MILAN — Nicola Bardelle, fashion director of luxury brand Jacob Cohën, died on Friday in an accident.
Bardelle, who was 45, was hit by a car as he was driving his Vespa scooter from Cannes to Saint-Tropez, France.
The entrepreneur was in Saint-Tropez with his family — his wife, Jennifer, and their two infant children — following up on the opening of the brand’s first store, located in the famed resort town on the Cote d’Azur.
Denim was a family business for Bardelle, who relaunched the Jacob Cohën brand in 2003. His father, Tato Bardelle, dressed countless young teenagers with his hip Americanino and Outsider jeans in the Eighties here. Bardelle shared with his father a value for quality and longevity of product. The Bardelles have contributed to making the Veneto region one of Italy’s main denim hubs.
The Jacob Cohën brand had been trademarked by the Bardelles in 1985, but had been dormant until Nicola Bardelle thought to dust it off as an exclusive line, with sartorial jeans available in prestigious boutiques that also sold high-end products such as Acqua di Parma fragrances and Avon Celli cashmere.
“I wanted to be able to wear them with a beautiful blazer or a cashmere sweater,” said Bardelle at the time. In the first season, he sold 700 pieces. “The company was I [me],” he recalled. Just as his father had many years ago, he provided the fabrics to his mother’s facility for production and delivered the final products to the agents.
Bardelle, who was born in Cavarzere and lived in Padova, in the Veneto region, had gradually developed Jacob Cohën into a total-look and international brand, differentiating it through the use of precious fabrics, often the same employed for sartorial suits, handmade tailored pants, silver buttons and rivets and ponyskin labels. Innovative standouts included the brand’s first jeans made with a cashmere and denim blend.
A fan of Elliott Erwitt, Bardelle asked the famed photographer to revisit some of his iconic images for Jacob Cohën’s spring ad campaign, and photos from it were included in Erwitt’s Personal Best exhibition in Venice, which wrapped up last month.