On Jan. 15, the famous Italian fashion designer, Nino Cerruti passed away. The fashion world lost a formidable, innovative, trendsetter. “A giant among Italian entrepreneurs has left us,” AFP quoted Deputy Minister for Economic Development, Gilberto Pichette. But who was this man? Here’s how his work spoke volumes about his talent all the way, from the east to the west.
Cerruti was an Italian businessman and stylist. He founded his own haute couture house, Cerruti, in 1967 in Paris. Born in Biella, Italy, on Sept. 25, 1930; he became the head of the family’s woolen business following his father’s untimely death. His grandfather had founded a textile mill in Biella in 1881, called Lanificio Fratelli Cerruti.
Drawing from his experience in producing excellent fabrics, Cerruti ventured into the production of clothing in the late 1950s. His first men’s collection, Hitman, was shown in 1957 and was considered a revolution in men’s wear at the time. It is interesting to note, that from 1964 to 19790, Giorgio Armani, who later founded his own eponymous fashion label, had actually worked for Cerruti at Hitman. Eventually, in 1967, the Cerruti menswear line was launched followed by a womenswear collection the year after.
Cerruti, who created the first deconstructed jacket in the 1970s, was one of the leading figures in men’s ready-to-wear fashion in the 20th century, with a look that was both stylish and relaxed. He once said, “I want men freer in their elegance, more elegant in their freedom.”
Tall and slim, Cerruti always insisted on being the first to try on his creations, many of which he kept stored away. A true trendsetter, indeed. One can go as far as saying he is solely responsible for both elevating and simplifying men’s fashion, globally. The embodiment of “casual chic.”
“When he asked male and female models to walk down the catwalk in the same clothes, he revolutionized fashion,” AFP notes. In the 80s, he branched out into Hollywood, designing clothes for stars including Jack Nicholson, Michael Douglas, Sharon Stone, Julia Roberts, and Tom Hanks. Though celebrities in the MENA region have often opted for flashier designers, or more recently local designers, Cerutti’s essence still shines with perfumes and formal wear being adorned by consumers across the GCC countries. Cerutti is a designer that is going to be hard to forget, for he will remembered through his remarkable creations.