When Riccardo Fabbriconi, better known by his stage name Blanco, put his EP, Quarantine Paranoid, out into the world in 2020, he did it like most rhyme-spitting artists do: by uploading it to SoundCloud on a whim and hoping for the best.
The Lombardian rapper quickly caught the attention of Universal Music Group and Island Records, who went on to produce his next two singles, “Belladonna (Adieu)” and “Notti in bianco,” only a few months later—the latter of which turned him into an overnight sensation.
Something about Blanco’s not-quite-punk yet not-quite-hip-hop sound is emblematic of his increasingly label-blurring generation, who resonate greatly with his work and effortlessly rowdy attitude. Case in point: At only 20 years old, Blanco has a certified platinum album and two certified platinum singles under his belt, and his whole creative career ahead of him.
Propelled to international stardom by the fierce support of his Italian fan base, it only felt natural for the young artist to be dressed and interviewed by two of his most renowned compatriots, designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, for his shoot with Steven Klein. Consider this an Italian job well done.
Domenico Dolce: We are very happy to work with you and are excited about this shoot, we are in love with the photos! How did it go on set?
Blanco: It was very cool and intense. It lasted a long time because we really got on with Steven Klein. He managed to capture who I am in a very short amount of time and he made me discover something I hadn’t experienced before.
Stefano Gabbana: You are very young, and jeans, sweatshirts, and sneakers are the “comfortable” choice, but it’s nice to see you in a suit, with a perfectly fitted jacket and pants. Elegant, but edgy at the same time. How do you feel?
B: In life—and generally in everything I do—I like to experiment. The same goes for fashion. I enjoy challenging myself with styles that seem distant from what I usually do, but I always try to add something genuine, something “raw.” If I’m wearing an elegant outfit, maybe I’ll add a shoe that I’ve had in my closet for ten years, to make it less banal.
DD: What is style for you?
B: Style is that element that best represents a person, something consistent. It is the essence of one’s personality.
SG: We can say it: We have been working together on a special collection that we will present in the fall. Your favorite piece?
B: I’m very happy with the ski and the snowboard suit.
DD: What are you excited about? What makes you nervous?
B: I find the idea of giving energy to other people exciting. I’m nervous when I don’t feel understood.
SG: With this shoot, you are reaching a global audience. Are you happy about that? How has the Italian fan base prepared you for this moment?
B: I would love to take my music outside of Italy and this is definitely a great chance to get to be known outside of my country.
DD: Getting to “success,” with the public is a difficult path made of patience, devotion, and a lot of work. How is it going?
B: I would say everything’s going well. I’m enjoying the process, but I also have so many other goals and new challenges ahead of me, I’m always looking for different experiences.
SG: You told us that you credit your father with introducing you to Italian icons like Lucio Battisti, Lucio Dalla, and Pino Daniele. Do they still influence your music today? Are there other musicians who inspire you?
B: I take a lot of inspiration from the tradition of Italian music—from songwriters who, in my opinion, have managed to deliver eternal songs. Then there are many other genres that give me new inputs, lately, I listen to reggaeton a lot.
DD: How would you describe the Italian music scene today?
SG: When did you start feeling confident in your craft? How do you express your creativity?
B: I believe in the law of attraction: If you really want something you can get it. I was sure I could make it because it was something I deeply wanted–of course desire is not enough, you need to work very hard, too. As for the creative flow, I think it’s a bit based on the moments: When the impulse arrives, the idea, wherever I am and whatever I’m doing, I support it and try to develop it.
Photographer Steven Klein
Fashion Gro Curtis
Makeup Kabuki (Kabuki Magic)
Hair Ward Stegerhoek (Home Agency)
Manicure Gina Edwards (SEE Management)
Set design Stefan Beckman (Exposure NY)
Executive producer Dana Brockman (ViewFinders)
Production Manager Frank DeCaro (ViewFinders)
Digital technician Nick Barr
Lighting director Dean Dodos
Photo assistants Dylan Garcia, Bryan Tormey, Sam Dole, Roman Caesar
Stylist assistant Emma Oleck, Carson Stannard
Hair assistant Brian Casey
Set design assistants Nic Der, Syavash Jefferson
Production assistants Mclean Haws, Xabi Macauley
Location 3 Dollar bill