It’s said that it’s better to give than to receive. The time-honoured tradition of gift-giving is nearly as old as mankind itself, dating back to pre-civilization days. Throughout the years, precious items, from stones to priceless jewels, have been gifted as symbols of affection, respect, and admiration. The act of gifting is itself rewarding, making us feel good and inviting generosity and connection.
Choosing the perfect gift is both an art and a science; a skill requiring intimate knowledge of the person it is intended for and what brings them joy, along with a generous measure of good taste, a sense of style, and a certain shopping savvy. And if anyone has what it takes, it’s these five trailblazers of art, culture, fashion, and design: Niccolo Ricci, Michael Kors, Sevan Agopian, Paolo Fazioli, Mathilde Thomas. From ponies to psychedelic jumpsuits, these visionaries fess up on gift successes (and fails), special memories, and enduring holiday traditions, and share their best gift-giving tips for our readers.
Niccolo Ricci is the Chief executive officer of Italian luxury menswear house Stefano Ricci.
What’s the most unforgettable gift you’ve ever received?
This was a gift that I received along with my brother Filippo, from our father—a 1933 Aston Martin.
Are you good at choosing gifts for other people?
When I’m asked to choose a gift for a person that I know, I always consider the recipient’s hobbies and passions so that I can find an item that really has special details. It doesn’t always mean the most expensive gift, but the one that will be most appreciated.
What’s the most successful gift you’ve ever given?
A pony named Pioggia (Rain) for my daughter Aurora, when she celebrated her third birthday.
What’s the worst gift you’ve ever received?
A great French wine from 1997. When I opened it to celebrate with friends, I was upset because it was corked!
Any special traditions you or your family have for important holidays?
Italy is the country of traditions. Christmas lunch is still conducted now as it was when I was small, with the family going to eat at Grandma’s house. We have the same menu, our close relatives, and the happiness of seeing the children playing under the Christmas tree or in the decorated Great Hall. Our phones are all turned off as well for this holiday.
Is there any item of yours that you would like to pass on to your great-great-grandkids?
That would be a watch that was given to me for my graduation, but I won’t reveal the brand or model!
What advice would you give to our readers on giving gifts?
Always try to be original, and take the time needed for the gift, especially by writing an authentic greeting card. Even a simple phrase can be enough, if it comes from the heart. Try to be there when the person receives the gift: not to ask them if they like it, but as a sign of your affection. And if the reader needs a suggestion, I would say to consider a beautiful pair of Stefano Ricci cufflinks!