The German-born designer has been working for international fashion labels for 30 years. And yet we know hardly anything about this new creative director of Brioni – the first woman to take on the role in the brand’s history. A portrait of Nina-Maria Nitsche.
There are no pictures of her – Nina-Maria Nitsche prefers to avoid the limelight, that much is clear. The designer didn’t even allow a portrait photo to be published when it became known that she was to be the new creative director of luxury menswear label Brioni. Though actually that’s hardly surprising, bearing in mind Nitsche worked alongside Martin Margiela for 23 years. A designer who never let anyone take his photograph until he retired in 2009, only did interviews via fax and in them referred to himself in the plural. Needless to say, he was one fashion designer who never came out onto the catwalk to be bathed in applause at the end of his fashion shows.
Nitsche, who took the helm of Margiela in 2009, seems to have been taking a leaf out of his book. In September 2016, she moved to Vetements, the avant-garde brand of the moment, to take on the role of collection director. When Vetements’ HQ moved from Paris to Zurich at the beginning of the year, Nitsche decided not to join them there.
Nitsche succeeds Justin O’Shea, previously head buyer of a luxury online shop. He hired the band Metallica as the face of Brioni and changed the logo to Gothic type. But now that’s history. At Brioni Nitsche wants to concentrate on the brand’s history and its fashion legacy. She is incorporating her progressive avant-garde design as the label’s new image – and she sees no mismatch there: “The label’s philosophy is based on a pioneering feat in the field of menswear. It’s my aim to strengthen and revive that longstanding tradition,” she is quoted as saying in a company statement. And the designer who wants to let clothes do the talking is likely to succeed – without trying to steal their limelight.
The new brand ambassador is Samuel L. Jackson, who has played the most iconic film characters of our age in movies like Pulp Fiction, Star Wars, Django Unchained and The Avengers. The black-and-white campaign by Gregory Harris is intended to reveal the way the collection combines timelessness and modernity in harmony with the brand’s tradition and its technical know-how.