THE TALENTED MR. BENABADJI

Three-quarters of a century after Brioni were founded in Rome, the house offers a sartorial distillation of the Italian capital. How can the modern C.E.O. perform magic on gold? Over to Mehdi Benabadji…

Mehdi Benabadji, the Chief Executive of Brioni.

If Rome has a soundtrack — and this being a music-themed issue of a magazine that has a soft spot for the Eternal City, it’s an apposite point to consider — it might be considered Ottorino Respighi’s Pini di Roma. Those in search of a cinematic tribute, of course, need look no further than Fellini’s La Dolce Vita.

If it’s a sartorial toast to the Italian capital you’re after, though, look no further than a fashion house founded in 1945 by the master tailor Nazareno Fonticoli and his business partner Gaetano Savini, a luxury outfitter whose narrative milestones include holding the first ever men’s fashion show (at the Sala Bianca of Palazzo Pitti in Florence, in 1952) and the pioneering of the prêt-à-couture concept seven years later.

The sartorial footprint Brioni have established along the way is chronicled with relish in the newly released book Brioni: Tailoring Legends. Written by the fashion historian Olivier Saillard and prefaced by the novelist Bret Easton Ellis, it charts how Brioni became the go-to provider of apparel for “Nobel Prize winners, rap stars and heads of state”, to quote directly from its pages. The book, naturally, also explores a longstanding love affair with cinema, which culminated last year in a seven-piece capsule collection created in collaboration with Brad Pitt.

When Chief Executive Mehdi Benabadji joined Brioni at the start of 2020 — following stints at Louis Vuitton, Berluti and Hermès, as well as a period in marketing at Brioni as part of a longer tenure at its parent company, Kering — his mission was to irradiate the house’s lustre during a challenging era.

We found Benabadji more than willing to expound on how he approaches the task.

Contributor

Scott Harper

Published

April 2022

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