On his most recent trip to the southern lands, we were lucky enough to catch up with Emmanuale Zanucchi. As the Wholesale and Franchise Director for renowned Parisian brand A.P.C., Emmanuale has seen the brand grow its international influence. With stores now in Korea, Japan, the US and Australia, we chatted to Emmanuale about the importance of travelling, eating, the ugly sneakers craze and what it's like working with Jean Touitou.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your role at A.P.C.
I have lived in Paris for 25 years, right In the centre of Paris in a very cool place which I love. I am there with my partner, we just got a dog. It's a dachshund, a little sausage. Im very proud of my dog. He’s turning 4 months today. He’s still really a baby, it's really cool.
I've always been working in fashion and I joined A.P.C. a year and a half ago. It was really by coincidence, going from a friend of a friend, who told me that they were looking for someone and I always absolutely adored the brand. I used to work for Kenzo for a year and AMI for three years half and a half. I knew a little bit of the boys and knew of Incu. So it's really been a great pleasure for me, working for brands that are very familiar to Incu. This is my first time in Australia so I’m super excited.
What have you enjoyed about your travels to Australia?
I enjoy Sydney to Melbourne a little bit more. But I have only been in Melbourne for a day, and it was the second day after my arrival, so I was jet-laged. The first thing I really adored here was all the little houses with what looks to be very tropical plants. It seems like a life goal to me. I’m think wow, if you can get a house like that it’s amazing. They are beautiful, they don’t look too big, they are not pretentious. This is also the feeling I have about Australia, especially about Sydney. The people are very relaxed, enjoying life, very outdoorsy. The moment you arrive you are immediately on the ocean and you’re like wow, its beautiful. In the south of France you have a very quiet sea, here you really have ocean and the waves. It sounds a bit cliche but its really, really nice.
We’ve been to several restaurants and they were really good. I understand that it's all about food. You can travel for food more than you can travel for fashion. I love Asian food. There are a lot of different influences from Asian foods and I could really eat Asian foods every day. It is really the other side of the world here so everything looks new and different. Its amazing I love it here.
When we visit Paris- food is always a big part of the agenda, what are your go to recommendations for travellers and what is a local secret that you go to regularly.
I'm going to be very pretentious, my favourite restaurant is my house. I have a normal sized apartment but I’m lucky enough to have a real dining room which is typically French. It's super French, a very small tiny room. I like the idea of having a lot of time cooking, it's really relaxing to me and my friends are super important, having them at home in my place. So you can stay, you can stay late, and I just recently quit smoking so if you smoke you can smoke, you do not have to go outside you know. I absolutely adore that. And then I live in the Thames area which is really changing a lot. We have a lot of cool new neighbourhood cafes and restaurants. So I don’t really have a favourite place. My favourite place is if my friends are there. You can enjoy the evening and eat good food. What drives me crazy is if its not good. Friends are really really important to me. So my house or my friends house. I have a lot of friends who now live in the suburbs and they have gardens so you know like summer dinners where you drink outside, you eat outside, you can stay forever talking nonsense, I love that. That's something I notice whilst travelling. In France were really into like welcoming people. If you have friends, I have a dinner with friends like every week. Every week we go to dinner with friends to their house of house and we cook. And I have friends come from Germany and my best friend lives in New York and every time he comes to Paris I do a dinner for him and he’s like ah I miss that, being around a table with friends drinking wine, gossiping a little bit, that's really French.
It seems you are a self proclaimed sneaker addict. What has prompted this passion?
It may be when I was 18 I bought a pair of Nikes, I’m really into the Nikes. I like AirMax and I like Running. I like all the running shapes. I'm not really a sneaker freaker I don’t react to like Jordans or things like that, it's more really the aesthetic of the, I love the 180, they are really light. The classic styles. After I can really get crazy for very limited editions but I can also get crazy for just a random pair that I can get for 80 euros at a random store. I bought a pair here, in Melbourne. I bought the AirMax 180, Comme Des Garcon in the black and pink. They are sold out in France. So I found them randomly in a store in Melbourne. It was very surprising like ‘why are you buying sneakers in Australia’, because its super difficult to find them in France.
What do you think of the ugly sneaker craze?
I don't like the ugly sneaker crazy, I don’t understand the price I don’t really understand the aesthetic, but I think i’m too old. Im 45 and I live in Europe. If I was living in Hong Kong and was 18 I would definitely understand. I understand the dad sneakers. Im lucky enough to have a pair to try of the new A.P.C. Running Sneakers, new black colour which is coming next fall. I love that aesthetic. I have an issue with New Balance, you know they supported Trump and you’re not supposed to wear New Balance anymore. The Asics are a little bit more safe. I would love to buy the white and the grey A.P.C. Runners.
What is it like to visit A.P.C. stores all over the world?
So in US we have an office and Japan we have a local partner. I oversea the rest of the world. We have local partners so when we open stores there is always a discussion, a collaboration, and we visit locations with them. I think what's really important to me when you travel for business but also on a personal point of view, you have to get yourself open to the culture you’re visiting. So when I’m in Korea, I spend a day visiting department stores to check locations. I'm not the happiest guy in the world but I understand that this is where everything happens. I'm kind of a listener. I like to listen to people. We recently opened a store in Oslo where it's a totally different culture, it’s less of a department store culture . We opened in this really cool new shopping area that was quite interesting. I would say it's mostly trying to understand the culture, and if there are habits. I’m really fascinated by Asian customers, how they react to fashion. I'm flying to Seoul on Monday because we are opening two new shops and I’m really looking forward to go again to those department stores where it's crowded. It’s a mix of super hype young kids that are inspired by Kpop and really want the last new thing. Thats always very interesting and there is this underground scene that I’m less familiar with but its always super interesting to discover. That's part of the pleasure of my job, travelling. I think you’re never that good, and you’re never better with your business then when you talk to the [local] partner, he knows what he’s talking about. You know the neighbourhood, the people. With Sydney its really incredible because you’ve heard about the CBD and QVB, and its absolutely abstract but when you come here, the locals understand, and it changes your way of doing business. Knowing and understanding when you’re a European brand, you have your ideas, like if everything is like I live in Paris, I could imagine everything is like Paris. But travelling I understand that in some countries like Japan, Japan is fascinating. So when you try on clothes is completely different, You have to wear slippers in dressing rooms, there is carpet and wooden floors. And if you don’t understand that, you can’t discuss with your partner in a normal way. There will always be a block, you won't understand each other. I'm really happy at A.P.C. because we can travel, we get to know our parter's. It's a learning experience.
What is it like working with Jean Touitou?
I absolutely admire him because, I told you before joining A.P.C. I was already a huge fan. I don’t work every day with him but we are very lucky because our showroom is right in the middle of the head quarter, so I see during the showroom, and during meetings. It is very inspiring to work for a designer who exists to produce real clothes that is really meant to be worn. There is also something that is to be respected about A.P.C.. Jean has always been very loyal to its own DNA. So we sell clothes that scream A.P.C. to me. I think it’s always very smart and has a huge culture especially with music and literature. You may learn many many things about poetry, literature, music, you always have something to learn from him. He’s a very very sharing person and very inspiring to me. I just love it.
Who is Gianno Tutti?
I’ve got a little explanation. We had this meeting where we discovered the collection and discuss about it. I’m not sure Jean really knew exactly that they were planning to do something like that but it is something more from the creative team. They tried to translate his name in an Italian name and it is his birth year. And I think he kind of enjoyed the joke, as Jean has always had a strong link with Italy, he has a house there. There was some logical connection. I think it was playful.
A fresh autumnal collection from A.P.C. has arrived in stores, proving once again that the French do it best. View the new collection in store and online.