Lapo Elkann Harvey Nichols Britalia

ALL ABOUT ITALY: “As Italians, we have always appreciated and enjoyed the eccentricity of England,” said Lapo Elkann at the launch of the Britalia campaign at Harvey Nichols this week. “England is a country that accepts eccentricity very well, but it’s also a country which has a great history, a great tradition, as we Italians do.”

The Italian entrepreneur took part at the launch of the retailer’s campaign, which embraces Italy’s style and culture. His eyewear brand Italia Independent was on display as a part of the Britalia showcase, and includes an exclusive 12–piece range with key styles such as the wayfarer and cat eye. Other brands on show include Balenciaga, Fendi, Gucci, Prada, Marni, Moschino, Moncler, Valentino and Versace.

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Elkann spoke candidly about the country’s upcoming Italian constitutional referendum, which will be held on Dec. 4. The referendum will ask voters to decide whether to amend the constitution, and change the role and power of the Senate, or upper house.

“We have seen it with Brexit, we have seen it with Donald Trump,” said Elkann. “Realistically speaking, I would say that there are a lot of people who want change. All over the world. A lot of people are angry at the world, at certain powerhouses, towards institutions and certain big conglomerates, because they feel that decision-making is done behind their backs by the big banks, etc. So realistically speaking, I feel that we’re in a moment of change. I wouldn’t say for the worst, because I tend not to be a negative person.”

Regarding Trump’s victory earlier this week, Elkann said: “I am not so negative as many people are around the world. I think he is the president. Suck it up. Realistically speaking, that’s the way it is. There’s no point in philosophizing about it. He won. As we live in democratic countries, it’s the vote that decides. Like him or not, one needs to show respect in that sense. On Brexit, we will see. Because I hear that things are going back and forth, we’ll see. I’m saddened by the vote obviously, because I think it’s a pity for England and it’s a pity for Europe, personally.”

Elkann said he plans to vote yes on Italy’s referendum. “I am for change and I like change. I sadly do believe that most probably, no, will win. In Italy what worries me is that people in general won’t really vote because they have so many problems already — this is the least of their problems. What worries me about the era that we’re living in is that there is not a sense of community. We no longer live with a sense of community, and we also live in a world where people are less interested in voting. People don’t feel attracted by the politicians they see. People don’t feel attracted by the leaders of the world. They don’t see great leaders around the world.”

Of Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, Elkann said he’s the “best option we have.”

“I am proud of my prime minister because he’s young,” said Elkann. “He’s someone who’s giving all he can. The image of Italy abroad is much better than what it used to be. The energy of Italy abroad is seen in a much better perspective than it used to be. The freshness of the government we have at the moment is far more youthful than what it used to be. They have done a better job than what others have done before.”

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