Inspirations from Sean Connery’s “OO7” and Eric Clapton’s “Layla”
Those are some of my earliest cultural and style touchstones growing up in Bethesda, MD in the Washington, DC area. When I first saw “Thunderball” back in the late 1960’s, I wanted to be James Bond. I dreamed about saving the world with my Aston Martin DB6, sharp suits and a beautiful woman at my side. (Later I would appreciate the Martinis, too, but I’ve always preferred mine “stirred not shaken!”) I eventually realized that the only true Bond was Sean Connery. The rest were either too much or too little, never reaching the level of elegant cool that Connery embodied as the terribly English spy 007.
Eric Clapton also mastered that level of cool – musically and sartorially. My twin brother Marco (my Napoli Bros. partner in crime) and I started playing in rock bands in Junior High School and early on were bitten by the guitar and amp collecting bug. “Layla” (the song and famous album) was an early obsession of ours and Clapton was the instigator and icon. Not only was he a Guitar God (still is, of course) but he exuded cool in the way he dressed, carried himself and stayed loyal to that perfect Fender Stratocaster guitar. In fact, Clapton and the “Layla” sound inspired me to buy a brand new Fender Stratocaster in 1973 for $365, including hard-shell case. I still have that incredible Strat, and it’s in mint condition today (sorry, it’s not for sale at Napoli Bros!).
There were plenty of other icons that inspired me through the years. Steve McQueen in “Bullit” and “The Sand Pebbles” immediately comes to mind. McQueen’s racing jacket in “Le Mans” was a killer look for the actor who became a masculine icon. (Napoli Bros. has a major collection of McQueen-inspired racing jackets with multi-colored stripes.) There was also Sidney Poitier in that 60’s classic “To Sir With Love,” and Robert Mitchum in any of his renowned Noir film classics, especially “Out of the Past” and the haunting “Night of the Hunter.”
Two of my biggest inspirations were my parents, Giovanni and Barbara Di Chiro. My father (we called him Papa), was Italian and grew up in that magnificent and fascinating city by the bay, Napoli (hence the name of our company and brand). Not only did Papa impart his love of all things Italian – and especially Napolitano – to my brother and me, and our sister Giovanna, he also imparted on me a love of authenticity in ideas and physical things. For example: great Italian wine, Neapolitan tailoring, Parmigiano cheese, great art and culture (especially writers), and the folk song traditions of his beloved Napoli. I still adore the music of Napoli. Check out the timeless music of Sergio Bruni sometime.
My Mom was an equally important inspiration for me, kind of the “muse” behind the creative vision that would become Napoli Bros. Mom was an amazing cook and gracious entertainer. Her dinner parties in the 60’s and 70’s were legendary for their elegance and style, but they were also serious fun. She was amazingly stylish and got me thinking about nice clothing from an early age. She also was into the original Scandinavian furniture – we were Midcentury modern lovers long before it became the hottest design trend on the planet. Most important, Mom was a lover of people whose generosity of spirit and kindness will, I hope, always be evident in the warm welcome and caring service that Napoli Bros. brings to its customers and the community.