier for me to be creative here. This part of the house is where I pick fabrics, because the light’s best. As you can see, I like to be around living things. My wife’s much better at taking care of them than I am.

This cashmere sweater is one of the cosiest things you’ll ever put on. We added a button detail to open it up – I hate tight necks, and the diagonal stitch is a more interesting way to do a crew-neck. These pants are based on old French motorcycle pants, with a built-in belt that loops around the back. Unlined suede boots, such as these by Guidi, are an idea I’m always coming back to – they are so soft and unstructured. It’s a slouchy shoe. The RRL washed-leather backpack is beautiful, rugged, an older style. For a long time, backpacks reminded me of high school, but now I like the idea of taking it along to a meeting. If I’m skating, as I do every once in a while, it’s nice to throw this on your shoulders and have your hands free. Skating is very aesthetically focused, really. It’s not necessarily about what you do, but how you do it.”


Cardinal: Asbury Park, New Jersey

Breakfast is usually family time with my wife and kids. Whether I’m with them or not, this is a great breakfast spot in Asbury Park. It’s two doors down from Sweet Joey’s, one of the best vintage stores in Jersey, and it’s part of a three-block hub of creativity that feels a lot like New York, but is right on the beach. I never drank coffee before Eidos. Now I have four cups a day.

This mid-rise jean by Simon Miller is tough and beat-up; it’s a little skinnier, but still not something you have to think too much about. And it’s 100 per cent cotton, which I love. The idea of stretch denim to me is so offensive. This cotton henley from RRL has a slightly irregular yarn, which gives it a little movement. RRL is one of the best brands in the world for that – they’re really focused on getting the details right. If I were going to have one jacket, it would be a field jacket. I love this one from Visvim – natural dyes, and the throat-latch detail is amazing. It’s funny, a lot of people think Italians wear longer, pointy-toed shoes. That’s what Italians sell to Americans! Every Italian I know in Italy wears round-toed, English-style shoes.”


Home: Shrewsbury, New Jersey

“We live in an Edison concrete house – Thomas Edison believed they were the wave of the future and you find them all over New Jersey. It’s a beautiful old house, a little funky on the side, and what’s nice about it is that it stays cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The backyard was all woods when we moved in, so I rented a Bobcat, took down about half of them and planted a lawn for the boys to play on. I liked living in New York, but really feel most comfortable in a greener place like this. The hedges are badly in need of a trim, which is squarely my fault.

“This barleycorn tweed coat feels like a cardigan; there’s nothing inside it at all. The sweater was made in Italy from soft cashmere. There’s no front or back, which is the way old Guernsey sweaters were made. The pants are almost a replica of my grandpa’s work chinos, with robust patch pockets on the back and suspender buttons on the outside. A khaki should be relaxed and this pair has got a little bit of linen, which is a fabric I love slipping into winter collections. I love how it wrinkles and adds a little visual texture. I don’t like anything that looks too flat. And finally, this hat is by made by Stoffa, which is my friend Agyesh Madan’s company. I love the fact that it can basically be rolled into a ball, thrown into my bag, and look even better when I take it out a day later.”


Takihyo: Midtown Manhattan

“A designer friend of mine who knew I loved indigo told me this was where I had to go. Now I’m at Takihyo’s offices for a few days at the beginning of every season. For that deep, inky, indigo, you just have to go with the Japanese. I buy natural indigo, which fades and ages differently and has more variation in colour. It’s also cool that Taka, who runs the office, surfs in New Jersey.

“This is a variation of what I wear every day: a good, sturdy chino with a slightly relaxed fit – this pair is by Officine Generale – and a shirt jacket; the first thing I do when I put a jacket on is smash my hands into the pockets and bag them out. The Loewe long-sleeved T-shirt has mariner stripes in different scales. It’s a little hippie-dippy, a little bohemian, which I like. I gravitate towards things that look pieced-together or like they were made by hand.”


Seastreak Ferry (Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey, to Wall Street, New York)

“This is one of the many bonuses to living in New Jersey. I don’t always commute this way, but it’s a nice treat, being outside and seeing the Manhattan skyline as you approach. It’s also when I do some of my best thinking about how the collection is going to come together. I’ll check email, but mostly I’m taking notes.

“I carry a bag with me everywhere because I always have stuff: laptop, notebooks, a bunch of fabric cards and the silver pens I use to write on them. I even have a pair of tailoring shears. It’s part of having two offices; you’re always carting things back and forth.

“This peacoat is made from a really textured indigo wool boucle from Takahiyo that has so much depth and colour. My mind exploded when I saw it. It’s based on the classic British combat smock, a 1960s pattern. I generally don’t like straight lines so much; there’s nothing chicer than angular black sunglasses.”