Icons / September 2019

Words of Wisdom: Luca Faloni

Luca Faloni’s eponymous brand showcases the finest craftsmanship and fabrics his native land has to offer. He speaks with us about his heritage, the pursuit of perfection, and his post-modern approach to the ancient language of luxury menswear. 

Turin-born Luca Faloni’s eponymous company was born of frustration: his inability to get beautifully cut clothes, made of the finest materials, consistently and at a reasonable price. Now, the brand he founded in 2014 has garnered a reputation for the fastidious sourcing of materials from his native Italy — full grain leather from Santa Croce; linen from the country’s ancient mills; fine-yarn cashmere from Cariaggi; brushed cotton from Grandi & Rubinelli — and tasking the nation’s best artisans, people whose skills have been passed down through generations, with turning them into beautiful menswear staples.

But there is more to this brand than unsurpassable raw materials and craftsmanship. Faloni is, by his own admission, borderline-paranoid when it comes to the finer points of a garment. “Detail is everything,” he tells The Rake as we settle into a conversation at his home in Notting Hill, and as Faloni tugs at the fawn, brushed cotton shirt he’s wearing today. “We have the Giglio stitching, which is like a flower; here we have a collar which has an internal construction that helps it stay up, so it looks nicer under a blazer. Most shirts, they have a band where the collar is attached — we have it all made from one piece. We even try to select colours in a way that makes sizing stay aligned — different colours wash differently, with some colours changing size two per cent more than others.”

As well as being immensely successful (Luca Faloni is on track to make $6m million revenue in 2019, up from $2m in 2018), it really is our kind of label, as became more apparent over the course of our discussion about Faloni’s unique style proposition. 

It all started because I couldn’t find the clothes I wanted. I’d lived in London for about eight years but always bought my clothes back in Italy, where I knew where to go. 

Intrigue was a major factor. I was working as a strategy consultant and was in San Francisco, around 2012, when I came across the direct-to-consumer model. Usually brands go to the factories and they produce something and then they have to sell to stores or to big retailers and apply all the mark-ups, so the consumers end up paying high prices. So I thought, maybe we could build a brand with a direct-to-consumer model and sell the products from Italy worldwide with services like free shipping, free returns and just a few designs. That’s our proposition. 

Our collection is built on staples. We don’t need new designs every year. Our job is to build a great shirt with good colour choices, then the next year we might remove some colours, add some colours, add another material. For instance, with shirts we started with linen, and when people liked them we thought, What can we do for the winter instead? We came up with brushed cotton. Then, people buying the winter and the summer shirts were saying, “Why don’t you also do Oxfords?” So we added those.

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