Lubiam may be celebrating its centennial, but the company’s story can actually be traced back more than 100 years—to 1898, when 16-year-old Luigi Bianchi left his home in Mantova, Italy, to learn tailoring in Turin. When he returned, in 1911, he opened his own made-to-measure clothing shop. The place caught on—Edward, Prince of Wales, ordered an entire wardrobe—and later, in 1939, Bianchi introduced the Lubiam label, which is based on an acronym: LUigi BIAnchi Mantova.
This story first appeared in the June 20, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Now, to mark its 100th anniversary, Lubiam has big plans for Pitti Uomo. From June 14 to 17, the company—still run by the same family—will present an exhibition and multimedia event, entitled One Hundred Years, in the Limonaia building in the Villa Vittoria gardens next to the Florence trade show. A party is slated for the opening night.
Lubiam, which has been exporting to the U.S. since the 1960s, reports sales of about 40 million euros, or $57 million at current exchange—a number that the family’s fourth generation plans to increase significantly. Andrea Benedini, international export manager, notes that the collection has been expanded and updated. Although it still includes traditional made-to-measure tailored clothing, the family has added unconstructed sport coats and fresh sportswear to give the collection “a more contemporary look.”
Benedini aims to increase sales in the U.S. by 50 percent this year (“America has to become more important,” he says), but the anniversary initiatives aren’t focused solely on business. Lubiam recently built a new kindergarten for its employees’ children to celebrate the 100 years it has operated in Mantova. “My great-grandfather and grandfather always wanted to spend money on the Lubiam families,” Benedini says. “That is the spirit of the company.”