Fans of Alfredo Rifugio’s leather jackets have good company. If anyone has ever seen Pope John Paul II’s famous “White Jewel” jacket, worn with pride on his ski trips or hiking excursions, they might be surprised to learn that Mr Rifugio himself was commissioned to produce it on the suggestion of the Pope’s personal pilot.
This is quite an honour - particularly in Italy. There are few better advertisements for your craft than shielding God’s own spokesman (depending on your religious persuasion) from the perils of the piste. But Alfredo Rifugio has never really needed the endorsement. For over fifty years, he has been known as ‘the King of handmade leather jackets’ – Pope or no.