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Jeff Griffin to Design Baracuta Blue Label

The designer likened the project to “making a cake,” blending Baracuta’s 77-year history with his own take on modern styling.

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Men'sWeek issue 01/09/2014

WP Lavori is now turning its attention to Baracuta.

Founded in Manchester, England, in 1937, Baracuta was acquired in 2012 by WP Lavori in Corso, a Bologna, Italy-based retailer and brand builder that also holds the worldwide license for Woolrich John Rich & Bros. and Woolrich Woolen Mills, and has Italian distributorship deals for Barbour and Blundstone. It also owns the BD Baggies label.

In a move intended to inject some innovation into Baracuta, WP Lavori has tapped Jeff Griffin to head up design and creative direction for its premium line, Blue Label. Baracuta’s more signature pieces are marketed under the Ivory Label.

Griffin attended the Central Saint Martins College of Art and spent his early years in Milan before returning to England to establish his own company, Griffin Laundry, in 1994. The label found a following with the art and fashion world with pieces such as a sleeping bag coat, and over the years, Griffin has designed for everyone from Kenzo and Hugo Boss to Mandarina Duck. He has also collaborated with Berghaus and Mackintosh, among others.

Griffin likened the project to “making a cake,” blending Baracuta’s 77-year history with his own take on modern styling. There are nine styles of jackets and coats in the first collection, and Griffin used British heritage fabrics such as Harris Tweed Scotland and a classic check from Butterworth & Roberts in Yorkshire. Baracuta is known for its casual outerwear jackets, including the G9, that were worn by Steve McQueen, Elvis Presley and others in its heyday.

For the styling, Griffin used military references and strong masculine silhouettes for reversible looks. “There’s a lot of humor in it,” Griffin said. “It’s fashion, it’s not supposed to be too serious.”

The collection will retail for 600 to 1,000 pounds, or $984 to $1,640 at current exchange, and Griffin said he hopes the line will appeal to “classic high-end stores.”

Baracuta is being shown at Pitti Uomo in Florence and then in WP Lavori’s showroom in Milan, before moving on to the Tranoï show in Paris.

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