Interview with Luciano Barbera, Part II of III

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by unbelragazzo, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Jewfro Dubiously Honored

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    My interview with Luciano Barbera at Pitti Uomo continues. This is the second of three parts. You can read the first part here. Follow the LB Virtual Magazine here.

    StyleForum: How can a man dress elegantly in a society that is less formal, without seeming pretentious?

    Luciano Barbera: Above all, have some essential jackets, that can be worn in many ways. So that you can go out with friends, wear a tie or not, etc.. I think that, even if there is more freedom, it's important know what's more comfortable in each situation.

    Instead of using these ski jackets in your free time, when going out to a restaurant at night or on the weekend, what about a nice deconstructed blazer with an open-necked shirt, even a neckerchief. There's no need to wear cargo pants to a restaurant. There serve no purpose in that setting. You can wear instead some nice cotton or flannel trousers, you can permit yourself that.
    You can choose in your own wardrobe – not everyone's has to be the same. There are some who would never go out to eat without a dark suit, white shirt, and classic necktie, which is all fine. You can do that without being troublesome to others. There are many ways to distinguish oneself from all those who leave their house in the morning with a ski jacket that they're pulling at all day.

    There are great opportunities today to distinguish yourself and still remain comfortable in your environment.

    SF: Do you think about what environment a garment can be worn in when you design it?

    LB: I'm always thinking about it. Already from the birth of a design, or a type of fabric, I dream about what I would be looking for in a given situation. Then we present it in this way. Then, maybe we designed a fabric with the thought that it would be more formal, and somebody sees it and decides to use it for a shirt jacket. I never impose on someone to use something in the way that I imagined it.

    When you create these things, and see them used, even if in a different way than you thought, they are still yours. And this constitutes part of the sensibility of the buyer. I really value contact with intelligent buyers. Those that just buy something as is without thinking too much, it's an easy way to buy things. When there's some discussion, I enjoy that.

    SF: You have traveled a lot in your life. Have you adopted any of the styles of other countries in your clothes?

    LB: I remember in the early 70s I was traveling in Japan - I love Japanese food - and I saw these marvelous kimonos. But they would only wear these beautiful colors in their own homes. When they went outside, they always wore dark suits; black, dark blue, charcoal. And I wondered why they didn't adopt a little more color in their dress. Seeing those beautiful silks made me think more about color, and how to use it in men's clothing.

    And on top of that, although many say that the American man has no culture and is poorly dressed, it's not true at all. When I have traveled to Boston and New York, I have seen some of the best dressed men in the world. I have always admired what Ralph Lauren has built with his brand. He created an idea of an American aristocracy with his designs.

    SF: And borrowed a lot from the English, yes?

    LB: The English were masters of it all. But the English cut was too rigid. While the Southern Italian style is to tailor a jacket more softly. Now, everyone is trying to adapt to the needs of the modern man, and styles have converged a lot. There is certainly still some creativity allowed for each designer, but we're all living in the same world. And we're all trying to discover how to live better in today's world.

    SF: That project of living better is at the heart of style, isn't it?

    LB: Exactly. To me, the true luxury is to live with serenity. To have an interior calm. Living with all this stress, as many do today, destroys you. I see people with faces in a mask of tension. These people need to find more time for themselves.

    SF: Although designs have converged over the years, as you say - the clothes of Luciano Barbera don't seem to have changed too much.

    LB: We've never been the fashion of the moment. We have a way of doing things that proceeds over time, with some small changes, or occasionally with some large changes, according to the times we live in. The fashion of the moment is ephemeral and dies away quickly. While we are here for you, to offer you something for every situation in your life, but we don't attempt to impose anything on you. But you know that it's A) of high quality B) created with love and passion, and C) it has a pleasing appearance. Then the decisions are yours.


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    Even in overcoat weather, Signor Barbera gives you the opportunity and the suggestion to wear a flower in your lapel.

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    Wool knit ties.

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    Gorgeous fabric on this jacket.

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    More wool ties.

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    Rich brown with a luscious lapel roll.

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    My favorite scarf again.

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    I'll have a jacket out of each, please.

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    Brown and cream herringbone overcoat.

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    Same coat from the back.

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    The right kind of red tie.

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    The two guys talking.

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    Nice rack.

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    Stitchy's favorite.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013
  2. Hampton

    Hampton Senior member

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    Just perfect, thanks!
     
  3. in stitches

    in stitches Kung Joo Moderator

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    fantastic, yet again. great questions, and the way he answers them is phenomenal. he is a gem of a man.

    and thanks for the shout out at the end. :inlove:
     
  4. GusW

    GusW Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Great interview. I enjoy his perspective. I get the sense that he is truly a gracious person.

    As far as the pics, aren't his wool ties a perfect combination with patterned fall/winter jackets? I love'm. And, yes, that scarf is a beauty.

    One problem I have with the Luciano Barbera line recently isn't the look but the fit. Last fall I tried on several of their jackets. The fabrics looked wonderful and the style was softer and updated. But the fit around the chest was boxy and made it hard to reach forward even when going up a size. The Sales Associates that I've spoken to feel the 2011 cut was excellent ,but something happened for F/W2012. That may be why you saw so many on markdown in stores around the holidays. I'm cautious because Luciano Barbera has had issues in previous seasons trying to adapt their fit. I look forward to trying the new spring items when they reach the stores. Hopefully they have worked that out.
     
  5. bboysdontcryy

    bboysdontcryy Senior member

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    Is the LB line available in the States, or London? Haven't chanced across their merchandise.
     
  6. GusW

    GusW Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    It is available in the US. They lost their two large department store accounts about 5 years ago (Neiman Marcus and Saks) but still sell to a variety of independent specialty menswear retailers around the country. In the San Francisco Bay Area you can get it at Wilkes Bashford, Button Down, WIngtip and Khaki's of Carmel.
     
  7. bboysdontcryy

    bboysdontcryy Senior member

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  8. GusW

    GusW Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    This is such a tasteful combination for colors and pattern.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013
  9. FlaneurNYC

    FlaneurNYC Senior member

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    So well put.

    Thanks again, ubr.
     
  10. VRaivio

    VRaivio Senior member

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    Mr B. really seems like the most friendly and warm fellow. Thank you for sharing, UBR.
     
  11. add911_11

    add911_11 Senior member

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    What a nice informative report! thanks
     
  12. GusW

    GusW Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    This should be a good spot to post this quote from Luciano Barbera's website


    β€œTo be noticed without striving to be noticed, this is what elegance is about.”

    β€” Luciano Barbera
     
  13. in stitches

    in stitches Kung Joo Moderator

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    what happened with NM and saks? also, i still see LB stuff in my local last call.
     
  14. GusW

    GusW Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Saks used to carry LB in their main stores. The NYC 5th Avenue flagship store had an understated elegant Luciano Barbera shop that was always a delight to visit. I was told that Saks wanted to devote space to brands with larger advertising. They dropped quite a few brands at the same time and focused on Cucinelli, Zegna, etc in a bigger way. A typical brand consolidation around 2007.

    At Neimans I was told something similar. Surprised to hear it is at your Last Call. It hasn't been in CA Neimans for two years or so. Seems that giving more room to Tom Ford, Kiton, Cucinelli, etc has pushed it out.

    It certainly gives non-department store retailers an opportunity to grow the brand.
     
  15. in stitches

    in stitches Kung Joo Moderator

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    interesting info, thanks.

    i know i have seen barbera outerwear at my LC. i bought a beautiful glen plaid quilted jacket, and i saw another jacket too. i think i have seen other stuff, but i am not sure. either way, i am glad i can get their stuff online/by phone (paisley ties for example ;) ) as well, because the few items at my LC dont cut it.
     

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