By  on September 20, 2007

Costume National is coming of age.

With a string of events and projects on tap, the Italian fashion house known for its street-cool tailoring is celebrating its 21st birthday. Some might consider it an unlikely anniversary to celebrate, but it is significant for Ennio Capasa, who founded the Milan-based fashion house in 1986.

"The number 21 and its reverse, 12, have coincidentally always been part of our history. I'm fascinated by this number, which in ancient times was considered the number of protection," said Capasa.

To prove the point, he reels off a list of dates: "I was born on March 12, my dad on April 12 and my brother Carlo on Jan. 21. Our showroom is at 12 Via Fusetti and our store in Milan at 12 Via Sant'Andrea."

In 2006, sales accounted for $138 million. The brand has six directly owned stores and is carried in such specialty stores as Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lane Crawford in Hong Kong and Harvey Nichols in London.

As part of the celebration, Capasa teamed with Alfa Romeo to design the interiors of a model called 147 C'N'C 21. C'N'C is the house's diffusion line, which was launched in 2004.

The car is being presented at the Frankfurt car salon.

A 246-page book called "Costume National 21" (Assouline) will be presented in Paris during fashion week and will be available on Amazon.com. The $166 tome is a recap of Capasa's fashion career through snapshots of his shows and images by Terry Richardson, Juergen Teller, Peter Lindbergh and Craig McDean.

The number 21 is also the name of the firm's unisex fragrance, launching by the end of the year, that is a heady mix of — you guessed it — 21 essences from milk to saffron, bergamot to patchouli.

Costume National Active is a limited edition celebratory sneaker that offers both artisanal workmanship and high performance. Made with napa, the shoe is adorned with tone-on-tone crocodile details and real silver hardware, and just hit the stores with a retail price of $650.

Born in Lecce, in the Apulia region, Capasa compares his fashion journey to a unique adventure begun at a time when financing wasn't as available, and at an age — 24 — characterized by a free spirit.

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