While he formed half of a power couple and was a fixture of Milan society who helped build Italy’s ready-to-wear industry globally, former Krizia chairman Aldo Pinto‘s death in March was a quiet and private matter.
Pinto died in early March shortly after the death of his son, Andrea, from a brain tumor, and three months after his wife, designer and Krizia founder Mariuccia Mandelli. Pinto, 91, had been ill for several years.
“Given the circumstances, it was all kept very low-key and understated, with a small intimate ceremony for the family,” explained Mario Boselli, honorary chairman of the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana.
Pinto is survived by his brother, architect Piero Pinto, and his son, Silvio.
Boselli praised Aldo Pinto’s entrepreneurial and commercial expertise, which “actively contributed to support [Mandelli] and develop the brand.”
A textile entrepreneur, Pinto was born in Egypt and his Italian grandfather was a cotton trader. Pinto left Egypt under the Gamal Abdel Nasser regime and returned to Italy, where he met Mandelli in Milan.
After first opening a small fashion factory with a friend, Mandelli in 1954 launched the Krizia brand, which was named after a Plato dialogue on feminine vanity. She showed the collection for the first time at Palazzo Pitti in Florence in 1964. In 1968, Pinto married Mandelli in Jamaica. The marriage was made official only three years later in Milan.
Pinto was a pioneer in expanding the Krizia brand outside Italy, especially in Japan. In 2003, the Asian country was the company’s largest market, with 30 brand stores and 400 multibrand clients. The company entered China in 1994.
At its peak in the Nineties, Mandelli and Pinto had grown Krizia into a $500 million business, leveraging a string of licenses and a global network of stores. In the Eighties and Nineties, boutiques stood in top shopping streets around the world, including New York, Paris, Venice, London and Hong Kong, mainly designed by Piero Pinto. The architect also created the exhibition venue “Spazio Krizia” in 1985, located in Milan’s Via Manin, also home to the company’s headquarters. Mandelli and her husband helped promote the arts through this large multifunctional and multimedia space.
Long before other designers branched out into hotels, Pinto and Mandelli in 1989 opened the K Club in Bermuda. The exclusive resort was designed by Mandelli and became popular with celebrities including the Princess of Wales and Michael Douglas.
In 2014, Mandelli passed the baton after six decades in business, selling a controlling stake of Krizia SpA to Chinese fashion retailer Shenzhen Marisfrolg Fashion Co. Ltd., based in Shenzhen.