Many of The Rake’s readers will already be familiar with Italian brand Barbanera. Run by brothers Sergio and Sebastiano Guardi and Alessandro Pagliacci since 2011, their unconventional ‘cowboy-pirate-in-a-three-piece-suit’ image has managed to work where it shouldn’t have, achieving cult status with those who once swore against anything lacking a notch-lapel.
Not that Barbanera really cared what people thought. They were too busy focusing on producing high-quality shoes and garments, all Made in Italy by a trusted team of artisans. But it paid off. Their image hit the world of tailoring like a stampede of buffalo. Suddenly, almost overnight, it became OK – quite cool, even - for us to wear denim shirts and rugged boots with our suit. The brand’s creative director, Sergio Guardi, pretty much redefined the Americana look (something that we were always impressed by, but a little unsure of ourselves to try), while remaining true to the flavours and virtues of Italian style and craftsmanship. ‘It’s about being versatile and open-minded’, Sergio begins, ‘today, a genuinely stylish man is comfortable wearing his beautiful bespoke suit during the day, but feels just at ease in his leather jacket, boots, and denim by night’.
Speaking with The Rake about his vision behind the newest collection, which you can now shop online, it seems that Barbanera is evolving. Retaining the same philosophy behind their shoes (‘Truth and Culture’), they are putting more focus on a gorgeously crafted RTW line. ‘We draw our inspiration, as always, from great cultural figures: those who changed the world in music, art, or cinema’. This is why you might recognise the names behind the garment; the Rimbaud, Kerouac, or Guttoso, for example – the types of items that properly evoke the subjects they take inspiration from. ‘Not Steve McQueen or Robert Redford’, Sergio says. ‘Our subjects influenced the times they were in for their vision, not people that everyone wants to be - or dress like’
One standout garment that Sergio is keen to talk about is their new shearling bomber jacket (‘with real shearling lining!’) constructed from the finest classic Vitale Barberis Canonico wool. It is an elegant looking piece, adapted with Barbanera’s Western palette (which also happens to be one of the trends-of-the-moment). ‘For this jacket, we replaced the typical normal buttons found on shearling bombers with real pearl snaps!’, he says. ‘Of course, there are also two large ‘Western’ front pockets, instead of the usual ones’. If you want a shearling bomber (and chances are, you do) Barbanera are producing an example that will certainly catch the eye of passing admirers.
‘It’s like our new pinstriped wool trousers’, Sergio continues. ‘Again, using VBS fabrics – always! – they are washed and felted, much in the way our favourite jeans are. This gives them that dandyish, poetical flair’, he says, ‘it’s our way of marrying our love for classic tailoring with the Americana/English vintage style we are known for’.