Brioni has taken its long history in men’s wear and applied it to a new luxury women’s capsule called La Donna.
The collection, designed by Brioni’s creative director Norbert Stumpfl, features a tight collection of tailored wardrobe separates with the same fabrics, silhouettes and handmade construction as the men’s collection, but cut for a female form. The result is a classic assortment of upscale essentials suitable for both day and evening.
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In a preview in New York on Wednesday, Stumpfl said he drew on Brioni’s 75-year history in fine men’s wear tailoring when conceptualizing La Donna. “My role is to keep the tailoring tradition alive,” he said, adding that it takes some 23 hours for the tailors at Brioni to create a jacket and 20 minutes to make a buttonhole. “And we do it on ready-to-wear,” he said.
He is partial to light fabrics and cloths with slight imperfections that indicate to the trained eye that the pieces were created by hand. Using sustainable and traceable fabrics are also key to the brand’s ethos.
“The idea is men’s wear garments for women,” he explained, a look he finds “really sexy.” By offering pieces without a lot of pattern or embellishment, it allows the attention to go to the wearer’s face instead of the clothing. “This woman is attuned to what’s going on and needs something easy to wear with no decoration.”
Stumpfl created six looks for the winter season that include a white evening jacket and matching pants that he paired with a cashmere turtleneck and a Brioni formalwear shirt. There are also black evening trousers with satin insets and a double-breasted shawl-lapel tuxedo jacket that Kate McKinnon wore at the Emmy Awards on Monday night, he said.
There is a baby alpaca overcoat whose design was based on vintage menswear topcoats, but by using double-face fabric, the piece looks heavy but is actually lightweight.
Stumpfl created cashmere drawstring pajama trousers with an elastic waist to be worn with a tailored jacket and silk button-down shirt; a shawl-collar belted cashmere coat, and a three-button overcoat in a classic shape that will never go out of style. He paired that with a navy shirt and jacket.
For summer, he designed a floor-length tuxedo coat with a white lining that is visible when the woman is walking, and an unlined silk coat with matching trousers created on a 70-centimeter vintage loom for a distinct aesthetic. Other pieces include a linen and silk suit that “crumples” a bit when wearing it, but is still “luxurious,” he said, as well as a lightweight trench coat, a workwear-inspired shirt with boxy trousers, a shirtdress and a baby blue formal jacket with matching pants. And of course, there’s the requisite navy blazer with gold buttons, but Stumpfl’s version is made from four-ply mohair and wool and is light enough to be transparent.
“It’s all very restrained,” he said. “And that’s what’s missing in womenswear.”
The La Donna capsule collection will be available at select Brioni stores through the made-to-order service, allowing women the chance to select the fabrics and details and have the garments tailored for the proper fit. Starting in October, Net-a-porter will have the retail exclusive for the product for one year, Stumpfl said.
Stumpfl, who was named creative director of Brioni four years ago, was formerly head of design at Berluti. A Central Saint Martins alum, he freelanced for Louis Vuitton and Adidas in 2016 and 2017; was men’s head designer at Balenciaga from May 2014 to June 2016, and men’s designer at Lanvin for almost nine years until May 2014. He created the La Donna women’s collection with his wife, Daphne Karras, who had worked on the Lanvin women’s collection under Alber Elbaz. Prices for pieces in the collection start at $820.