Johnny Manglani

Johnny Manglani

fashion’s global citizen

Johnny Manglani is founder and president of Uomo Group, which operates a string of luxury menswear stores in Singapore and Moscow. The India-born entrepreneur built his clothing empire from scratch and opened the multi-label boutique Uomo Collezioni in 1998 in Moscow. In Singapore, his company is also the exclusive distributor of labels such as Brioni, Artioli and Stefano Ricci.

For me, it’s very important to dress right for the occasion, and to look good, even on weekends. Since I am the founder of Uomo Collezioni, I usually wear my own products; I’m deeply involved in designing them. We’re also the exclusive retailers of luxury brands like Stefano Ricci, Zilli and Brioni in Singapore, and I wear their products too.

I love pocket squares. They’re my style must-have. I have all sorts — different colours, prints and materials.

My style icon is myself. Because I’ve been so involved in my business for the last 30 years, making suits and shirts. George Clooney dresses very well. I used to like how Cary Grant dressed. And I’m a big fan of James Bond’s style, with Pierce Brosnan or Daniel Craig. Sean Connery, of course, was impeccable.

One of my most memorable holidays was with my family in Marbella and Cap Ferrat in 2012. Marbella, in Spain, is full of life. We stayed for two weeks at the Marbella Club Hotel, which has excellent golf and tennis facilities, a lovely beach and very good service. And we stayed a week at the Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat in the south of France: it’s refined elegance.

I’m a foodie. One of the most memorable meals I enjoyed was in July 2012, at (the three-Michelinstar restaurant) Paul Bocuse in Lyon. That was something. The meal, the service, the ambience; everything was good. I was there with my wife and the Schimel family, which owns Zilli. Bocuse himself, who’s more than 80 years old, greeted us personally, as he’s a good friend of the Schimels. He gave me a signed copy of one of his recipe books.

We always enjoy the food in Courchevel 1850, a ski resort in the French Alps. That’s where Moscow’s elite goes in January. In the morning, it’s skiing, and from 1pm till midnight, it’s a party. It has some beautiful party places and restaurants like the Restaurant Le Cap Horn. It’s electric.

I feel equally at home in Moscow and Singapore. I’ve lived in Moscow for 30 years, and in Singapore for seven. I am almost Russian, even though I’m an Indian citizen. But I consider myself a global citizen. I could live in Italy, Hong Kong or New York, and still feel at home. Home is where I have family and friends, and where I take responsibility for making my life interesting. The one thing I would never part with is Uomo Collezioni. I’m deeply attached to and passionate about my business. I realise one secret to creating wealth is buying and selling businesses, but this is one thing I’m not selling. I started with zero in 1983, without a clue about what I was getting into, but for the love of a challenge and becoming successful. I’d travel around Moscow, offering tailoring services to diplomats and businessmen. I created my own brand – Uomo Collezioni – in 1998, when Russia started becoming more open and consumer driven. This year, we will be extensively celebrating our 15th year as a brand in Moscow.

I’m addicted to reading the news. I read The Straits Times, International Herald Tribune, CNN, The Times of India and The Moscow Times on my iPad. I spend at least one hour doing this every morning for one simple reason: my fear of being an ignorant person. I never know who I’m going to meet and speak to, so I always want to be ahead of the game.

The most useful thing in my life is my iPad. I cannot be without it. I do everything on it: run my business, get the news, watch sports. My wife was asking me the other day, can you live without your iPad for one day?

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Published 1st January 2016