Mariano di Vaio on being the face of K by Dolce & Gabbana

And why you should buy this fragrance for Christmas...

(Image credit: mv)

FE: You look great in the K by Dolce & Gabbana campaign. What do you love most about the fragrance?

Mariano: The woody part. I’m really picky about the fragrances I wear. I have been ever since I was very young. I was probably the only one to go to school at 17 wearing fragrance. When I first got K by Dolce & Gabbana I admit I was a bit nervous. I was going to be the face and what if I didn’t like it? That would be kind of weird. But luckily I did…

K by Dolce & Gabbana, John Lewis

K by Dolce & Gabbana

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FE: It’s quite an addictive scent. I’d wear it… 

Mariano: That’s what my wife Eleanora says, too. You get a little hint of spice, which makes it addictive.

FE: Why do you think a scent like K by Dolce & Gabbana is so important in putting us in touch with our emotions?

Mariano: Scents are able to bring back memories more than anything else - more than a photo sometimes or even a diary. I remember my sister had this little book when she was younger. When she wasn’t writing in it she’d spray perfume on the pages. That’s what I remember most - the smell of the book.

FE: So does K by Dolce & Gabbana conjure up any memories?

Mariano: I think I love woody men's scents like K by Dolce & Gabbana because it reminds me of this little wooden house in Sardinia my family used to stay in when I was a child. It had loads of trees at the front and the sea and mountains. There was a cosy fireplace that we would sit around at night. My parents had to work hard so this was one of the few times we were all together.

FE: Do you wear a different fragrance during the day than you do in the evening?

Mariano: No I don’t do that. I have a lot of fragrances. Most of them I never finish. I know which one is my favourite and I always choose that one when I have something special or important on…

FE: To give you confidence?

Mariano: Yeah, for strength and to help me remember the good moments. I wouldn’t waste it on going to the office. I sometimes force myself not to wear my favourite scent for a while because if you get too used to the smell you don’t feel the energy from it anymore. It’s important to feel that as fragrance is one of your secret weapons.

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FE: You started modelling at 18. Do you feel different about it now that you're 30?

Mariano: Definitely. I’m a totally different person now than I was at 18. I was just a kid - I had no facial hair! When I started modelling I was just a guy trying to find his way in the world. I went to London first when I was 18 and then to New York and I didn’t know what I was doing. Modelling is a bit more like acting now whereas before it was just posing and doing what people tell you but not really feeling the character. You have to become a character in front of a camera.

FE: Do you worry about getting older? I always think it must be hard as a model because you are always judged by your looks...

Mariano: Not really to be honest. My dad looks good! Maybe the attitude is just different in Italy. When I was a kid I would always complain, ‘Mum I always look like the youngest one with super blonde hair and no facial hair!’ She would always say, ‘Don’t worry the more you grow up the better you’ll look.’

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FE: Yeah, somehow that’s always the case with men! There are lots of successful female bloggers out there, why did you decide to become a male fashion blogger

Mariano: I guess I started blogging when no other men were doing it. 10 years ago I went to New York and saw a lot of my friends were using this website where people would publish a photo and review things like restaurants. We didn’t have Trip Advisor back then! I was like, 'I’m going to do something similar for fashion'. I love the cinema so at the beginning I started talking about the movies I was watching and the clothes and campaigns I was shooting as a model. I saw that people were interested and just kept doing it. I could also practice my English. I was probably the only one doing it at the time so it was easy to bring people into the same spot and then my social media started to grow after that.

FE: You’ve got over 6 million followers, its insane. What’s the key to building a successful blog that engages men?

Mariano: I’ve always been really sincere and I wasn’t shy about anything. I didn’t really think too much about what I was doing, I was just sharing it. I was literally saying, ‘Today I was washing the plates at the restaurant’ because I started out as a dish washer. Then I began working in fashion and my followers saw me go from the guy in New York to the model flying around the world. The same people that are following me now are the same people who followed me when I was younger.

FE: So they have followed your whole journey..

Mariano: Exactly, I think they liked the idea of the guy that made it from nothing.

FE: Do you feel you have to be immaculately groomed to do your posts?

Mariano: I’m not vain. I mean there’s my hair that I’m particular about but I’ve posted so many bad photos in my life, I mean, I don’t care…

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FE: We’ve all done it. What does your grooming routine consist of?

Mariano: When Eleanora and I started going out she was always putting these creams on and I was like, ‘Why did you do that?’. She’d say things like, ‘Your skin needs hydration.’ I thought you got that from drinking water so I started trying her skincare. I'd complain that some of it was so sticky that she began buying me skincare for men. I like a small routine, it doesn’t take more than 10 minutes in the morning and before bed. I’m obsessed with washing my face and follow up with a serum and cream, which I also like to take down my neck. Then I put my fragrance and sunglasses on and I’m good to go.

FE: Do you have regular beauty treatments to get yourself prepped for modelling jobs like the K by Dolce & Gabbana campaign?

Mariano: No but I tried my first cryo sauna the other day, where I stood in -180 degrees.

FE: I tried cryotherapy once – it’s really amazing for getting your circulation going and making your skin glow. It also helps your muscles to recover if you’re into sport.

Mariano: I love sports. It’s definitely my thing…

FE: But not the gym?

Mariano: The gym is the thing I hate most. It’s so boring! I’d much rather someone said, ‘Let’s go play tennis or golf'. You’re having fun and you’re doing something for your body and giving your brain a bit of a break as well…

FE: Finally, you look very macho and brooding in the K by Dolce & Gabbana campaign. What, in your opinion, does it mean to be a man in 2019?

Mariano: Times are changing so I think to be a real man you need to stay true to your values. It’s so easy nowadays to switch from one thing to the other and not know who you are anymore. For me it was always about love and building a family. I don’t think I’m missing out on anything. I’m getting more from this life than I would if I was alone jetting around the world. My family grounds me. It’s my base and what I build everything else on.

Fiona Embleton

Fiona Embleton has been a beauty editor for over 10 years, writing and editing beauty copy and testing over 10,000 products. She has previously worked for magazines like Marie Claire, Stylist, Cosmopolitan and Women’s Health. Beauty journalism allowed her to marry up her first class degree in English Literature and Language (she’s a stickler for grammar and a self-confessed ingredients geek) with a passion for make-up and skincare, photography and catwalk trends.