Piero Giglio: The Pemberley Magazine's Gentleman of the Year 2018
Every so often, I meet someone who reminds me why I do what I do and inspires me to continue. Piero Giglio is a striking gentleman, and a man of many hats. I first met with him when he invited me to Il Borro Tuscan Bistro Dubai where he acts as the general manager. Today, he is just weeks away from the launch of a new restaurant ‘Alici’ on the Bluewaters Island, Dubai.
Hailing from the South of Italy, Piero has worked in London, Miami, and Dubai over the past twenty years. Being an expatriate has broadened his mind, he says, but his style is purely Italian. Healthy living, elegant suits, and good food represent his lifestyle.
Piero grew up in the town of Sangineto in the Calabria region of southern Italy. His early memories are of Sunday mornings, when the fisherman arrived to the small villages to sell alici— the Italian word for anchovies— which are found in the south of Italy. A cheap and healthy saltwater fish, packed with omega-3 and available all year round, it can be cooked in any style- fried, sautéed or baked. Piero says that he was still asleep when he was awoken by the fisherman going door-to-door shouting “Alici! Alici!” creating the sound of a fish market— the sound of his childhood.
Piero always wanted to create a restaurant that pays homage to his childhood, the natural beauty of the Amalfi coast together with the tradition, culture, history and food that has never changed. When Piero was asked to create a restaurant, his first task was to survey the location which proved to be perfect for a seafood restaurant— the water and sunlight sealed the deal. And so, Alici was born.
While planning a seafood restaurant requires a lot of work, seafood offers many advantages because it is cheap, readily available, and very simple. It can be eaten raw, grilled, with rice or pasta. It demands no technology, or big premises. The fisherman brings the bounty from the sea, which then needs to be prepared. Alici restaurant draws its inspiration from the Amalfi Coast— including the culture, color, art and tradition which Piero grew up with. He connects deeply with the culture of the natural life, the artisans, ceramics, tiles, lemons and fish, all of which he included in the concept of his restaurant- from the décor of painted tiles (the artwork of local artisans), to the surrounding trees and greenery that create the mood of the Amalfi Coast.
While I am impatient to know the opening date of Alici, Piero reminds me that he is too, and tells me it will be in January 2019. He says that he feels lucky to have his restaurant on the island, and is captivated by its quality and design, the breathtaking views overlooking the skyline and the sea. It’s no wonder that this area attracts visitors from all over the world.
Piero’s appreciation for beauty and quality, extends to his personal wardrobe. Impeccably dressed, my favorite of Piero’s suits are made by Knights & Lords who are known to create clothing that reflects the personality of the wearer. Piero is drawn to elegant shapes, dark colors and a perfect fit. He prefers a pocket square that can be seen, rather than hidden behind his lapel, a custom-made shirt (wrinkle-free), and is presently working on a custom tie, with Ashish and Pawan of Knights & Lords. His favorite? A blue or black silk tie with white dots. Piero believes that quality garments never go out of fashion and he knows that it is a worthwhile investment. While he loves fashion, he insists that he will never be a fashion designer because he recognizes the challenge of investing a lot of work before it’s possible to see results. Piero has an impatience about him; he needs to see results almost immediately.
Perhaps this explains why he is also the creator of a signature scent, the perfect way to leave his mark. While he never thought that he would create a perfume, he is a passionate person and loves perfume (he owns at least 25 himself). He explains that in the past he wore perfume that reflected his day, where he was going, who he was meeting, the weather and his clothing. But today he understands that perfume should reflect his personality. “It’s about ‘Who am I?’” he says. He has discovered that the success of his perfume is apparent that when you pass by and smell the scent, you just know, it’s Piero. The name of the perfume is a combination of Piero’s name and the place he loves. Giglio (Piero’s last name) is the Italian word for lily which is the local flower of Florence, Tuscany. While he was born and raised in the south of Italy, Piero feels a kinship with Tuscany and deeply appreciates this region for the history, culture, wine, lifestyle, fashion, artisans, beautiful wine and food.
Much like himself, the bottle design is elegant, and simple. It also comes with a reusable tin instead of a cardboard box to make it more functional. Piero hopes to do a launch for the perfume as soon as things quiet down with the restaurant, but so far, he says, everybody likes it. It’s a long lasting, intense perfume with top notes of apple, coconut, black pepper, cinnamon, lemon and bergamot; middle notes of lily, magnolia, jasmine, rose, freesia and iris; and base notes of leather, cedar, guaiac wood, cypriol oil (nagarmotha), sandalwood, vetiver, vanilla, tonka bean, ambergris and white musk.
Piero seems to have his hand in so many projects, and yet, he commits to everything 100%. He tells me that he never shows up just to be there. He is always dressed to perfection and eager to meet people and connect with them. He loves to talk about his lifestyle, his tailor, his clothing, his aspirations and his successes. Never to shy away from the spotlight, Piero wants to leave an impression wherever he goes. And he most certainly does.