Nino Cerruti, heir to a family textile business that turned it into a leading ready-to-wear brand – obituary

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Nino Cerruti, the Italian fashion designer, who died aged 91, was credited with revolutionizing menswear in the 1960s, with suits that exemplified qualities once considered quintessentially British: understated elegance, cut classic and refined fabrics.

Cerruti’s story began in 1881 when Cerruti’s grandfather, Antonio, and his two brothers established a factory in Biella, northern Italy, producing the highest quality wools and luxurious textiles. .

Nino was not quite 20 years old and was studying philosophy when, in 1950, his father Silvio died suddenly, leaving him in charge of the textile factory. Abandoning his ambition to become a writer, Nino dropped out of school and, as the post-war ready-to-wear fashion market began to take off, decided to expand the family business into clothing production.

In 1957, he invested in two Milanese factories dedicated to cutting and sewing and launched Hitman, a men’s range that pioneered the concept of luxury ready-to-wear, followed by a knitwear line in 1963.

Things really started in 1967, when he opened a boutique, baptized Cerruti 1881, named after the year when his grandfather founded his textile factory, place de la Madeleine in Paris and presented his first runway collection.

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