“To be one of a kind” – a slogan that encapsulates the philosophy of Italian fashion brand Brioni. It was founded in 1945 by Nazzareno Fonticoli, a tailor from Penne, in Abruzzo, and the entrepreneur Gaetano Savini. They opened one of the first men’s fashion houses in Rome’s via Barberini and named it after a heavenly archipelago facing the Istrian coast which was one of the favorite destinations for Europe’s aristocracy at the time.
This same aristocracy was the target market for Brioni’s products. From the start the brand was a success, managing to combine a new approach with a classic stylish cut, giving it the unmistakable stamp of “Roman style”.
Making Fashion History
Interest grew as the Brioni collections went from one success to the next and enthusiastic buyers flocked to the fashion shows. Their first historic show was held in 1952 at Palazzo Pitti in Florence and soon Brioni was the world’s first true ambassador of men’s fashion. The event was a turning point in fashion history: Brioni showed men on the runway for the very first time.
The next key step was five years later, in 1957, when Brioni introduced the “Hess” collection, showing the world that men can wear colour by showcasing a series of dinner jackets that created shockwaves all over the globe.
In the Fifties, Rome was like a European Hollywood, which only helped Brioni’s fame to spread. From the Roman catwalks, they went on to conquer the USA, Hollywood and its stars. Many famous actors such as Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, John Wayne, Kirk Douglas and Rock Hudson began wearing stylish, elegant Briori suits. Even now, everyone from James Bond to the president of the USA, Barak Obama wears Brioni.
In order to meet demand Brioni opened a factory in Abruzzo, where expert tailors hand sewed the main sections of the jackets and trousers, before adding the finishing touches by machine. In addition, Brioni bought a shirt factory, a leather fashion house and went on to launch a line for women. Throughout the years the brand has expanded its men’s collection, adding accessories to help its clients create a total Brioni look.
Creating a Masterpiece
Every season, the 900 tailors in the Brioni factory create 200 models in different styles and sizes. A quarter of the production is made to measure suits for an elite 25,000 customers, who order two or three garments per season.
Each garment takes at least 18 hours of work, not counting the time that it must rest between adjustments. Mr. Savini once said that “wool is a living material that must adjust and breathe. Your suit will be pressed no less than 184 times during a 2 month period, the time you’ll need to wait for it to be finished.” Their fabrics (there are 5000 different ones to choose from) and impeccable cuts have made the Brioni name a hallmark for perfectionism and quality.
Never forgetting where he came from, in 1997 Nazzareno Fonticoli founded an association in his little town of Penne. The Nazzareno Fonticoli Foundation supports different kind of activities, from training and employment programs to helping young talent (it hosts a masters course on Fashion Economics and Design), to producing publications about the territory. There is even a literature prize: the Premio Nazionale di Narrativa città di Penne.
Savini and Fonticoli left the company in the capable hands of their families. Now the Brioni group (with its main brand Brioni Roman Style) has a yearly turnover of about 150 million Euros. It is controlled by three groups of stakeholders, represented by Francesco Pesci as Managing Director. And Italian designer Alessandro Dell’Acqua is now the creative head of the brand.
For over 65 years, the name Brioni has been seen on over 400 catwalks in 50 different countries and thanks to its focus on style, quality and perfectionism, it is sure to continue for the next 65.
Brioni S.r.l.Via Barberini 79
00187 Roma, Italy
Tel. [+39] 06-4620161
Fax: [+39] 06-4873301
Web: Brioni Italian Tailored Clothing