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Italian suit-maker unveils collection and VIP showroom.

Summary: Imagine yourself walking down the sizzling, colorful streets of 1950s Cuba. Brioni, the Italian fashion house specializing in handmade men's clothing.

BEIRUT: Imagine yourself walking down the sizzling, colorful streets of 1950s Cuba. Brioni, the Italian fashion house specializing in handmade men's clothing, transported Beirutis back to the magic of old Havana Thursday night, revealing the brand's latest collection and new, luxury VIP room.

The Daily Star sat down with the CEO of Brioni, Francesco Pesci, to discuss the 60-year-old brand's process, the importance of the Middle Eastern market and latest trends in men's suits at their revamped showroom in Beirut's Grand Hotels District.

Q: Why did you decide to open this VIP showroom -- Brioni's largest in the Middle East -- in Beirut?

A: Beirut is an exceptionally sophisticated market, probably the most sophisticated market in the Middle East. And Lebanon, in a way, is not a new market for Brioni. We have been around here for 30 years. The VIP room, from a conceptual point of view was created especially for the made to measure service, so it is a place where a customer can sit down, and with the help of the sales associate, you can understand how to build your wardrobe with Brioni.

Q: How important is the Middle East market for Brioni?

A: It is a very important market because the luxury market in the Middle East is a rich market. I think that in the Middle East, and Lebanon in particular, there is a strong appreciation for high quality, luxury products. I don't think that people here buy a brand just because of the name, I think people understand what the brand is about and they appreciate the quality that brand is able to deliver.

Q: What are the characteristics of the Brioni brand?

A: The quality of a Brioni suit is the quality of its make and the tailoring process. Brioni back in 1959, had the revolutionary idea to split the manufacturing process of our tailor shop into 186 distinct manufacturing phases. The company achieved two goals: the first one was to reduce the length of the working process, but the second goal was more important, which was to achieve total consistency among different, regular sizes. The company was, in a way, able to industrialize the tailor process without compromising on quality at all.

Q: What are themes of the new collection inspired by 1950s Cuba?

A: The idea was to bring color, summer, warmth, a little bit of excitement and passion to the collection -- lightness and brightness. We also are using a new model called "piuma," the Italian word for feather. It's as light as a feather and the lightest ever jacket that Brioni has ever produced. Tailoring very often is associated with being stuffy, but it's the other way around.

Q: You've brought Brioni's chief master tailor Francesco Marrone to Beirut. What is the training process for your tailors and what makes one a master tailor?

A: You need to join our tailoring school at the age of 14 or 15. [Students] have to attend our school for four years and then they have to do another year of apprenticeship. Then you are judged as a candidate to become a master tailor. Many of our students become section chiefs in charge of one single manufacturing phase. Not all of them can be a master tailor.

Q: What are the current trends in men's suits?

A: The current trend is having a two-button, single-breasted jacket. Everybody says that big lapels are very much a trend of the moment. Also, lightness and light shoulders. [Suits should be] close-fitting on the hips, so not square-like but more silhouette shaped. The length now tends to be shorter as well.

For an appointment with chief master tailor Francesco Marrone contact the Brioni Boutique at 01-993-029 by March 17.

Copyright 2012, The Daily Star. All rights reserved.

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Publication:The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)
Article Type:Interview
Geographic Code:5CUBA
Date:Mar 17, 2012
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