LONDON — Brioni is set to give London’s Royal College of Art—whose alums range from David Hockney and Philip Treacy to Tracey Emin—a dash of Roman sartorial flair.
The legendary Roman tailor has formed a three-year, academic partnership with the RCA to teach master’s degree candidates in men’s wear fashion design about the nuances of handmade tailored clothing.
Each year Brioni plans to send one of its master tailors to London to teach alongside the RCA professors and tutors, while students will spend a week each February working at Brioni’s tailoring academy in Penne, in the central Italian region of Abruzzo.
Brioni will also sponsor a prize at the end of each academic year for the student who best interprets a classic Brioni design.
During the first year the program will focus on formal and eveningwear, while the focus of the following years has yet to be decided.
“We are so proud and excited to have been chosen by the Royal College,” said Antonella De Simone, co-chief executive of Brioni, during an interview last Wednesday at the RCA. “For us, it means another link between British and Italian tailoring.” The Royal College’s past partnerships have included Umbro, Evisu, Levi’s and John Galliano.
Brioni first showed its collection in London in 1959; it brought bright colors, lightweight fabrics and more-comfortable cuts to the pre-Swinging ’60s town that was still in love with its stiff, gray pinstripe suits and Prince of Wales checks.
De Simone also said England has always been an inspiration to the brand: Brioni owns a host of outfits that once belonged to the Duke of Windsor, and dressed James Bond in the last five films. “England is the home of men’s tailoring—all of its language and vocabulary come from here.”
Sir Christopher Frayling, rector of the Royal College of Art, said Brioni would provide students with “the highest standards” of technique and craft in tailoring. “This [collaboration] could have a big influence on the future of British men’s wear,” he said.
Andrea Perrone, co-chief executive of Brioni, said he’s particularly interested in giving the RCA’s men’s wear students a fresh outlook. “Today, everybody wants to become a fashion designer—it’s an inflated business,” he said. “No one actually says they want to become a ‘master tailor,’ but a master tailor is no longer an old man who’s been sewing all his life. Today, he or she is a business manager, a consultant—and a confidant—who moves in a certain level of society. It’s a person who knows that tailoring isn’t about luxury—I think that word is overused—but about excellence.”