Luciano Barbera is an Italian fashion designer and tailor. He has been active for over four decades, and since its foundation the Luciano Barbera brand has become an international success.

Some History:
In 1950, Carlo Barbera, Luciano's father, founded Lanifico Carlo Barbera & Company, a manufactory of super-fine cashmere and wool textiles, at Biella, Italy. Luciano lived and worked there as a tailor, using only his father's products, running a small-time business making bespoke suits for a local clientele. In the early 1960s (the exact date and year is not known, even to Barbera), photojournalist Ugo Mulas visited the Barbera mill and photographed Luciano in a hand-made suit for L'uomo Vogue magazine. Over the course of a decade, Mulas's photographs were seen by renowned fashioniste and founder of Louis of Boston Murray Pearlstein, who was immediately interested in contracting Luciano for his services. Pearlstein contacted Luciano, and encouraged him to produce a line of men's clothing -- he knew he would have at least one customer. So in 1971, the Luciano Barbera Collection was released.

That's basically the end of the story. Luciano has been an enormous success ever since. In 1992 he started Barbera USA to better serve the American bespoke market, and in 2003 he opened his flagship shop in Milan. He has been recognized as the "Best of the Best" by Saks Fifth Avenue, and the prices that his clothing demands is proof of Luciano's trade superiority. He's still kicking today.

The Philosophy:
Luciano Barbera is notable for a few things: His astounding craftsmanship; his magnificent history; his classic Italian looks. But most notable about Luciano is his philosophy, his attitude. He is funky and willful -- his company's motto is "Clothing for people who believe in individuality and intelligence." But there's more.

Luciano says that one of his only guiding philosophies is that a man must always have "sprezzatura." Literally, "sprezzatura" translates out of Italian as "detachment," but Luciano says it's more. He says that it's subtlety, a low-key style that is part of a man's character, and not an accessory to it. Luciano professes that the only sort of cloth that a man cannot have too many of is the shirt (which he believes is a "triumph of modern life"), and that clothing needs to be practical. He hates vanity; he is very careful to tailor his suits to make shoulder and chest lines soft and natural, rather than vainly disproportionate. And he thinks that the trouser should just pass your ankle, without a break -- he doesn't want to see your socks, but he wants to see your shoes. Isn't he wonderful?

I'll leave you with a quote that, in my opinion, exemplifies the Barbera style:
"Everyone knows you wear wool in the winter, linen in the summer, and a straw hat from June 15th to Labor Day. Everyone is right. And therein lies the problem. Follow these rules and you will look like everyone else. Better that you display a little originality. On the gravest days of winter I put on my gray flannels, a cashmere tie in a sober color and my white linen jacket. The pants keep me warm. The tie gains me entrée into good restaurants. The blazer reminds me that summer will come again."


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