It was a rather unusual choice for Brioni to opt for Australian-born Justin O’Shea as their new creative director. He is taking over from Brendan Mullane, who only stepped down in February. What is all the more enthralling is that O’Shea hasn’t really been famous for his designs. Which is understandable, seeing as he hasn’t actually designed anything before. Instead, he became a talking point as head buyer at the luxury online platform Mytheresa.com. “We aren’t a fashion brand,” was Brioni boss Gianluca Flore’s explanation to the New York Times for this remarkable move, “so we don’t need to mimic fashion. We are a style brand, so we are going to follow the customers.”
We didn’t have to wait long for the first innovation at Brioni: the Italian luxury tailor will skip the men’s fashion week in Milan – along with several other brands – to concentrate on 4th July in Paris, where O’Shea’s first collection will be presented between the women’s haute couture shows. And of course, in line with the new zeitgeist, a few special runway looks will go on sale as “prêt-a-couture” immediately after the shows.
3 things you absolutely have to know about Justin O’Shea:
- O’Shea was born in the Australian outback. At first he wanted to become a rugby or hockey player, but ended up falling out with his coach and was taken on in a friend’s shop instead.
- Over 80,000 people follow O’Shea on Instagram. Since O’Shea started working in fashion, combining full beards, tattoos and tailor-made suits is no longer a contradiction. It’s hardly surprising, then, that he has long been a street style photographers’ favourite at the fashion weeks. And he has more than proven his knack for self-marketing, which is now part of the job description for any creative director. Of course, his successful blogger girlfriend, Veronika Heilbrunner, may have had a hand in that.
- O’Shea lives in Berlin’s Charlottenburg district (for now). He says: “I really don’t care what I sell. I just want to be better than everyone else.” He probably would have made a great rugby star. His former coach must be kicking himself for missing that opportunity.