MILAN — Trussardi is banking on a cool design duo to write the next chapter of the storied brand.
The Milan-based company has appointed Serhat Işık and Benjamin A. Huseby as new creative directors of the brand, tasked with overseeing all aspects of design, image and branding. Their first collection for Trussardi will bow for fall 2022.
Işık and Huseby are known for their own label, the Berlin-based GmbH, launched in 2016, and which they plan to continue to design.
Trussardi touted the designers’ commitment to inclusivity and their “socially engaged perspective.”
“Serhat and Benjamin bring a distinctive and powerful vision to Trussardi,” said chief executive officer Sebastian Suhl. “The team and I are profoundly excited to embark on this journey with them, in view of bringing a contemporary and responsible lifestyle experience to the market.”
In a statement, the designers said jointly that “Trussardi comes charged with pedigree and enormous untapped potential. We were drawn to the possibility of building a house anew.”
GmbH is rooted in underground club culture, but in January, reviewing the brand’s men’s fall 2021 collection, WWD said the designers played with gender boundaries, focusing on sensual necklines inspired by mid-century haute couture, and that the label was launching its first full range of vegan shoes and accessories. This was not the designers’ first steps into sustainability, which is a key element in their collections. For fall 2020, they presented looks that ranged from body-con knitted dresses with cutouts for women to off-the-shoulder ribbed tops for men and most fabrics were either recycled, organic or biodegradable. The leather jackets and coats, for example, were made of a corn-based material.
All of GmbH’s principally gender-fluid collections connect together into a larger narrative, involving both men and women, but in September 2018 GmbH introduced its first complete women’s wear line, with 22 looks.
Işık is a first-generation German of Turkish descent and Huseby, of Norwegian-Pakistani heritage, grew up in Norway. Işık, who had been teaching fashion at the university in Berlin, was making collections on a noncommercial basis. Huseby had been a photographer and artist, who as a child sketched fashion looks and made his own clothes as a teenager. Cultural mixes and a sense of otherness have informed GmbH, and the city and cultural scene of Berlin have also shaped their approach.
Last July, for their men’s spring 2021 collection, the designers screened the movie “A Season of Migration to the North,” a work by artist Lars Laumann that tells the story of gay activist Eddie Esmail, who was arrested while taking part in a fashion show in Sudan and subsequently sought asylum in Norway.
“It touches on everything GmbH is about: politics, migration, fashion and beauty, but also queerness,” Huseby said at the time. “Obviously, staging a fashion show in Sudan was clearly a very subversive political act. And I think that’s the beauty, that fashion isn’t only just about nice clothes.” Last year, GmbH was a finalist for the Woolmark Prize.
The appointment at Trussardi of Işık and Huseby is a sign that the owners are taking the Italian brand into a new direction.
Trussardi has not had a creative director since Gaia Trussardi’s exit in 2018. She joined the family’s business in 2011 as creative director of the Tru Trussardi younger brand. In March 2013, she succeeded Umit Benan Sahin at the helm of the Trussardi main line. Before tapping Benan Sahin in 2011, the Trussardi label was designed by creative director Milan Vukmirovic, who had joined the brand in 2007.
Following Gaia Trussardi’s exit, Trussardi launched the Archive+Now project in 2019, re-conceptualizing the heritage of the historic house, and curating a new edit with a modern perspective.
The first collaboration was with Giulia and Camilla Venturini, the designers behind the Medea handbag brand. That was followed by a partnership with Instagram account @Checking_Invoices and then with Giorgio Di Salvo’s brand United Standard. Last July the brand teamed with London-based artistic duo Fiona Sinha and Aleksandar Stanic, who developed a spring 2021 men’s and women’s collection that reinterpreted Trussardi’s signature style codes.
Trussardi has been going through some changes since Italian independent asset management company QuattroR, chaired by Andrea Morante and which specializes in corporate restructuring, took a controlling stake in the company in 2019. Tomaso Trussardi, son of the late Nicola, is chairman of the company, which was founded by his great-grandfather Dante in 1911.
Suhl joined Trussardi last October from Valentino, succeeding Maela Mandelli.
“QuattroR seeks to buy Italian companies that have a history, a glorious past, and sustainable brands that are facing financial difficulties or complex generational shifts, and that need a relaunch or a repositioning,” explained at the time of the acquisition Morante, who has longstanding experience as an investment banker and in fashion, and who is chairman of Sergio Rossi as well as a former CEO of Pomellato. “We choose the sectors in Italy where the industry is more present and competitive, such as consumer goods and fashion, which are interesting for the country.”
Morante said that QuattroR was especially interested in Trussardi given its relevance in shaping Made in Italy’s history and the luxury goods sector, and in particular he touted the foresight of Nicola Trussardi, Tomaso’s father.