Gianluca Longo, Style Director of The World of Interiors
Born in Puglia, Italy, London-based Gianluca is a fashion, travel and style consultant, editor and journalist. Currently, he’s Style Director for The World of Interiors – where he is responsible for the style pages, conjuring magical worlds from fabric, furniture and wallpaper. He’s also Contributing Editor at British Vogue, though he has worked in magazines for over 20 years, including Cabana, Condé Nast Traveler US, AD USA, Harper’s Bazaar UK, and the London Evening Standard. His career in magazines has exposed him to the best of fashion and design and he has worked with some of the best photographers in the industry.
He has had an innate interest in fashion and interiors since childhood. Pinning his inherent eclecticism to his upbringing in the South of Italy ‘where popular culture was always met with extravagance’, his passion for all things beautiful soon dovetailed with a love for the arts and design. There was also a strong influence from his mother, who was obsessed with clothes, jewellery and décor.
Gianluca travels constantly, a habit which also goes back to an early age, when he travelled the capitals of Europe visiting galleries and museums. This has all fed into an encyclopaedic knowledge of fashion, style and artistry, which led to him working as style consultant to major brands including Tods, Ralph Lauren, Poliform, Dior Maison, Ginori 1735 and Tory Burch. Somehow, he also finds time to sit on the executive board of Oxford’s Pitt Rivers Museum, the advisory board of Fashion Trust Arabia, and be part of the Press Committee for the British Fashion Council. He regularly hosts talks at London’s V&A Museum.
We grabbed a bit of time from Gianluca’s schedule to ask him about his life in fashion, travel and beauty.
How big an influence was your childhood, and your mother, on your sense of aesthetics?
I was very lucky to grow up surrounded by beauty, from the extensive dry landscapes of Puglia, where nature is at its best, to exquisite antiques at my family home – delicate crochet and lace that was everywhere to theatrically decorated tables for Sunday lunches.
Did you have an idea of what you wanted to do in life from early on?
I knew I wanted to create images, to work with beautiful things (clothes, accessories, interior elements, fabrics) but never wanted to be a photographer, a designer or even a painter. Being exposed to and obsessed with magazines from an early age (both my parents were avid magazine readers) I realised that’s where I could find the job for me: a magazine editor.
Is there a particular period or style that you tend to favour?
I always tend to go back to the wonderful years between 1950 and 1960 in Italy, where fashion, interiors and design had similar veins and created the basis for such an aesthetic.
I also like British Georgian architecture and French Art Nouveau.
Where do you look for inspiration?
Everywhere. I keep my eyes open all the time. I get inspired by a beautiful art exhibition, a haute couture show, by the sunset light over the Swiss mountains or the proportions of nature.
How did you break into working for magazines?
By pure chance! It would need an entire book to tell my story.
How would you describe what you do?
Hunting, searching, discovering, editing beautiful things and places. And telling the world about them.
How would you describe the look of your own home?
An eclectic mix of all things, with a history and a meaning. From contemporary art to antiques and collections of vases and fans.
Do you believe there’s such a thing as bad taste?
No taste is worst. Bad taste is not that bad actually!
Is there a place you think is closest to perfection in terms of its interior design?
Any royal palace in Rajasthan.
Are there any photographers or artists you’ve particularly enjoyed working with?
Too many to remember.
Are there any designers you’d love to work with in the future?
So many out there, I wouldn’t know where to start. If I could have worked with someone from the past, I would say Dorothy Draper.
Do you have any unfulfilled ambitions?
Travelling around the world in 80 days.