Celebrating 75 years in menswear luxury and surviving tempestuous changes of fashion visions, the executive design director of Brioni, Norbert Stumpfl, is in firm control of the artistic helm. He finds his passion for fabrics as displayed at the recent Milan fashion week, another example of where the company’s style matches his character traits of a “serious quiet boy.”
“Fashion doesn’t always have to shout – you can whisper fashion. In Brioni, I don’t have to change myself at all. Before joining Brioni I was buying pieces for myself. I still have a white-sea island shirt and a grey turtleneck that I wear. So I was very much in sync to be offered the Creative Director position,” says Stumpfl. He was speaking at a webinar conference hosted by the Accademia Costume e Moda.
Brioni: Re-imagining business attire
As Kering’s only pure menswear brand, the Brioni Spring/Summer 2022 collection offers a reimagining of business attire through a versatile wardrobe of effortless silhouettes. New shapes inspire a relaxed approach to life, interwoven with an appreciation for the artisanal craftsmanship and fine quality tailoring.
“It’s about menswear at the highest level. It’s a lot about traditional craftsmanship. It’s a lot about making a man more beautiful. It’s not about shouting. It’s something anyone can wear who is interested in this style.”
Canada’s best luxury website: Fashion whispers and walks softly
For the past decade, under the trend towards streetwear and casual office, the brand had been struggling to redefine itself as younger clientele were driving away from traditional suits. Brioni’s brief experiment with radical reinvention ended in 2016 with the unceremoniously firing of the novice designer Justin O’Shea. That was followed by the ousting of Nina-Maria Nitsche the following year.
Stumpfl, an Austrian-born tailor, joined Brioni in 2018, making him the fourth replacement in five years. He has proven to have the winning formula: experience, education and energy.
“If you have designers every season, the clients are not going to trust you. It’s the clients who buy the pieces. You have to create a synergy with them. Our clients are not a fashion client. They are luxury clients.”
A cloud of extreme softness
“Brioni is for the modern man. A person who is confident in what he is doing. He doesn’t want to show off different brands and he doesn’t need a big logo.
Fashion always starts with innovation.
“The fabric gets more and more soft. The threads become finer and finer. They feel like silk and when you touch Brioni, it’s like “wow!” You always feel like you’re in a cloud of extreme softness.”
Fashion design that’s harmonious
“The design is quite minimal. As a designer, I don’t want to be seen. Nobody should see it was designed by a designer. It might be the opposite of everybody else because everybody wants to wear designer clothes. Our customer wants to put himself in the foreground. And my designs are there to create a shoulder line which is really harmonious. Sometimes our clients are 40, 50, 60- year-old men so they may have a little bit of a stomach. I have to create something that helps them in a kind of silhouette to make them look slimmer.”
“We are also proud when we see people wearing Brioni on the red carpet. The last time I was in L.A., Brad Pitt’s assistant said he wanted to talk to me and called me into his room. I was like, “Oh, my God. What did I do wrong? Then he (Brad) said, ‘I have to really tell you, since I’ve been wearing Brioni, I look good, but I feel incredible. I just wanted to say thank you.’ Coming from him, it’s incredible.”