Designer Spotlight: Luciano Barbera

Luciano Barbera has been a foundational brand of ours for over 20 years. It is a quintessential Italian luxury lifestyle brand suiting many different tastes and styles. To know more about Luciano Barbera, the collection and the man, you must know more about its history. Luciano’s father, Carlo, worked in a woolen mill in Biella, Italy for many years and had a reputation as an excellent technician. Biella, a small mountain town in the foothills of the Alps, sits about an hour and a half northwest of Milan. Biella is home to many famous Italian woolen mills, including Guabello, Loro Piana and Zegna. In 1949, Carlo Barbera was offered 50% ownership and complete control of a rival mill that was floundering and thus the Carlo Barbera Lanificio was born. The Carlo Barbera mill became one of the most respected Italian woolen mills in the world and to date supplies fabric for Kiton, Brioni, and Zegna among others.

Fast forward to the 1960s when Carlo’s sons, Luciano and Giorgio, had joined the business. Luciano was featured in L’Uomo Vogue (Italian Vogue) in a classic windowpane suit and that caught the attention of Murray Pearlstein, the owner of the esteemed clothing store, Louis’ Boston. Murray, who was a fabric customer of Barbera, convinced Luciano to start his own lifestyle brand based on his unique Anglo/Northern Italian style. And thus, a great Italian lifestyle brand began based on Luciano’s sophisticated and understated style, which we love. It’s not a bright, loud, wanting-attention aesthetic like some Italian brands. The Barbera look is tasteful and confident but not obnoxious. It doesn't scream Dr. Loud. Today, Luciano is still involved in the design, as are his children, daughter Carola, and son, Lodovico.

We’ve been carrying Luciano Barbera since the late 1990s. They still are known for their use of beautiful fabrics and for impeccable quality, entirely made in Italy. Their jackets, ranging in price from $1495 to $3495, are available in two styles: fully unconstructed and softly constructed. The softly constructed model is a handmade jacket. Both fit great, just depends on your style. The blue and brown check in cashmere is in the unconstructed make. Entirely unlined, 2 patch pockets and side vents. Pairs great with a grey worsted flannel trouser or even with a mid-wash denim jean. The dusty grey blue with rust deco wool jacket from Luciano Barbera is in the handmade soft constructed make. Again, it lends itself to being dressed up or down.

Their shirts are a modern classic fit. Not slim fitting, but not overly roomy either. They run true to size. We bought different fabric weights for the fall season. The plainer weaves are to be worn in the shoulder seasons (early fall and spring), while the brushed cottons, flannels and brushed cotton and cashmere fabrics can be worn in the colder months. Luciano Barbera’s shirts are one of our best-selling categories.  Wear them under one of their jackets or sweaters or wear them by themselves with khakis or denim. They have a relaxed elegance to them. If you are unfamiliar with Barbera, we couldn’t speak more highly of it. It’s still a family-owned company and it is still very special, as you won’t see it everywhere, which is rare these days. They offer suits, jackets, outerwear, shirts, trousers, knitwear and accessories. Twice a year we do a custom fitting/trunk show with them.