When it comes to menswear credentials, you can’t do much better than John Vizzone. Not only did the designer help define American fashion for an entire generation with his stint as the creative director for Ralph Lauren Purple Label that lasted for more than 25 years, he’s also since extended his influence across the pond with the Parisian tailoring brand Cifonelli, where he’s been creative director since 2014.
So how does one put a cap on such globe-spanning experience? By launching a modern, sleek Barneys-exclusive namesake collection that serves as the culmination of a lifetime’s dedication to creating clothes that men love to live in. That’s why we’re so excited to introduce John Vizzone: his line of Italian-made, fresh, modern suits, sportcoats, shirts, ties, and outerwear, all offered at a price point that’s as fashionable as the collection itself.
“In partnering with Barneys on the collection, we wanted to do something for the younger millennial customer—something a little more price sensitive without losing the made-in-Italy aesthetic,” Vizzone recently shared with us as we visited his minimalist, art-filled home to photograph the collection in a setting that reflected the aesthetic of both the designer and the line. “It’s the kind of clothing that a guy who’s maybe starting out on a job can feel comfortable in. He doesn’t want to wear his dad’s clothes. The collection represents that modern guy, and there’s something very fresh about it.”
That freshness is reflected in trim silhouettes, slim ties, narrow shirt collars, and streamlined single-breasted suits. Vizzone worked closely with the Barneys team to hone in on a collection that melded his own sensibility with the product needs of our customers. “We looked around the sales floor and saw that we didn’t have a good option for the younger customer who needs to wear a suit to work every day or look a bit more refined and polished. That’s where John Vizzone fits in,” says John Totolis, Barneys VP of men’s tailored clothing. “It’s a very appealing price point, and most of the pieces are still made in Italy. It has a bit more personality in its aesthetic while still catering to a conservative customer looking for a modern look and fit.”
“It’s a sexy, contemporary collection based on the lifestyle of modern gentlemen,” adds Tom Kalenderian, Barneys EVP/GMM, Men’s. “The collection’s modern, slim suits offer a silhouette reminiscent of Saville Row in the early 1960s, but executed in lightweight contemporary fabrics. His sportcoats echo the same expression, while shirts and ties are slim and monochromatic and the outerwear has a modern, technical sensibility.”
It’s no mean feat to synthesize all of these various elements while still keeping an eye to the bottom line, but Vizzone’s extensive industry experience is what made it possible. He worked with Italian fabric mills in the south of Naples that he already knew, while smart design elements make the most of every hand-finished stitch. “It’s about not getting too tricky with the design—keeping everything pure. We were able to get a suit out that looks as beautiful as any designer suit out there,” he says.
In the process of designing a collection that married Vizzone’s more polished taste with the sexier vibe he was hoping to achieve, he did have one secret weapon: a muse in the family. “I tend to be very, very fussy in terms of wanting everything to be groomed and perfect, and I’m constantly in conflict with that. My 24-year-old son is tatted up and bearded, and he has a way of wanting everything to be a little rough at the edges. So whenever I think about the collection, I ask myself what he would think. He is that customer. There’s a certain roughness thrown in that makes it seem a little more modern.”
As all-encompassing as the collection already seems during its first showing, both the Barneys team and Vizzone are quick to point out that it will only continue to grow with each coming season. The inaugural collection is currently available online as well as in our San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Chicago flagships, but by spring of 2018, that will expand to eight stores, and the range of offerings will also grow. “We’re going to include shoes, bags, sunglasses, and fragrances—the whole gamut,” Vizzone says. “There will be sportswear that has a more modern sensibility to it, with menswear fabrications, classic elements, and maybe a little athletic influence.”
Totolis echoes this forward-looking sentiment, adding, “Even in a suit, guys want to feel cool and sexy, and as far as what he’s wearing underneath, there’s still a lot of potential when it comes to finding the perfect polos, crews, or v-necks to wear during the day and into the night. No one can meet this need better than John Vizzone.”