The Elegance of the Individual
The origins of the Luciano Barbera brand can be traced to an iconic Saxony windowpane suit, which appeared in an issue of L’Uomo Vogue in 1968. The model was none other than Luciano himself, and the fabric was a product of Carlo Barbera, his family’s mill. Murray Pearlstein, legendary retailer of Louis Boston fame, took notice of the photograph and made the trek to Biella, Italy to hunt down the man in the windowpane suit. When the two men finally met, Pearlstein encouraged Barbera to draw upon his relaxed, elegant style to create his own collection. The first pieces of Luciano Barbera came to life in 1971.
In short order, the brand would become known for its quality fabrics, iconic color and garment combinations, and impeccable construction. As the world of fashion continued to evolve, Barbera remained focused on creating clothing that he would wear himself, and avoided imposing any “rules” on the buyer. The subtle art of mixing of patterns and layers with jackets, trousers, shirts and other accessories are what the Barbera wearer has always been encouraged to explore. There is a level of integrity which the brand has maintained in support of the personalities wearing the collection.
A term Mr. Barbera often uses, and is now part of the beecroft & bull vernacular, is “sprezzatura.” In a literal translation, the word can mean “detachment”, but in this occasion it is more a “studied nonchalance” and facing the world with quiet confidence and sophisticated style. Never gaudy or slick, he prefers to make a more powerful statement through understatement. He and his clients are respectful of classic dress but are insistent upon making a personal statement, albeit a quiet one. “Luciano Barbera is the embodiment of ‘sprezzatura’. Despite his stature in the industry, I have never met a more humble, gracious and generous man”, says Craig Beecroft, who had the pleasure of dining with Mr. Barbera and his family in Florence (see final entry).
Today, Luciano Barbera holds steady as the epitome of timeless luxury and a celebration of Italian craftsmanship. This may come as a surprise to some, but they are one of only a few Italian brands that can still boast “Entirely Manufactured in Italy”. They view their work as an art form that has been handed down for generations. Their commitment to local construction is vital to ensure this centuries-old tradition of artistry in clothing. As one of the leaders in luxury apparel, they now offer an expanded assortment of sportswear and furnishings, and their handmade Made-to-Measure clothing rivals the best in all of Italy.
The Fall 2016 Collection is a continuation of their excellence. Inspired by the Alps surrounding Biella and the juxtaposition of color in nature, the collection is an affirmation of the Italian legacy of good taste, and a thoughtful and somber study in coolness and reserve. Barbera explores color tones and layered textures which acknowledge both the past and future. There is, and always has been, a British influence throughout (which is no surprise given Mr. Barbera’s studies at Oxford) and is freshened with Italian sensibility and innovation. The are the celebrated hallmarks of the Luciano Barbera brand and lifestyle.
Beecroft & Bull is proud to showcase the fall offering of Luciano Barbera during the month of October. Dates for our fall style events include:
Richmond - October 13th
Charlottesville - October 14th
Virginia Beach - October 15th
Our dinner with Luciano
Imagine taking your wife to Italy for your first ever buying trip to the fashion capital of the world…and your luggage gets lost. Worse yet, I had unwisely decided to suit case all of my sport coats, playing The Ugly American instead by wearing “comfortable clothing” on the red eye flight to Milan. “We’ll be fine!”
When we arrived in Florence for the Pitti Uomo trade show at the Fortezza da Basso, we learned we had been invited to dinner by none other than Luciano Barbera in three days time. “Three days?!…we’ll be fine!” Not. Day Three was now upon us and still no luggage. Luciano was very hip 80 year old, but he notoriously hated blue jeans, the only pant in my possession. Our date with Mr. Sprezzatura himself was looming and I had no sport coat and only the same gummy, grimy pair of jeans that I had slept in crossing the Atlantic. (Note: Mr. Barbera had already seen The Ugly American previously at our scheduled appointment.)
Horrified by the second (and more intimate) sartorial blunder that awaited us, we scurried through the streets of Florence in order to be properly attired. What we didn’t know was that Luciano had been advised of our distress. When we arrived at the trattoria, the Barbera family had all removed their coats and ties and had rolled up their shirt sleeves to put us at ease…molto simpatico! The evening was all smiles from that point forward. Luciano and his family were incredibly kind - they shared the list of their favorite restaurants in the ski village of Courmayeur (our next stop on our tour of Italy), and we even traded pictures of our dogs.
From hence forward, the man and the brand moved up several notches. I will also forever heed his advice: “If you travel, you need a fantastic blazer!” And I will fold it neatly in the overhead space, just in case.