With their long hair and deep dark eyes, it’s not that much of a stretch for Sicilian brothers Sebastiano and Sergio Guardì to have chosen a British pirate to become the emblem of their fashion venture. They even named their luxury men’s footwear brand Barbanera, the Italian translation for Blackbeard.

This story first appeared in the March 23, 2016 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“We started from traditional constructions to create a line of shoes, which can span from hypertraditional to crazy and eccentric,” said Sergio Guardì, who oversees design and production. “We wanted to disconnect footwear from rigid rules and give life to something reflecting our passions and lifestyle.”

Among the signature styles are “Gatsby,” a two-tone brogue that mixes different materials; “Kerouac” is a lace-up ankle boot, and “Ruskin” is a zippered boot.

Barbanera, which the Guardìs created with two other Milanese brothers — Filippo and Alessandro Pagliacci — has also collaborated with Michael Bastian and Eidos. The shoes, which retail for around $600, are sold in about 30 stores globally, including Barneys New York.



A look from Sergio and Sebastiano Guardi’s foot-wear brand Barbanera.  SIMONE LEZZI