Italian lifestyle label Harmont & Blaine stands out for its bold use of colour and commitment to excellence. We speak to CEO Paolo Montefusco about the secrets behind the company’s success, and why it’s always important to follow your nose
Choosing a company logo is an important task for any brand, but for Italian lifestyle label Harmont & Blaine – whose dachshund symbol is instantly recognisable to its fans across the globe – the choice was about more than just the image. This likeable creature was chosen because it directly reflects the company’s philosophy and values
Harmont & Blaine expresses its joyous approach to life and design through colour
The dachshund, explains the team, is a German dog bred for hunting, which has overcome its comical (though adorable) physique by proving its worth with its nose and its intelligence. Harmont & Blaine, a family company founded in the Gulf of Naples in the 1960s, faced all the struggles a fledgling business could expect. But when it found its ‘nose’ – that unique identity that made it truly stand out – the brand proved its worth. In 1995, when its first collection of dachshund-branded clothing was launched, the Harmont & Blaine of today was born.
The collection, presented in Capri, embodied a refined, casual style with a distinctive Mediterranean flair, and it is this aesthetic for which Harmont & Blaine has come to be known across the world. Starting with a modest collection of men’s pieces, the brand saw quick success, and went on to launch a junior collection for both girls and boys in 2005 and a range of footwear in 2008. In 2010, a women’s collection was introduced, meaning Harmont & Blaine now caters to the whole family.
Shirts and polo shirts are particular specialities, and these were central to the brand’s early success. While other labels were looking to neutral colours and favouring minimalism, Harmont & Blaine expressed its joyous approach to life and design through colour.
Bright and beautiful creations are a signature still, and today the brand offers a full range of clothing and accessories, allowing clients to achieve a total look that is colourful and casual yet still refined. Whether in the men’s, women’s or children’s collections, you’ll find eye-catching pieces that fit seamlessly into the wardrobe, with upbeat hues that take classic cuts and pieces to the next level.
Harmont & Blaine prides itself on its ability to offer high-quality garments at a fair price. An accessible brand, it nonetheless strives for the same standards of excellence as any other leading Italian label. Its fabric is sourced from among the leading suppliers in the world, and 100% of its knitwear is proudly made in Italy. Yarns are processed in Umbria, and most of its knitted pieces are crafted in Calabria, where the firm saved and revived a struggling factory.
Another secret to its success is the design team’s ability to embrace trends while staying true to the brand’s core aesthetic. ‘We define ourselves as “fashion cooks”,’ explains CEO Paolo Montefusco. ‘The ingredients are the same for everyone, but the result is different for each of us. And this is due to sensitivity and interpretation.’
Expect youthful collections that balance the latest trends with a distinct Italian spirit. For men, slim-cut trousers and lightweight shirts are the perfect way to capture the trend for smart-casual dressing. For women, colourful coats and jackets are a highlight, and look perfect paired with printed dresses and blouses in complementary tones. The kids’ collections cleverly balance the need for comfort and durability with a fun fashion edge that children and parents alike will love.
Celebrity endorsement is a sure sign of success, and Harmont & Blaine’s dachshund logo has been worn by countless famous names, from Sylvester Stallone to Kevin Spacey, and Helen Hunt to Kelly Rowland. But perhaps the best indicator is the brand’s continued expansion both in Italy and beyond, with 10 new international openings planned for the next two years alone. It looks as if this colourful brand is set to go from strength to strength, so be sure to discover on your trip to Italy what it has to offer.