Brioni 1945

Brioni, Italian menswear atelier

Brad Pitt x Brioni

Brioni Menswear Tailor‘s Shop was founded in Rome in 1945 with the name of Atelier Brioni. Brioni is an Italian menswear company owned by the French holding company Kering. It was founded in Rome in 1945. The company grew, transformed, and expanded in the 1960s by opening a factory, Brioni Roman Style, in Abruzzo, in Penne, the birthplace of one of the two founders, Nazareno Fonticoli, and creating the first sartorial atelier structure organized with an industrial system. Its sign was Brioni Roman Style. After more than half a century of life, it’s a company that produces several lines and continues to make tailor-made clothes in single-brand stores around the world from New York to Milan.

Italian sartorial tradition

From the beginning, everything was due to the resourcefulness of Fonticoli, a master tailor from Abruzzo, and of Gaetano Savini, a Roman designer, who decided, after the Second World War, to revive and flourish the Italian tailoring tradition for men. As a child, Fonticoli, while attending elementary school, sewed trousers by the piece, at the rate of one a day, to help the family. He emigrated to Rome and became a master cutter at Satos, a shop on the Roman Via Del Corso. There he met Savini, who was in charge of sales and customer relations: today he would be defined as a marketing man. We don’t know who convinced the other. Probably Gaetano won against Nazareno’s reluctance to the limelight.

The Brioni tailoring workshop opened

Brioni tailoring

Together, in 1945, they opened a tailoring workshop for men via Barberini and called it Brioni, from the name of the Dalmatian Island that had been all the rage between the two wars and had become synonymous with elegance, sweet living, and dandyism. They had an almost immediate success that found two extraordinary propellants. The first was the relaunched internationality of Rome, especially through the landing of the great American productions in Cinecitta. In this context, the attention of a monthly magazine that dealt with the changing of costumes and fashions was caught.

Giovanni Battista Giorgini and Made In Italy

In the issue of November 1958, a correspondent wrote: “The most surprising phenomenon of post-war men’s fashion is the emergence of Italy as the main center of sartorial influence worldwide. Rome has taken the place of London as a mecca for those who want to dress well”. The second propellant was the launch of “Made in Italy” triggered by the invention of Giovanni Battista Giorgini, that of a first absolutely Italian creative fashion show, no longer a subject of Paris. It took place in February 1951 in Florence.

Brioni and the Fontana sisters

Already in January 1952, in Giorgini’s third “Italian High Fashion Show”, Brioni’s clothes went hand in hand with those by Simonetta, the Fontana sisters, Germana Marucelli, Jole Veneziani, Noberasco, Schuberth and by Carosa. The “buyer” of the US department store B. Altman & Co on New York’s Fifth Avenue noticed this and exhibited the Brioni shantung tuxedos in its windows. A few months later, in a fiery July, the catwalk of the Sala Bianca of Palazzo Pitti, which will become an icon in the history of Italian fashion, hosted, during the fourth “Italian High Fashion Show”, the first men’s collection fashion show. It was Brioni’s collection, that from that moment became part of the pioneers of the “made in Italy”. Since then, in a quarter of a century, Brioni, as a tailor’s shop and as Brioni Roman Style, has been the protagonist of over 400 fashion shows in 48 countries around the world.

Life calls Brioni “Men’s Dior”

In 1955 an article on Life defined Brioni as “Men’s Dior“. The New York Times spoke of him as the inventor of a “new male look” and the Boston Herald as the leader of a “second Italian Renaissance”. In the 80s, while the tradition of tailoring as a profession was drying up, the Brioni Roman Style company founded a cutting school with four-year courses for the training of master tailors in Penne.

Improvement of working hours

It was a big investment not only of money but of ideas because it meant setting up a school that, recovering a tradition, also took into account the now twenty-year business culture of Brioni Roman Style. The latter had modernized those roots and, in those two decades, while maintaining manual skills as a compass (regarding the design, the cutting of the fabric, the preparation points, the basting, the hems, the sewing of the buttons, the finishing) had succeeded to spend from 45 to 20 hours for the “construction of a suit”, perfecting the subdivisions of work according to the aptitudes of the individuals, selecting the staff and fine-tuning the system.

Brioni won the 1988 Pitti Prize


Twenty hours against an average of 2 and a half to 3 hours in the tailoring industry, which says a lot about the sartorial content of the Brioni suit. In 1988, Brijuni was awarded the Pitti Prize, for their contribution to the development of Italian fashion in the world. In 1990, after the acquisition of a series of factories and production companies, the Brioni Group was born, consisting of eight factories employing 1700 people. The half-century of life was celebrated in Florence, on the occasion of Pitti Uomo, with a large retrospective exhibition set up at Palazzo Corsini. In 1995, the atelier was commissioned to create the clothes for the new James Bond actor, Pierce Brosnan. It was just the latest of the many actors, artists, and politicians who had chosen the Brioni-tailored suit. Clark Gable, John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Totò, Robert Wagner, Severino Gazzelloni, Nelson Mandela. In the last part of the 90s, the average consolidated turnover of the Group, led by the CEO Umberto Angeloni, was 100 million euros

The first women’s collection, spring/summer 2001.

Women’s collection F/W 2011-12

Launch of the first women’s collection on the spring/summer 2001 catwalk.
A women’s boutique was inaugurated in Milan, via del Gesù. In September Brioni Donna also opened in Rome and New York between 67th and 57th Street. The first men’s store was inaugurated in Tokyo, in the Ginza district.
At the Düsseldorf Motor Show, it received the European Fashion Diamond, an award that Ingedo Company had been awarding since 1989 to companies and professionals who stood out for performance and management. The twentieth film of the 007 series was released. James Bond.’s clothes are always made by Brioni.
In 2002 brand closed the financial year with a consolidated turnover of 157 million euros. Exports are 80 percent. The United States is the first market.
Always at the forefront of industrial “made-to-measure”, Brioni opened in Milan, via del Gesù, a real artisan tailor’s shop, with ten workers and cutters. There are 23 single-brand stores worldwide.

Brioni’s rebirth

In 2011 brand was acquired by the French group PPR, a leader in the luxury goods sector, and was renamed Kering. The years to come were a difficult path of change for Brioni, which had to struggle to find a way to reinvent itself, in a landscape where urban and casual fashion was becoming popular among young people, replacing the classic suit. During the transition, Francesco Pesci was appointed CEO. In June 2012 Brendan Mullane became the creative director. The new Brioni image reworks the classic and stands out for its essential cut, comfortable lines, and never-constrictive elegance. The new Brioni style uses innovative elements such as the insertion of white silk, a new palette of unusual colors such as mint green, hand-painted fabrics, and Kimono.

Brioni Eau de Toilette

Eau de toilette

In 2014 the brand also launched Brioni Eau de Toilette. Gianluca Flore took Pesci’s place as CEO and in March 2016 he appointed Justin O’Shea as the new creative director, who with his stylistic choices tried to conquer a new range of customers but left his role after just six months. In March 2017, Fabrizio Malverdi became the new CEO of Brioni and appointed Nina-Maria Nitsche as creative director. She gave new life to the historic brand. The following year, however, Nina-Maria Nitsche left the brand: her style was described as elegant but “too confident”. In October 2018, the Austrian designer Norbert Stumpfl took her place, introducing a dress with a more minimal design, focusing everything on sumptuous fabrics. Cashmere, silk, vicuña, and suede are popular in the new collections, creating an informal atmosphere. In 2019, the brand named Mehdi Benabadji as CEO of Brioni.




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