I have heaps of them, coloured, printed, in linen, cotton or silk. They are all in a drawer, perfectly ironed in four equal parts, looking like an accordion. In the morning I choose one, I open it, I crumple it holding it in my hand and then I put it in my breast pocket. I like that it sticks out a tiny bit, I sometimes leave the corners and part of its design protrude from my breast pocket. I also like that a crumpled strip of handkerchief sticks out a bit of the trouser pocket.

When I was little, my father used his to blow my nose. His were huge and white, with white embroidered initials. Their creases left by the iron made perfect geometric designs, of which I still remember their texture, weight and fragrance.

Maybe it is for this reason that I love handkerchiefs. It is a sentimental, forgotten accessory, meant to dry your forehead, tears, hands and, for those like me who wear glasses, to clean the lenses. You can offer it to whoever needs it, knowing that it will be returned washed, ironed and folded in four equal parts.


A partnership between Massimo Alba and African Parks

What is the one thing we as people, as a species, cannot live without? Nature. Nature sustains us, providing us with the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, the home we live on. Without her, we and everything we know, will cease to exist. That is why we are dedicating this “Africa” handkerchiefs and shawls collection to African Parks – an NGO that manages protected areas on behalf of governments and in partnership with local communities across Africa. With 15 parks in nine countries under management, they are conserving more than 10.5 million hectares of wild landscapes; they are protecting some of the planet’s most important species – elephants, rhinos, lions, and gorillas; and they are creating safe and healthy places for millions of people. When you purchase a “Africa” Massimo Alba’s handkerchief or shawl, you are helping to support the efforts of African Parks, and doing your part to help protect our wild and natural future.

Discover more at www.africanparks.org


I’ve always looked at the animal world with a sense of endless admiration and infinite respect. However, I’ve never loved the animated, anthropomorphic view of animals. I’ve always seen them as extraordinarily interesting creatures precisely because of everything that differentiates them from us humans, rather than perceiving them as projections of ourselves, as bizarre humans in disguise. For me animals are proud, noble and mysterious. Their sensibility, intelligence and wisdom differs from that of humans, being far removed from ours and therefore even more fascinating.

I love their nobility, the impenetrability of their thoughts. They seem to possess secret knowledge about nature, other animals and life that is impossible for most people to imagine (this is why, ever since I was a child, I have always had so much admiration for scientists, ethologists, experts on the world of animals and those who have devoted their entire lives to habitat conservation).

The fragility of their habitats is a constant cause of concern for me. I have always thought that protecting the animal kingdom is a fundamental duty that we should all uphold. As a creative director, my chosen career brings me into daily contact with a theme central to my work: beauty and its fragility.

This is why, when I saw the watercolour work of a young artist called Clementina, I wanted to work with her. Together we have come up with the idea of linking our project to African Parks, a non-profit association that protects and conserves parks in Africa and for which she is a Young Ambassador.

Our partnership has led to the creation of handkerchiefs and stoles dedicated to African animals and part of the proceeds from the sales will go to the association. A small yet positive gesture to express my ‒ and our ‒ profound gratitude for everything that animals represent for us.