FROM THE GROUND UP

The Italian label Barbanera burst on to the sartorial scene as a shoemaker that blended refinement with a rock ’n’ roll philosophy. Now these three dashing upstarts are taking the next step: applying their DNA to ready-to-wear apparel. The results, as evidenced in these pages, are exceptional…

  • fashion director Sergio Guardi

  • by Nick Scott

  • photography Francesco Romeo

Left to right: Sergio wears: The Bordeaux FDP Italian corduroy shirt; blue pinstripe VBC x Barbanera Trinity trousers; brown VBC x Barbanera wool Jesse vest; Stendhal snakeskin printed leather boots; leather jacket and hat, his own. Alessandro wears: Grey VBC x Barbanera herringbone wool Harlock double-breasted military coat: black cotton 12.5oz Japanese selvedge denim jeans; black vintage calfskin Cash boots; hat, his own. Sebastiano wears: blue corduroy shearling-lined Bud trucker jacket; blue pinstripe Japanese denim Jesse vest; FDP light denim western shirt; light brown corduroy Bronson trousers; dark brown kudu waxy leather Gattuso loafers.

There is a time-honoured adage — indeed, one of the oldest in the English language, dating back to the mid-16th century — that insists you can’t teach an ageing canine neoteric methodologies. Try telling that, though, to the trio of young, dashing entrepreneurs — brothers Sergio and Sebastiano Guardì, plus Alessandro Pagliacci — who in 2011 founded Barbanera as a start-up (and upstart) shoemaker rooted in Italian artisanal tradition that is open to external influences and possesses a healthy soupçon of youthful ‘attitude’. Since then Barbanera have been plundering the cultural high seas for inspiration (‘Barbanera’ is Italian for ‘blackbeard’, aptly enough), and not always sartorial ones — the brothers’ father and his love of art and antiques is one; rock and psychedelic music is another (Sergio has trodden the rock ’n’ roll stage boards in the past).

Now, to the delight of sartorial connoisseurs who value the postmodern-slash-traditional dichotomy that has become the Barbanera USP, the brand has broadened its repertoire into ready-to-wear garments, as showcased by the triumvirate themselves on these pages. “We started with shoes, and they’re our first ‘crush’, but we’re not just shoemakers,” Sergio tells The Rake. “From the beginning the idea was to create a brand and express our idea of style, our unique concept and mood, with 360-degree vision and in a way that bypasses the usual distinction between classic menswear and fashion. Also, we realised our customers and others not only appreciated our shoes but our broader style, and we started to get requests, so this step was a natural progression. The same core philosophies — 100 per cent Made in Italy, high quality, no compromise, infused with our influences and inspirations — apply in the ready-to-wear clothing as in the shoes. Sometimes we joke about the fact that we are a mixture of classic and badass, or ‘badassic’!”

Published

December 2019

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