Bruno Ierullo is an eclectic and renowned Italian-Canadian fashion designer who splits his time between Toronto, New York and Milan. His B.I. label, designed and made from his Toronto studio, produces both men’s and women’s clothing, accessories, bags, shoes and jewellery. In 2012m Bruno was the focus of director Jesse Mann‘s documentary Material Success. Material Success shows the trials and tribulations of the two months leading up to his first fashion show in Toronto in 2009.
We caught up with him for the latest in our Q&A series to talk fashion, life and of course London.
1. When did fashion/a sense of personal style first become important to you?
Since I was very young I’ve been very aware of clothing and excited about fashion and the thought of making my own clothes.
2. Who is your style icon (living or dead)?
Style exists in every aspect of life, whether it be a person or an idea. For me, it’s always been art and a deep attraction to artists, the likes of Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo or Andy Warhol. Style is an emotion that evolves into design, a creation such as a painting, sculpture or fashion. Even a sense of personal attitude can be defined as a kind of style.
3. How would you describe London style?
London style is dynamic, a feel for daily life always ready for anything. It is an exciting place for fashion, from the variation of fabrics and textures in clothing and the throw back of the past to the present with new twists and turns is a variety rarely seen, I love it! I especially love the influence of British music on fashion.
4. If you could live anywhere else in the world where would it be (and why)?
There are so many places. I would love to live many cities. Venice, Rome, London and New York are some of my favourites.
5. Limited to just a suitcase, which items from your wardrobe would you have to take with you?
Jeans, T-shirts, dress pants, button-up shirt, 2 belts, socks, underwear, one pair of sneakers, one pair of dress shoes, a light jacket with a hood and a dress jacket. It’s always good to go with one rule, that’s extreme opposites – casual and dressy. Then you can always cross over and mix the two.
6. What are your most used grooming/beauty products?
Aside from a good shampoo and conditioner the next would be a good moisturiser. Also a light hair gel for shorter hair, a light hairspray for longer hair and along with other grooming products. The world of cosmetics can get very confusing and almost unrealistic – it’s best to stay with minimal and use something that is multipurpose when it comes to skincare.
7. When and where did you look your best?
I think after a good workout, I tend to feel physically together and feel I look better.
8. Which is your favourite season of the year (and why)?
One of the things I enjoy most is the change of seasons. I love both the dramatics of Spring to Summer and Fall to Winter. We tend to think differently, change activities and do different things season to season. It makes life very interesting and, of course, provides a chance to dress differently from extreme summer to winter. I was brought up in and lived through 4 full seasons all my life and it has probably help make me be a better designer.
9. Who in your own family most influenced your sense of style?
Definitely my mom – she dragged me around from shop to shop in all variations of fashion and I have to thank her. It allowed me to find my own feelings and my love for the art of making clothes.
10. If life was a movie, which film would you most like to live in?
That’s interesting because a documentary was recently filmed about me. Cameras followed me leading up to my first fashion show. The movie is now touring film festivals around the world, most recently I believe it’s playing in Denmark, then Miami after that. It’s called Material Success. That was a lot of real life, living each day, having cameras meet me when I woke up in morning, it was not what I expected but I do like the way it turned out.
11. Which grooming or fashion mistakes most irk you in others?
The over use of makeup by woman is one. Although heavier makeup can be a great enhancer, as long as it suits a person’s actual facial structure and true image and isn’t used to alter a person’s natural features – that’s for theatrics. Everyone has a personal sense of style but there is a time when you can throw even common sense of style away for a brief moment and later regret it. I was at a coffee shop recently and saw six women at one table, five were wearing the same black tights. When something is so over done it’s time to give it a rest. Also men who use too much cologne are distracting. A subtle approach is best, when using perfumes and colognes if someone smells what you’re wearing beyond 2 feet or 1/2 metre, then it’s too much.
12. Cat or dog?
I love cats and dogs so much. It’s a real soft spot for me. I want to get both a cat and a dog soon.
13. What lesson would you pass on to younger people following in your shoes?
Always make it about your passion, your love, your desire. It’s all about the art, if you’re blessed with wealth then fine, but it won’t be your happiness. It’s that moment when you create something that only you did, and it becomes something you love and respect that lives on forever.
14. What motivates you in your career?
My total surroundings. I try to draw emotion from every aspect of my daily existence and apply it to my art of design and making clothes. That is an endless inspiration for me that keeps me motivated and always wanting to do something new.
15. If you could trade looks with anyone who would that person be?
Michelangelo’s statue of David.
16. What category of clothing are you most drawn to/are most likely to overspend on?
Making my own clothing draws me to anything I feel, but I’m also a big fan of jeans.
17. Which is your most treasured sense?
Emotion – it encompasses all our senses and reactions. It’s the guide and translation of who we are and how we feel.
18. Name three elements of a perfect holiday
Meditative rest, unrestricted fun and lots of healthy activities.
19. If you could change a single aspect of your appearance what would it be?
I’m not complaining, but maybe my nose. I always thought it could be slightly smaller, I have a Roman nose.
20. Your ideal lunch venue and guest
An open air Italian restaurant in a quiet corner of a noisy venue with God.