Man to Measure: 70 years of Brioni
Kirk Douglas, Clark Gable, Al Pacino, Anthony Quinn and John Wayne made them famous. Even people who could not have cared less about menswear had heard of Brioni by the time Pierce Brosnan slipped on their bespoke suits in Golden Eye. Figure-hugging and waist-enhancing cuts used to be restricted to womenswear; not so since tailor Nazareno Fonticoli and fashion designer Gaetano Savini turned their hands to haute couture for men in Rome in 1945.
The fact that men, too, strut down the runways nowadays is also thanks to a stroke of genius by the resourceful designer Savini. In 1952 he hired handsome Angelo Vittucci for a fashion show in Florence’s Palazzo Pitti and had him parade around in a good dozen suits. Vittucci drove the predominantly female buyers into a frenzy. Their enthusiasm spilled over to the USA, where Brioni’s triumph really kicked off. British-born Brendan Mullane (previously at Givenchy) has been Creative Director of the couture house since 2012; after occasionally making escapades into the world of womenswear, the label now concentrates exclusively on improving men’s fashion.
An anniversary suit
With a tailoring technique that dates back to the 1900s, the “Roma 45” suit has been created for the label’s 70th anniversary. This tailored suit is limited to just 70 pieces and is hand-embroidered with a serial number – a collector’s item. It is made from a particularly fine, navy blue combination of wool and vicuña with a minute herringbone pattern. Of the 260 individual procedures that go into making such a suit,256 of them are done by hand. The reason lies in the elasticity. A hand-sewn backstitch makes the suit track the wearer’s movements more fluently and smoothly. The look is completed with an Oxford shirt with a micro pattern and a grey, hand-sewn silk tie with the crest of the Prince of Wales – three ostrich feathers in a coronet. Combine with diamond-encrusted, white gold, limited edition cufflinks designed by Mullane.
Incidentally, the suits are made in the town of Penne in the Abruzzo region. It is one of the most beautiful towns in Italy. One of the founders was so enthusiastic about the Croatian Brijuni Islands (Italian: Brioni) that he was inspired to name the label after the area.