Why is Italy so inextricably linked with stylishness? Does it go back to the Apennine Peninsula’s role as the cradle of the Renaissance? To elite Florentine families such as the Medicis, whose appearance, identity and status were part of the same package? Or does the story begin more recently, in the post-war years, with Giovanni Battista Giorgini, the aristo-entrepreneur who, realising the potential that quality apparel exuded in Italy’s war-ravaged economy, curated designs from tailors and dressmakers such as Pucci, the Fontana sisters and Capucci — and then staged the first catwalk for foreign buyers at his home in Florence?
Luigi Cordone Jr., who today runs the company his grandfather founded in 1956 with his sister, Virginia, believes there is another force at work: the role of family in Italian culture. “I believe the influence of a family firm is very important for this type of job, where there are different roles to develop — the most important of which is to create unique products for our customers,” he tells The Rake. “The group in our firm is fundamental; I talk very often to my employees about their family dynamics. In fact, I believe that a person who collaborates with us doesn’t just come to work and produce, but also to share positivity and well-being, in order to create a good environment for all.”
The post-war Italian scene that Battista Giorgini spawned — immortalised on celluloid by Gregory Peck’s Joe Bradley in Roman Holiday and Marcello Mastroianni’s Marcello Rubini in La Dolce Vita — is another major factor in the company’s character, Luigi believes. “The company being born in the era of ‘la dolce vita’ has influenced us a lot,” he says. “They were years in which style was very important for those who could afford it. My father always tells me that my grandfather, the founder of the company — who never came out without a coat and even a hat — always took him to the local tailor. Obviously over the years everything has evolved, and with it also the Cordone 1956 style. ‘Made in Italy’ as a concept still resonates today as a unique concept because the people who produce it are unique. We Italians have a rich history in the production of clothing, which has contributed to the creation of style itself. There are also top-level, quality companies outside Italy, but people do not forget history.”