Brioni brand profile Featured

One of the most prestigious luxury brands in the world
by 12 October 2011

Imagine a gentleman who knows style and quality; someone who has great expectations of his daily attire and particularly during special occasions. Such a man gives us an impression of what Brioni is about. Named after the island of Brioni on the Adriatic Sea where elite sports like golf, horsemanship and polo were popular, the very name of the brand evokes an era of excellence.

Brioni was founded under extraordinary circumstances. In the 1950s and ‘60s, Rome became increasingly international with travellers and American cinema. It was also a time when people started to experiment with new fashion. Among the growing businesses in the region was Sartoria Brioni. A small atelier with just 20 tailors, its fame grew significantly as Hollywood stars championed the brand and brought the international spotlight to it. Brioni was born at the right time, in the right place, and with the right people. Today, over 400 master tailors work at its factory in Abruzzo.

Brioni now has 67 sales outlets worldwide. It 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 Brioni style today

The capospalla, which means coat in Italian, remains Brioni's signature item, whether it is the dinner jacket, formal suit, blazer, or sports jacket. Every Brioni boutique provides the gentleman his complete look, a one-stop-shopping concept that the brand pioneered in the 50s. Here, customers will find both spring/summer and autumn/winter collection with a wide variety of accessories to choose from. Every boutique also provides the brand's made-to-measure service.

Brioni in film

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.

Brioni su misura

In addition to its collections for men, 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 Brioni story

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.

The Brioni tailoring school

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.

Recent developments

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. Brioni confirms its links to its origins by maintaining its connection with polo. It has organized three editions of the Brioni Polo Classic and taken 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.

Further reading:
Find Brioni boutiques worldwide, with address and maps
Brioni men's spring summer 2012
Brioni men's fall/(winter 2011-2012
Brioni: a man's man, the fall/winter 2011-2012 collection
Brioni and the challenge of bespoke
Brioni, classic Italian tailorship
Brioni men's spring summer 2011 - refreshing notes of colour
Brioni spring summer 2011 - women's runway show
Brioni men's fall/winter 2010-2011