Italian lifestyle label Trussardi has been perfecting Milanese style for over a century. We speak to the CEO and creative director to discover the secrets behind the success of this family company
In 1911, in the picturesque town of Bergamo, northeast of Milan, Dante Trussardi established a small business making luxurious leather gloves. His skill was soon recognised, and before long he was furnishing the hands of such estimable clients as the British royal family. Over a century later, Trussardi has massively expanded its offerings.
The Trussardi family has big plans for the future
Now a fully-fledged lifestyle brand, Trussardi is a household name with boutiques across the world. Yet, while much has changed, the brand remains in the hands of the Trussardi family, who together are committed to moving forward without losing sight of Dante Trussardi’s founding principles of Italian excellence and style.
Nicola Trussardi, who took the reins of the company in the 1960s, shared his grandfather’s understanding of great craftsmanship and lasting style. ‘The most important things I’ve learned have been in Italy, making the rounds of workshops with my grandfather Dante,’ he explained. He also had an eye for trends and an appreciation of the customer’s developing needs. Under his direction, Trussardi rapidly expanded its product offering, introducing suitcases, handbags, homeware and more, without ever compromising on quality. In 1973 Nicola Trussardi introduced the brand’s greyhound logo across all products: today it is one of the most recognisable icons in Italian fashion.
A ready-to-wear line was launched in the 1980s to quick success. Trussardi was applauded not only for its fashion-forward Italian aesthetic, but also for its unique approach to fashion shows. It was the first brand to open its catwalk presentations to the public, choosing Milan’s Piazza del Duomo as its location in 1984, and later the city’s central station and the Palazzo della Borsa. Under Nicola Trussardi’s leadership, a number of collaborations also developed the brand’s reach and reputation. Projects in conjunction with big brands, including Garelli motorcycles and Coca-Cola, cemented Trussardi’s position as an all-round lifestyle brand, and a forward-thinking one at that.
Today, the brand is in the hands of the fourth generation of the family, under CEO Tomaso Trussardi and his sister Gaia Trussardi, who is creative director. Together, they maintain the tradition of excellence while keeping their sights set firmly on the future. ‘Trussardi has always been a brand of breadth, with a desirability and a clear identity,’ says Gaia Trussardi. ‘My goal is to renew the brand, while respecting that heritage, and remaining modern, contemporary and forward looking.’
Tomaso Trussardi also understands the important balance between traditional values and a contemporary spirit. As CEO, he has been instrumental in reorganising the brand to better reflect its modern clients, and in expanding its portfolio even further – notably with the launch of the Café Trussardi and Il Ristorante Trussardi concepts. These high-end eateries were first introduced at the label’s flagship in Milan, and 2018 will see further cafés opening worldwide.
Such expansion is only possible because the company has such a strong sense of identity. ‘Trussardi is a family-owned and family-run business and our approach is deeply influenced by our family orientation,’ explains the CEO. ‘Our leather-crafting expertise comes from our story and gives the brand its soul, as we are putting traditional techniques in the service of contemporary design.’
Fashion remains at the heart of Trussardi, and for spring/summer 2018 the brand was inspired, in Tomaso Trussardi’s words, by ‘the Italian aptitude for travel that reveals an elegance that never changes, whatever the latitude. That longing for adventure and the need to explore, understand and learn.’
For women, silhouettes are loose but cinched at the waist. Billowing silks and organzas are held in place by drawstrings, straps and belts that nod to planes and parachutes. Pioneering travellers such as Amelia Earhart were a key inspiration, particularly evident in modern interpretations of pilot jumpsuits.
Similar aeronautical themes are apparent in the men’s collection, with jumpsuits and jackets featuring subtle epaulettes, drawstrings and metal studs once more evoking parachutes, and T-shirts and sweaters printed with aerial photographs.
Of course, leather features heavily. Men will find it in classic caramel-coloured trench coats, and also in rich navy jumpsuits, or straight-leg trousers with sporty stripes at the side. Women can choose from jackets in a variety of colours and shapes, but for something standout should look to floral dresses overlaid with panels of soft leather. The Gita handbag is another key buy of the season. Made with butter-soft leather and available in a range of stylish colours, it’s the perfect size to carry when exploring a new place. No wonder the name translates into English as ‘trip’.
The Trussardi customer, says Tomaso Trussardi, is ‘always on the move, both physically and mentally.’ The same could be said for the business itself. And while the founding family has big plans for the future, this is a brand with a strength of identity that ensures it will stay true to its 107 years of heritage. As Tomaso Trussardi explains: ‘Our pillars are the base from which we are building our future. Trussardi is a contemporary Italian lifestyle brand crafted from leather, traditionally made, uniquely Milanese and instantly iconic.’