Reflekt Muse: Gavino Di Vino

80’s opulence on a 99 cent budget doesn’t stop linguist and Reflekt’s latest Muse, Gavino di Vino from living his life as rich as possible. From attending fashion shows to reading Tolstoy and 16th century history in his dorm room. A true renaissance man with a cheeky sense of humour when it comes to his personal style and life. As we dig into the life of this beautiful soul, we hope to inspire you with his humbling perspective on fashion, glamour, and pursuing knowledge through beauty. Read the rest of his style story in Issue º12 Travel!

Describe your family life and where were you born

I was born in Arrowe Park Hospital in Birkenhead on the 2nd of March, 1994. My mum had mental health and drug issues and felt very isolated after moving from Kenya to a very racist white area, and I moved in with my dad at age 8 when she was sectioned. We didn't get on very well and I moved out at age 16.

 

What are your views on knock offs of high end brands?

I adore knock offs as long as they are worn in a knowing and ironic way, personally. Spending thousands of pounds on boring clothes just for the 'prestige' is moronic when the same brand or style can be bought vintage. I do love over the top classics like Versace and look to old campaigns for inspiration. However, there is a hilarious beauty in seeing Turkish men in head to toe fake Gucci thinking they look like P Diddy.

 

Do you feel your style is posh? And if so is that the type of lifestyle you aspire to?

I wear an eclectic mix and am inspired by many lifestyles. I love '80s ghetto fab style as much as I love haute couture fur fashions and power dressing from the same era. If I'm dressed in a 'posh' way, it's always tongue in cheek and mocking the absurdities of 'luxury'. I of course appreciate the finer things in life, but am just as happy in Mayfair as I am in Hackney.

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Do you think you will dress like this for the rest of your life?

People I'm inspired by such as Grace Jones still dress in an 'eccentric' fashion, and she's in her 60s or 70s! I think I will always want to express my individuality in a crowd. Do I think my style will change and evolve? Definitely.

 

How do you feel people react to how you dress?

People usually react very positively to my way of dressing. I think because I look to glamorous, sophisticated cultural icons who were mainstream stars once upon a time, it is very stomachable for the average person. I think although my style is quite outrageous to some, because it is usually centred around elegant formal wear, people end up approving despite their initial shock. I get mixed reviews on the furs!

 

Who are your Muses when dressing?

I love Grace Jones, Alexis Colby from Dynasty and Cruella de Vil, because they all have that cartoonish glamour that just screams wealth and alpha bitch. Hilary Banks, Heathers and Cher from Clueless allow me to draw upon a softer, preppier Credit Card Princess look. I adore all the looks in Coming to America: the fur, the regal edge, the military cuts and the Afrocentric ridiculousness.

 

How did your style develop?

I love to watch TV and films from the 1930’s, 1940’s and 1980’s as I believe these eras really represent the structured, over the top, rich bitch glamour I strive to achieve. I have many fashion books I paw through and think "This outfit would have cost thousands at the time. What vintage shop or online store can I go on to achieve the same look?" I started to watch Dynasty when I was 16 but never had the confidence to wear the eye catching, feminine clothes in the show. One Christmas, I was bought a fur coat and finally found the balls to wear it for a debate competition at college. At first I was terrified people would stare or say nasty comments but then I realised "Of course people should be staring at me- I'm fabulous!" After that, I've just been building on that initial burst of confidence to the point where I don't have any fuck to give! Very liberating.

 

Why did you want to study languages?

Again, I was inspired by the movies and was so envious of characters who could switch between languages effortlessly and look so sexy and intelligent doing it. I initially solely wanted to learn French, but after I made friends of every nationality, I decided I was quick enough to learn as many as I wanted! Now, I have the difficult task of learning Russian. Не хорошо! {translated-Not good!}

 

Why didn’t you want to go into fashion?

I love fashion and am constantly researching vast eras from ancient Greece to Marie Antoinette to modern day causes of fashion trends. However, I do think that studying fashion would douse my passion, because I'm able to study what I want, when I want. I really think if you're ambitious enough, getting into fashion doesn't require a degree, just balls and talent to get through the front door. Languages don't hurt either!

 

What is your advice for readers?

Have the courage to make the first step from being controlled by fear and other people's judgement. If you have to say goodbye to negative people in your life, no matter who they are, in order to be YOU, then do it. The only thing stopping you from stepping outside the mainstream and discovering your true talent and human brilliance is your own fear of being different. Don't live and die a basic!

Follow Gavino's sartorial adventures on his ig @gavinodivino and his blog!