Niccolò Lapo Latini

Interview by Federica Trotta Mureau

Photography Danilo Falà



Discovering Niccolò Lapo Latini has been an adventure that unlocked new perspectives on art for us. As the editor-in-chief of Mia Le Journal, I encounter extraordinary talent every day, yet it’s rare to find someone as young and deeply immersed in the creative landscape as Niccolò. His ability to deftly navigate between the strictures of the art world and the vibrancy of fashion and design is not only rare but truly inspirational.


At merely 23, Niccolò has indelibly marked the industry, becoming the youngest project director recognized by prestigious publications like Purple France and L’officiel Paris, and collaborating with globally recognized brands. His journey, characterized by a bold leap from tennis to project management, showcases a burning passion and steadfast determination, making him a true phenomenon of our era. Incorporating him as project manager and curator of the art section at Mia Le Journal was a decision made with great consideration. His unique vision and talent in weaving visual narratives, alongside an innate understanding of aesthetics and communication, have greatly enhanced the services he oversees, injecting fresh and unprecedented perspectives into our pages. 

This interview aims to provide our readers with a deeper insight into Niccolò Lapo Latini’s world, exploring his roots, inspirations, and his impact on contemporary fashion and art. Through his words, we hope to convey the essence of a young man who is rewriting the rules, challenging conventions, and inspiring a new generation to chase their dreams with bravery and integrity.






F.T.M.   Niccolò, share with us your first experience with Mia Le Journal. Your knack for engaging artists in projects that span from visual arts to photography and fashion demonstrates an artistic vision that crosses traditional boundaries. How do you approach the artists you select for the magazine? 

N.L.L.   The best things are always the simplest. From our first phone call last July, I immediately sensed a commonality that bound us together – a driving force behind our collaboration today – the desire not only to tell a story but to dive deeper into it. Back then, I was on the artist’s side, representing Martin Parr through DMB and Magnum, now I’m delighted to be a welcomed guest in your creative circle. A selection for Mia Le Journal is a natural selection. The identity of the magazine – which I prefer to call book due to its properties – is strong. Despite its well-deserved recognition in the publishing industry, it remains hidden, like a graceful and silent woman who avoids prying eyes, alluring yet distrustful, intriguing yet desired. It’s hard to grasp because it’s not for everyone, and that’s just how it should be. Remember “Fidelio”? (Eyes Wide Shut, Stanley Kubrick 1999). Anyway, I’ve never felt the need to approach an artist; instead, I’ve been curious to understand a person, multiple times. Talk to great artists about their art, and you’ll get great artists.

Talk to them about other things, and you’ll get great souls. 


F.T.M.    Navigating the labyrinth of fashion can be daunting. What has been your Ariadne’s thread, guiding you through the intricate pathways of your career thus far? 

N.L.L.    I like the comparison with Ariadne’s thread, in fact, Greek mythology has always fascinated me. I’ll be honest and straightforward, I don’t like the world I live in, and I completely disagree with the so-called “Golden Age Syndrome” prophets. Particularly when it comes to our profession, the industry we’re part of is a sharp blade, a winding road. However, we’re here because it holds hidden treasures within it. Life experiences too captivating to look away from. Opportunities to seize, adventures to embark on. I think the most significant switch for me – beyond work-related achievements which are simply the inevitable consequence of the chosen path – was learning to listen to myself and recognize my worth. My great religion professor in high school once said, “Picture this, guys: the drama, the irony, the waste… We’re constantly searching for everything when we know nothing about ourselves.” Back to Theseus and Ariadne, it’s definitely not easy finding the way home. Just consider the fairy tale “Le Petit Pouchet” by Charles Perrault, known to Italian audiences as “Pollicino” or “Puccettino” by Carlo Collodi, or Hansel and Gretel from the Brothers Grimm. A similar question was asked me a while back by Toni Perez, EIC of Vanity Teen New York. I remember responding,

“Always be the boat in the middle of the sea; you don’t sink from the water around you but from the water you let in.” 


F.T.M.    From your initial engagement with Fila Europe to becoming a pivotal figure in fashion, you’ve sailed through a sea of change. If you were to compare your journey to a piece of art, which would it be and why does it reflect your evolution? 

N.L.L.   The 2AM dreamer in me would shout, “Teleport me into ‘The Silmarillion’ by the master J.R.R. Tolkien, and I’ll be saved!” The 2PM dreamer in me would opt for “La Freccia Azzurra,” a legendary animated film by Enzo D’Alò with the super rare appearance of Dario Fo, based on the fairy tale written by Gianni Rodari. I’ve always been a normal child, craving a normal life. At elementary school, when the teacher asked my peers, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” they used to reply with astronaut, soccer player, dancer, pilot… I had no answer, and I didn’t have one for many years. A winter day, school closed due to snowy roads, a morning at the town park with my best friends, the sight of snowflakes gently caressing the sea – I didn’t have other aspirations. As Heath Ledger’s Joker would say, “I’m a man of simple tastes,” but my family and life gave me a lot, and from an early age, I inherited a road full of adventures. Recently, Conor McGregor from Unilad picked up on a historical quote from Lao Tzu, “If you live in the past, you’re depressed; if you live in the future, you’re anxious; if you live in the present, you’re at peace.” I never lived in the present as intensely as I did during those years. In conclusion, here I am, I’ve always thought of my life as a Rothko painting, but then destiny turned it into a Kandinsky (he smiles). 

F.T.M.   Transitioning from an athlete to a project manager, how have you transformed the discipline and tenacity of tennis into your visual art? Leonardo da Vinci once remarked, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.” Can you draw a parallel between the perfection of a tennis stroke and the creative process behind a visual project? 

N.L.L.   Let’s put it this way, there’s nothing in the world as perfect as the sound of the ball hitting the heart of the sweet spot. The clean snap of impact, the sensation of spin bouncing in your palm, the racket’s motion as a natural extension of your body… Tennis is a master of life. “Winning Ugly” by Brad Gilbert and “Roger Federer as Religious Experience” by David Foster Wallace are philosophical essays, far from the simple – albeit immensely enriching – concept of sport. During a conversation with Martin Parr, in our last meeting at his foundation in Bristol, surrounded by a multitude of photography books, prints, and wooden shelves, as we were flipping through his latest works, he looked at me, smiling, and said, “You’re so young, yet you’re here with me talking about photography and new visions. You took a plane on a whim just to meet me and spend a morning together. Tell me the truth, are you a bit crazy, aren’t you?” I had his book “Match Point: Tennis” in front of me, and I opened it, responding, “This is the only thing that matters to me. In tennis, I left my idols and childhood dreams, my most intense emotions, my loudest heartbeats. That’s why today I’m here with you I guess. I have immense respect and gratitude, but there’s no subordination feelings; I simply act, without hesitation.” Undoubtedly, one of the keys that tennis has given me, which I’ve applied to my profession, is time management. Consider the paradox: tennis is one of the few sports without a clock; the ticking hands of a watch don’t matter because no one knows when a match will end, yet somehow time management is one of the greatest lessons it can offer. Isn’t that fascinating? 

F.T.M.   With “You Rock My World,” you delved into the rebellious spirit of youth through music. David Bowie once proclaimed, “I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.” How do you view the future of art, fashion, and your career in this constantly shifting landscape? Is there an unexplored territory you’re eager to delve into? 

N.L.L.   For years, all industry professionals have been saying that the publishing sector is on the decline, one step away from the abyss. Perhaps we forget that it’s just changing shape while the essence remains intact. Just because print sales have decreased doesn’t mean that the audience has turned away from what a magazine represents or that the physical product has lost value. People turn away when they’re no longer in love, if the information isn’t adapted for the intended reader, if it’s not wisely conveyed through new transmission channels, if the connection fails and we become unreachable. But if the paths intersect again, we’ll see the gears come back to life. It’s when you have nothing to lose that sparks emerge. I might be an off-key piano in the middle of an orchestra, but I see this moment as a tremendous opportunity that must be seized. Regarding unexplored realities, having crossed paths a couple of times with A24 in the last two years, I’ve realized that the film industry is so fascinating and mysterious that it elicits conflicting feelings in me. The idea of working behind the scenes attracts me tremendously, and I feel like it’s calling me, but at the same time, I want to resist as much as possible to avoid any disillusionments, the end of magic. To become a great magician, you must first undertake the apprentice’s path and learn all the tricks and secrets of the trade. I’m not sure I’m ready for that step yet. Although I’ve studied cinematography at SAE and NYFA, deep down, I’m still the child who gets excited when the red ball disappears into the handkerchief and magically turns into a dove (he smiles). 

F.T.M.   As the fashion world embraces inclusivity, how do you see your role in this evolution? Yayoi Kusama considered art a means to “amalgamate my life with the universe.” Can you find a similar symbiosis in your work? 

N.L.L.  I can’t say that I feel part of this high-level symbiosis, but I also can’t deny it. If there’s any symbiosis, it’s partly due to my synesthesia, diagnosed in childhood, both conceptual and perceptual. A rarity, or simply an unusual anomaly. Sometimes I feel like I’m cheating, so I avoid exploring it further, but perhaps this explains my affinity with creative departments, the intimacy that forms between me and artists, their generosity towards me, the trust they place. The funny thing is this trait makes my dream activity very intense, colorful, and vivid. Sleeping I gain new perspectives, moods, and insights. I often joke with my therapist, saying that if there were an afterlife and it was like one of my dreams, it wouldn’t be so bad after all (he smiles). 

F.T.M.  “Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its students” (Hector Berlioz). How does the concept of time influence your work process and your view on art and fashion? 

N.L.L.   I like working in dead moments, in the shadows, always in preparation for… When the time comes to step into the light – the day the project is made official, when a campaign is released or the company I’ve worked for is relaunched with a new image and setup – I’m gone. When a fashion week runway show is planned and ready to go live, I disappear; I retreat to the mountains, turn off my phone, and I don’t exist anymore. Speaking a while ago with Art Partner, after a third-party request for an interview with Terry Richardson, they told me they were unsure about going ahead because Terry hadn’t done a project for a while and had no immediate plans for new ones. I remember saying, “Well, an ideal time for an informal chat.” I started working very early; at 17, I set foot on a photography set for the first time. I don’t want to chase after my life; I just want to go with the natural flow of things, whatever the future holds for me. I know it could sound silly but since I stopped forcing myself to make choices, my destiny started deciding for me. It’s so beautiful, so perfect. The void doesn’t allow for contamination. That’s why I often jokingly suggest to my colleagues not to study too much. Studying builds the foundation, but if overused, it risks calcifying the mind. There must be space for improvisation, otherwise, how can we have the opportunity to be original? 

F.T.M.   You’ve collaborated with world-renowned photographers and other artists. Is there a particular collaboration that has significantly impacted you or taught you something invaluable? How do you choose who to work with? 

N.L.L.  To me intention is one of the most powerful words in our vocabulary. Whether it’s a brand, a magazine, or an artist, I choose whom to work with based on the intention I see behind their steps, the purpose of their path. A bigger picture, a deeper meaning, a hidden will. Then I can sit at the table with good or bad people, it doesn’t matter to me. The only type of people I’m truly afraid of are the stupid ones. Regarding my past collaborations, working with Cole Sprouse was definitely exciting. It was the first time I felt such a big personality open up to me, sharing intimate stories from his childhood, confiding desires… It was moving. When Nara, Lucky Blue’s wife, wrote me, giving me Lucky’s contact to work together, I was at home in Milan with my university friends, the night before an exam – it was so insane… On the other hand, I must admit that many of the most important people for my growth have been family friends – architects, painters, musicians, writers… I remember those summer afternoons many years ago when, before starting my classical studies at 14, my tutor, a former university professor of italian literature, taught me ancient Greek and Latin in his underground private library. I’d never seen so many first-edition volumes in my life, hundreds. One day, while watching Ben-Hur in the living room, he turned to me with a stern voice and said, “Niccolò, the world is full of ignorant and graceless monkeys; you must promise me you won’t become one of them.” I obediently nodded, and then he took out carefully preserved a folder of letters signed, “with sincere affection, Pierpaolo Pasolini,” his pen pal. However, thinking about my career, the person who undoubtedly gave a significant turning point was Emanuele Ferrari. I was 20 when I walked into his studio for the first time with a newly commissioned advertising campaign to ask if he would have liked to shoot it. He looked at me, puzzled, and said, “Who are you and what are you doing here?” I was ready for a resounding “no” of course, instead he immediately smiled at me and accepted, letting me then direct the campaign as executive. The project was published in the UK and became successful, with those photographs being republished in Italy, France, and Russia over the following two years… A fragment of that shoot is still in his Art Partner archive. That episode opened the door to other chapters together: the mention in Purple France, Schön Magazine comparing “Buio II” to a Franca Sozzani’s work, the award at TDC68 with Reebok in New York… The day after shooting that campaign, six years ago, I took the train back to my mother’s house and I told her still amazed “Mom, I believe yesterday my career truly began”. 

F.T.M.   “Life is a great big canvas, throw all the paint on it you can” (Danny Kaye). What “color” do you believe your work has added to the vast landscape of contemporary fashion and art? 

N.L.L.   As a PM, I can’t have a color. I must represent infinite shades of gray to guide my team and successfully complete a project. This requires flexibility, patience, and resilience. Designing a house in every detail as if it were your family home, yet being ready to dismantle it and redesign elsewhere at a moment’s notice. No emotional attachment, no feelings, just the right thing at the right time. You have to learn to develop a nomadic mindset, traveling light to survive, adaptability or extinction. Like a spider weaving a web from point A to point B, creating connections to ensure stability, a stability built through links. My projects as a PM can involve advertising campaigns, magazine covers, or, as PMO, corporate restructuring, rebranding, new marketing strategies and communication flows… Tasks and challenges can vary, but I still remember the speech I gave to my team as executive the night before shooting for Lacoste in Canada. “A project is like a ski slope. You might encounter blue, red, or black descents, but the difficulty level is relatively unimportant because a true skier knows that a thin sheet of ice or a pile of soft, fresh snow can cause a tilting. A split second, and you’re on the ground. The difficulty of the slope isn’t a reliable indicator of outcome, too many variables. The only important thing – the very first thing every ski instructor teaches to their students – is to trust your knees. The skier’s mind is in the knees because their strength and dynamism allow you to calibrate each turn and deviate from every unexpected obstacle. It’s dirty work of endurance. I don’t want fancy skiers; I want skiers with strong knees”. The assets we work with are money and time, through preventive and curative missions, but it’s the people that make the difference. If you don’t establish a relationship of trust, if there’s no common goal, and if, as a leader in charge, you don’t leave an imprint on each of them, the danger is always lurking. 

F.T.M.   “Imagination is more important than knowledge” (Albert Einstein). Looking ahead, what new frontiers of imagination are you aiming to explore? 

N.L.L.   As for this question, I’m afraid I can’t give you a definitive answer. In the last six months, many professionals have asked me, “So, what do you want to do when you grow up?” just as the elementary school teacher did… Isn’t it curious? Gianmario Motta (GM at Spring Studios Milan), Nicolò Bottarelli (Head of Brand Creative at Golden Goose), Fabio Novembre (AD at Driade)… And still I don’t have an answer for any of them. The only reply that comes to my mind is, “just doing my job.” But life keeps unfolding in front of my eyes like a video game story, day after day. I know who I am and where I come from. Every level I complete leads to a new chapter, unlocking unknown skills, meeting amazing people, facing challenges. It’s wonderful, so what does it matter what’s next? And I’ll say more, limits are great. The “no’s” we receive and give define us much more than the “yes’s.” Boundaries create magic that sparks creativity. Without boundaries and contours, where would the fun be? A game without rules isn’t a game.