Titans: Holt Renfrew President Mario Grauso on the Idea of Luxury — In Retail, and In Life

We sat down with Holt’s man in charge to ask him about his start in the fashion industry, how he rose to the top, and what he values most.

How do you define luxury?

I think that it means something different to everyone. It could be the perfect pair of sneakers or a piece of furniture. Luxury to me is super personal and defined by what is best for you.

What experience best embodies luxury to you? 

My son and I took an around the world trip together when he graduated high school. The trip was six months. We started in Russia, then went to Europe, the Middle East and then Asia. We wrapped it with a road trip from Los Angeles back to New York. The luxury of time with him was by far the most memorable experience I’ve had.

How did you get your start in the fashion business? 

My first job in this industry was at Bergdorf Goodman as a financial planner. I had finished law school and was studying for the bar. I’ve been in fashion ever since, and I’ve never looked back.

What does it take to reach the top of the industry? 

I think it’s trusting your instincts and your team to execute the best work that you can. For me, what is most important is beautiful product, presented in the most beautiful stores and working with the best people to achieve that.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned during your career?

That you’re only as good as your team.

Do you have an outlet or an escape? 

The home I share with my husband and son in Bridgehampton.

Lots of successful people have rituals. Do you have any of your own? 

I read two newspapers every morning before work: the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal. And I still like to read hard copy.

What or who inspires you?

My son Harry. He keeps me relevant.

You have an enviable art collection. What is your most prized piece? 

A Botero sculpture that was in my father’s office. I used to sit at his desk when I was a kid, and it reminds me of him. Now it sits in my office at home.

If your son were to follow in your footsteps, what would be your main advice?

I would tell him to do it if he loved product as much as I do. As long as that were the case, I would be game. But I don’t think that’s in the cards for him.