Craft / May 2018

Cordone 1956: Shirts of a Bygone Era

The quality of Cordone 1956’s shirts is a reflection of the era it was founded in – Italy’s golden age – which the house has been able to maintain more than half a century later.

As the company’s name makes plain, Cordone 1956 was founded in the mid-’50s, a decade after the end of World War II and Italy’s unification as a republic. At the dawn of the ‘Dolce Vita’ era, the country was at that point in the midst of its great ‘economic miracle’, with land and industrial reform leading to dramatically improved standards of living for many Italian people. Scarcity and austerity began fading in the memory. Once again, Italians could pursue their ancient passion for nice things.

Establishing his shirt-making business in the town of Aielli, in Abruzzo (situated in the lower calf area of Italy’s boot-shaped landmass), Luigi Cordone Sr. sought to provide his newly affluent countrymen with shirts of the highest quality, cut from the finest cloth and hand-sewn by seasoned artisans. In the many years since, that is precisely what Cordone 1956 has continued to do — although the shirtmaker’s market has expanded far beyond Italy’s borders, with two dozen retailers around the world and trunk shows regularly held in cities including London, New York, Paris, Athens, Zagreb and Moscow.

Luigi Cordone Jr, who today serves at the brand’s helm alongside his sister Virginia, says: “For us, it is a great responsibility to conduct a company with more than 60 years of history, a history made of people and passion for our job. We still produce our products as in the past, our co-workers are people who started this job with my grandfather and that makes our company a great family.”

Like so many in the Italian luxury sector, Luigi feels that a sense of family is core to a craftsmanship-focused business. “I believe that 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 says. "The group in our firm is fundamental; I talk very often to my employees of 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 wellbeing, in order to create a good environment for all.”

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Christian Barker

Christian Barker is The Rake's Asia editor-at-large, a frequent contributor to this site, and an enthusiastic consumer of fine whiskies, sashimi and classic disco music - ideally in unison.