I WAS WALKING into a cafe in Monterey, Calif., a few weeks ago when I saw a man walking out, wearing a red-brimmed cap carrying the Ferrari emblem: the Cavallino Rampante on the yellow shield. He waited, alone, while the valet brought him his silver Ferrari 812 Superfast.
This seemed to violate an unspoken, yet in-the-moment obvious, fashion rule: You can rock the Ferrari hat or you can rock the car, but you can’t rock both at the same time. That, my friend, is a social bro pas.
Nothing against hats. And nothing against Ferrari, the Italian racing and sports car legend, whose only crimes after 71 years in business are building fabulous cars, winning Formula One championships and printing money in all the world’s great currencies. Along the way, Maranello’s emblem has become one of the world’s most powerful commercial marks and a luxury-lifestyle…wait for it…icon.
But the car and the hat, matchy-matchy? No. Hell no. That’s obnoxious. Maybe at a Ferrari Club meeting with all the other prats in hats. Otherwise just have “Ask me about my Ferrari” tattooed on your tongue and get on with it.
Ferrari-brimmed ballers will want to know: What about the other guy, who drives a Honda Accord and dresses like one of Ferrari’s pit crew? That’s OK, because he is a tifosi, a fan of the Formula One team. Ferrari only builds about 9,000 cars a year but the race team claims more than a billion fans globally. They are permitted to wear awful branded sportswear as a gesture of their love.
By the way, if hats aren’t your thing, the company store offers a full line of Ferrari-labeled jackets, sunglasses, watches, handbags, luggage and team (Scuderia) shirts. These and other items are available at Ferrari stores in airports, and the gift shop at Ferrari World amusement park in Abu Dhabi.
I’m sure it’s all top-quality merch. The important point is that swag is for fans, people who don’t actually own Ferraris. It’s aspirational, in other words. Should you ever acquire the actual car you should donate all of it to the Salvation Army of Monaco or something.
From deep in my reporter’s notebook: In August 1993 I interviewed Luca di Montezemolo, then chairman and CEO of Ferrari and Enzo Ferrari’s protégé. This was just a few years after the old man’s death in 1988 and there was still a holy reverence for all things Enzo. Mr. Montezemolo swore he would never sully the good name of Ferrari merely to move merch. Pfft.
‘Should you ever acquire an actual Ferrari, you must donate your merch to the Salvation Army of Monaco or something.’
You can’t fully deconstruct the Ferrari hat without considering the semiotics of the message-bearing baseball cap a priori. In the era of MAGA, the forehead has become a site of sociocultural contestation. So if you think the guy in the Tesla hat is virtue-signalling, what is the fund-bro in the Ferrari hat doing, vice-signalling? You betcha. The Ferrari hat is like an “I HEART Mammon” bumper sticker.
Hats are the windows to the soul. Be mindful of what the Ferrari hat says about yours.