In the world of menswear, few words have been subject to such abuse as the Italian sprezzatura, or the studied nonchalance exhibited by those exquisitely suited men sipping espresso on the banks of the Arno or darting in and out Milanese traffic on Vespas while their ties manage—inexplicably—to stay perfectly and intentionally askew. It’s been misinterpreted as preciousness and appropriated by marketing teams so recklessly that a man would be forgiven for coming to the conclusion that it no longer means anything at all.
Until, that is, he sees the work of Luciano Barbera. The son of a textile manufacturer, Barbera began his career in 1960 working with “the finest wool and cashmere” at his father’s mill. He soon started designing fabrics for his own personal wardrobe, which caught the attention of fashion photographer Ugo Mulas, who photographed him for the inaugural issue of L’uomo Vogue. The images made their way around the world, and by 1971, Barbera had launched a range of apparel and accessories that rapidly gained acclaim for its unfussy approach to refined dressing—softly tailored silhouettes enlivened by unexpected patterns and layers remain a hallmark—and an unflinching insistence on quality.
“The beauty and elegance of these fabrics inspired me to create a menswear collection of unique pieces produced using only natural fibers of the highest quality,” Barbera explains. “This fascination has never left me, and to this day, it permeates my work.” Equally important, he says, is “the immense value of Italian craftsmanship and tradition. I never considered having my clothing line produced anywhere else.”
At the heart of the brand, though, is the Barbera man—and his personality. “The goal is always to make every man feel unique and comfortable with himself,” says Todd Barrato, CEO of Luciano Barbera.
Sportcoats in silk, linen, and wool are precise in cut and luxuriously relaxed in feel. Classic woven shirts are rendered fresh with new textures and innovative fabrics. A jacket in extravagant calfskin is not only hand-burnished, but also fully reversible. Each piece is considered down to the very last stitch and the very smallest detail because, “As Luciano says,” Barrato offers, “without detail, there is nothing.”