Brioni & the Challege of bespoke Featured

Brioni celebrates sixty-five years of luxury tailoring
by 23 August 2010

Brioni means unique. Its status can be gauged from an independent survey conducted by the Luxury Institute of New York in 2007, which named it the most prestigious men's fashion brand in the United States. Even though today the company is a world-class industrial concern and a major player in the international luxury sector, every garment is worked as a one-off piece. Even a regular collection suit can be considered as carefully personalized. In fact, a Brioni suit incorporates the work of dozens of tailors and seamstresses, each specializing in a certain technique, in an almost obsessive quest for perfection. This also means that the company does not make as many garments as it wants to: it makes as many as it can. Quality tailoring requires time. Classic, prestige style cannot be mass produced.

A Brioni outfit is never a costume adding a veneer of style. A Brioni garment becomes part of the wearer's personality. It corresponds precisely to his or her identity and reflects lifestyle and aspirations. This is why Brioni suits are frequently chosen by cinema stars and jet-setters, whether on or off-screen: the clothing possesses the same quality of uniqueness as its wearers. One of the most familiar examples of films starring Brioni is the series of James Bond films, from Golden Eye to Casino Royale.

In addition to its collections for men and women, Brioni's "su misura" service expresses the brand's true essence. The service is available whatever the customer's location, and it includes total look, not just the suit: shirts, ties, sportswear and more. A bespoke garment represents the peak of exclusive style, and clients can request details that ensure a genuinely unique and original look. For Brioni, fitting is much more than just taking measurements. The customers are observed in their posture, movements, and their inherent, day-to-day style. A Brioni su misura tailor applies rare skills of observation and sensitivity, developing a discreet relationship with the customer. All this enables the client to personalize and improve his wardrobe.
 

The name Brioni was selected in 1945 by a small-scale tailor, Nazareno Fonticoli, originating from Penne in Abruzzo and working in Rome, in partnership with businessman Gaetano Savini. His intention was to create an iconic brand expressing timeless Italian style, and so he chose a name that not only referred to the lovely archipelago on the coast of Istria, but one that had been associated with the sport of polo for twenty years. The Brioni Polo Club had been founded in 1924, the first Italian club, and it was the perfect expression of men's refinement. The Brioni revolution began in 1952, when the company was the first to put men's fashion onto the catwalk. Two years later, Brioni had conquered the United States and more specifically the world of Hollywood. In 1957, there was another significant change. Brioni, specializing in formal dress for men, added touches of colour, above all in a series of dinner jackets: the Hess collection. 1958 saw an early example of diversification, well before the concept became a standard marketing feature: Brioni introduced a fragrance named "Good Luck," a classic cologne that expressed the energy and refinement of those years.

1960 saw the hand-tailoring business take a major step towards an industrial dimension, with the launch of the Brioni Roman Style factory, in Penne, Abruzzo, where 45 tailors and seamstresses helped construct the brand's unique identity. Traditional tailoring techniques were combined with modern production techniques and organization, while garment design was propelled into the future by concepts well ahead of their time. These became unashamedly experimental in the 1970s, with some remarkable styles reflecting the dramatically rapid changes in society. Menswear began to incorporate not just colour, but also new combinations and accessories. Brioni developed the total look concept, extending its range to include accessories and ties. The company also pioneered communications techniques, commissioning great illustrators with the task of expressing the brand's vision of fashion. Brioni also launched the first house-organ in the history of fashion, named Men's Fashion Register.

As Brioni extended and consolidated its prestige position in the field of sophisticated menswear, in 1985 the company risked running into a major problem. Its oldest crafts people were reaching pension age, and this put a question mark over continuity of production. Finding tailors and seamstresses who could work at the high standards of skill necessary for Brioni's products would have been impossible, and so the company took a characteristically radical approach. They founded a tailoring school, the Scuola Superiore di Sartoria Nazareno Fonticoli, where young students could learn all about traditional tailoring and the techniques involved in the 220 steps required for the manufacture of a Brioni garment. By the mid 1990s, the factory had expanded to 700 employees, and the brand had over 300 stores world-wide. The company expanded its activities by acquiring the shirt brands Burini and Ciceri, and the leatherware brand Sforza. In 1995, the marque celebrated its 50th anniversary by opening a boutique on 57th Street in New York. Later developments include the launch of the women's collection.

Brioni now has 67 sales outlets worldwide, amongst which two recent openings in China. The Beijing boutique is in the China Central Place shopping centre, and the 220 square metre space highlights both men's and women's collections. The marque's boutique in Shanghai is at Hotel Peninsula, overlooking the Bund, and it features men's collections. Both stores express the exclusive Brioni concept, with interiors in timber, bronze and leather created by its in-house architects.

Today, Brioni is universally recognized as one of the most prestigious men's luxury brands in the world. This positioning reflects the company's heritage of experience in materials and finish, and the personality that it expresses in its design. The company CEO is now Andrea Perrone, grandson of Gaetano Savini, one of the two company founders. The marque is constantly aware of its roots and mission, and the continuous process of renewal has always been performed while preserving its unique identity. The same approach is now applied to its fashion garments for women, making it a complete universe of sophistication. The marque confirmed its links to its origins by maintaining its connection with polo, organizing three editions of the Brioni Polo Classic and taking part in the Cartier Polo World Cup on Snow at St. Moritz, winning in 2007 and 2008.

Its brilliant concept of creating a style and tailoring school has led to cooperation with the Royal College of Art in London as part of their Menswear Fashion Design Course. And its unique prestige and quality has been transferred, in the form of textiles and interiors, to the world of hoteliery in the Brioni Suite on the top floor of the Four Seasons in Milan.
 
Today, Brioni is also a fragrance for men, combining scents of Italy – bergamot, lemon, lavender, verbena – with exotic essences such as nutmeg, galbanum, patchouli, vetiver, tonka and oak moss. The result is as sophisticated and cosmopolitan as its fashion garments.

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