“I think what’s very important today is to be extremely open minded. Talent doesn’t come only from big industries, talents come from everywhere.” – Lapo Elkann
One of the heirs to the Fiat empire, Lapo Elkann has a unique background. Born in New York City, the heir to one of Italy’s most powerful empires, Lapo and his family’s stories have made news. The talent of Lapo Elkann stands as a shining beacon. His brother, John Elkann, is the Chairman and CEO of Exor, the holding company of Fiat. The family’s stories are gripping and have been tabloid fodder for many years.
Lapo himself has experienced the pain of personal battles being detailed extensively in the global media. I grew up so fascinated with the family that I used to save clippings from articles about the family in Vanity Fair magazine. The Agnelli family is an example of a truth that cannot be avoided in life: nobody’s life is perfect, no matter how much wealth a person has. Furthermore, wealth doesn’t change the fact that people suffer, but it’s also a fact that wealth can be used to alleviate suffering.
Beyond the pain caused by family matters publicly spread in the news through the years: one thing stands infallibly – Lapo is a design and marketing genius. You may remember seeing the many “FIAT” zippered sweatshirts that people (especially Italians) wore in the early 2000’s. Lapo was the mastermind behind that design, and the sale of that sweater was the best kind of guerrilla marketing for Fiat. He has had numerous accomplishments with this family’s company, and I think Lapo is an icon for Fiat.
Lapo went on to his create his own brand, ITALIA INDEPENDENT in 2007. This brand is an eye wear company, the line includes both sunglasses and optical glasses. ITALIA INDEPENDENT is everything that a fashion forward style fiend could ever desire, it’s bold and innovative in design, and the brand extends beyond the product. Wearing Lapo’s designs is like embodying an attitude about life. I love how he understands marketing and talent; Lapo puts himself into the customers shoes and he also wears the designs himself, as they are a part of his own persona, which is unique and makes the brand even more valuable. Perhaps this deep understanding of marketing stems from his early understanding of the versatility of cars combined with the opportunity to create incredibly sophisticated car designs – great design is form + function. Everything about that combination Lapo Elkann has mastered and surpassed.
One cannot deny that Lapo is living proof that life has style.