The Trussardi story is rather different from other lifestyle brands. It is the story of a family hallmarked by an enviable capability not only of keeping abreast of the latest developments in fashion and society, but of staying several steps ahead of the competition. Over the decades, Trussardi have consistently anticipated trends that would later – sometimes much later – become a constant feature of the industry, such as a unique and unifying logo, the flagship store concept, fashion shows open to the general public, diversification into other fields such as industrial design, the arts and entertainment, and environmental sensitivity. The Trussardi story dazzles with countless remarkable successes, accompanied by a resolute determination to close ranks and continue in the face of the inexorable hand of destiny, which has, on occasions, been desperately harsh.
The origins of the Trussardi Group run back to 1911, with Dante Trussardi in Bergamo. Dante was a creative craftsman who expressed his talent by making top-quality leather gloves. He developed new methods of working leather and textiles, and over the space of a few decades, he had brought the company to a prestige position in the international accessories market, winning awards that included the accolade of official supplier to the British royal family.
In the late 1960s, Dante's grandson Nicola took over at the helm of the company, and transformed it into an industrial group, diversifying production and embracing the concept of fashion, applying it to their production of luxury accessories. Nicola's idea was to create a lifestyle brand that could give a unique style to all aspects of everyday life. The company's heritage of skill in leather working was utilized to fuel innovations in the area of handbags, luggage accessories, leather jackets and other accessories.
The famous greyhound in fact dates to 1973, and it was the first time that a fashion house had adopted a symbol used to identify all its products. The greyhound was chosen for its image of speed, dynamism, refinement and sophistication. Nicola Trussardi opened the first Trussardi boutique in Milan in 1976 (in Via Sant'Andrea, still today the group's flagship). The 1978 Lifestyle collection comprised table accessories and personal objects made in burr walnut and silver.
In the 1980s, Trussardi expanded on their experience of leather jackets and moved into the area of fashion garments, creating men's and women's collections. The first show was held in 1983 at Teatro alla Scala in Milan. In years in which fashion shows were restricted to a small number of professionals in order to perpetuate an aura of secrecy and elitism, Trussardi opened its fashion shows to the general public, and even held runway shows outdoors, such as the historic autumn-winter women's collections in 1984, showcased on a stage in Piazza del Duomo, Milan. Other collections in the same year were presented at the art galleries PAC and the Triennale.
The company further diversified by worked with important Italian companies on industrial design projects, such as the restyling of aircraft interiors for Alitalia, and product design for Garelli, Agusta and Alfa Romeo. They created costumes for theatre, and enlisted director Dario Argento's help in staging the Trussardi Action fashion show at Castello Sforzesco in Milan. In 1986, Trussardi launched Palatrussardi, a multi-purpose venue in Milan that was used to host many memorable events, such as Frank Sinatra's last concert in Italy.
Its diversification continued, with jeans, home products, baby and junior wear, eyewear and perfumes. It took the same long-sighted approach to distribution, opening boutiques in the new markets of Eastern Europe, Asia and the Middle East, plus Hong Kong, Moscow, Taiwan and Tapei. In 1996 the group inaugurated Palazzo Marino alla Scala in Milan, the first flagship building in the world. It was not just a fashion showroom, but also an exhibition space, a café, bookshop and restaurant, over the space of six sumptuously-furnished floors. Trussardi now distributes its products worldwide with over four hundred retail points of sale (in Italy, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and the United States).
Beatrice Trussardi, CEO from 2002, marks the fourth generation of the family. She took the bold step of simplifying the company's brand structure, with just three fashion brands: Trussardi 1911 for luxury fashion, Tru Trussardi for casual wear, and TJ Trussardi Jeans. These are accompanied by Trussardi Levriero for leather garments and accessories, eyewear and perfumes. Trussardi 1911 is the brand that best expresses the Trussardi style. Trussardi 1911 garments are distinctive and stylish, and these characteristics are based on superb materials and state-of-the-art design. The result is head-turning clothing that is nonetheless remarkably discreet and eminently wearable, corresponding to the company's mission: making people's lives more attractive, exciting and stimulating.
In a way, Trussardi's fashion style reflects its family traditions, based on solidity and values. The same characteristics can be seen within the Group, which, though a massive concern, operates in the same way as a family, with close-knit internal cooperation amongst the community of professionals, from the craftspeople making the products by hand, right through to the management staff responsible for guiding the group through its complex international projects. It is hallmarked by an all-encompassing eco-sensitivity, which spreads right through the company, from Beatrice Trussardi herself, who is personally involved in research projects finalized for a better future for all, to policies such as the use of hybrid cars, preferring conference calls instead of air travel, and constant savings of paper. Trussardi's buildings are all designed for energy saving, eco-compatibility and optimum material recycling.
The Trussardi Group's advanced sense of social responsibility includes culture, above all art, with the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi, and cuisine, with the Ristorante Trussardi alla Scala and Cafè Trussardi. Fondazione Nicola Trussardi, whose artistic director is Massimiliano Gioni, has repeatedly brought the company name to the headlines. Memorable events include an installation in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, in which a car and caravan appeared to have burst out through the mosaic-covered floor, in an installation by Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset. The leitmotif of the Foundation's work is making contemporary art readily available to the public, utilizing venues accessible to all and outside conventional gallery spaces.
The penchant for irony that can be seen in the art events that it sponsors can also be detected in some elements of its fashion. The Trussardi bicycle launched in April 2010 is a tongue-in-cheek reinterpretation of the classic women's bike, with one of the season's motifs, military camouflage, on the saddle, handle-bar bag, rear-wheel cladding and rear bag.
All in all, the Trussardi story is one of constant, pioneering innovation. One characteristic feature in which Trussardi have remained inextricably linked to the past is delocalization, or rather the lack of it. Trussardi products are 100% made in Italy. And this, in the year 2012, is an amazing achievement.