February 19, 2006
Established in Rome in 1945 by master tailor Nazareno Fonticoli and fashion designer Gaetano Savini, Brioninamed after an Adriatic resorthas become synonymous with top-notch menswear, attracting customers like Gary Cooper, Kofi Annan, and of course, Pierce Brosnan as James Bond. In 2001, the company ventured into womenswear, and this season marks the debut of Spanish designer Cristina Ortiz, an alum of Lanvin, Prada, and MaxMara. Inspired, she said, by "round, sensual" forms, Ortiz imagined not a woman who would wear men's clothes, but rather a "companion to the Brioni man." This translated into a sharp black trench with a high collar and puff sleeves, and some body-loving dresses, as well as some dissections of the smoking. Rendered mostly in black ("to get my message across quickly"), with touches of red, the collection was best at its strictest and, appropriately for Brioni, most tailored.