Posted on August 23 2016
" An elegant man is always dressed perfectly for the environment he is facing." - Luciano Barbera
Biella, in the Northeast of Italy, is the home of the Luciano Barbera brand. The light in Biella is special. Hugged by mountains and landscaped with diverse flora; from tall evergreens to African palms and every variety of rose and herb. Biella appears as if born from a dream.
The centuries-old buildings of Biella are painted in rich tones of terracotta and yellow. Shutters in blue-green swing open onto alternating squares of weathered brick red, warm grey and slate blue cobble stones. The wild, natural foliage and landscaped gardens contain every hue of green, brilliantly punctuated by flowers in pink, soft purple, and warm red. An intense blue sky and indigo snow-topped mountains surround this picturesque Italian town.
Today Luciano Barbera is considered one of the best sartorial makes in Italy. Every Luciano Barbera item is Entirely Manufactured in Italy. From woven fabric to final stitch. This commitment to local production helps to ensure that the centuries-old tradition of artistry in cloth and the foundation of Italian style remains. This is notation on the label of each Luciano Barbera item serves as a guarantee that every item is truly Made in Italy along with all of the quality this distinction carries. With a brand like this, there is much to the imagination about the man who has built an Italian powerhouse in sartorial luxury such as this.
We begin with a great meeting with economist author David Segal & Mr. Luciano Barbera. It captures the day and the life of Mr. Barbera.
LB - “THIS tradition is finita,” says Luciano Barbera, as he opens the door to an underground warehouse. Dozens of large wooden boxes are stacked to the ceiling, containing nearly 80 tons of colorful thread, wound in spools and idling like sunbathers at a beach, absorbing moisture in a cavernous room kept naturally cool and humid by a creek that burbles under the floor.
“I call it a spa for yarn,” explains Mr. Barbera, a lean and regal 72-year-old, who is dressed in a style that could be described as aristo-casual: white linen button-down shirt, brown herringbone pants and brown leather shoes. He is giving a quick tour of the Carlo Barbera mill, named for his 99-year-old father, and destined to be run by two or three of Luciano’s sons.
Mr. Barbera calls wool a living fiber, and he does not mean this metaphorically. After yarn is dyed here, it rests in the spa for as long as six months, recuperating until 20 percent of its weight is water. Then the material undergoes a 15-step process, which Mr. Barbera will not detail, other than to magisterially summarize it as “the nobilization of the fabric.”
Any shortcuts, he says, would harm the fabric’s “performance.”
DS - Wait, performance?
“Yes, performance,” he says in an accent both purring and professorial. “If your suit is not performing well, it’s like being in a car where you can feel every little bump in the road. If a suit is performing well, it’s as though you drive right over the bumps and you feel nothing.”
Luciano Barbera is without a doubt a man who's image is clearly pro Italia as his clothing is 100% made in Italy and this is most important to him. Not only is his own clothing made to rival the best designers in the world but also as insiders of the fashion world will confirm, the bolts of wool and cashmere produced at this mill can indeed be described as high performance, amongst the finest in the world and sold to dozens of luxury brands like Armani, Zegna and Ralph Lauren.
His relentless quest for quality, style and detail has led him to great fame. Some of his life long friends include John John Kennedy, appear in the Dressing the Man (The Bible menswear ) with numbered legends like Fred Astaire, Gary Cooper, Cary Grant or Duke of Windsor as equals, and was even tempted to make a cameo with Romy Schneider in a film by Luchino Visconti .
Here is some style wisdom from Mr. Barbera:
"The low pants must kiss the shoe, clothing should be for use and be not for show or a suit must be harmonious"
"It is not enough to have nice clothes. In fact many people have too much. What matters is what you do with it "
"That a suit is just exquisite when dressed, every time you see a man playing golf or tennis jacket knows that could be friends or encourage us to be as authentic as we can" ; are his reflections that only when you have acquired a great experience in life.
Every Luciano Barbera item is Entirely Manufactured in Italy. From woven fabric to final stitch, this commitment to local production helps to ensure that the centuries-old tradition of artistry in cloth, the foundation of Italian style, remains. This notation on the label of each Luciano Barbera item serves as a guarantee that every item is truly Made in Italy, with all of the quality this distinction carries.