While the President’s brand is making themselves heard in 2014, its original concept is not all that new. Originally conceived in 1957 by Manifatture 7′ Bell’s Francesco Bacci, President’s, the menswear label, did not enter the market until Guido Biondi, Bacci’s grandson, took hold of the name to bring forth a modern take on Italian fashion that communicates the company’s commitment to manufacturing well beyond the boundaries of Europe. The brand’s “Crafted in Tuscany” maxim speaks volumes of the line. Its commitment to local manufacturing allows for President’s to modernize its garments while utilizing age-old techniques that have been employed for generations by the family. In our latest Selectism Q&A we speak to Biondi on the conception of the modern President’s line.
Can you give us a short history of the President’s brand and its relation to your family?
President’s is a brand founded in 1957 by my grandfather, though we never made use of it until 2010 when I decided to create a brand exclusively for men.
You’re an Italian company. Would you say your aesthetic is purely Italian or does it take influences from elsewhere in the world?
Our company is 100% Italian and my family has been in the manufacturing industry since 1949. I’m very attached to the territory of handcrafted production. But my personal idea of style has a more international and contemporary imprint; our company has a large archive and I really like using details taken from the vintage world, giving the garments a contemporary key, designed for a young man who appreciates quality and well-made things.
All your clothes are made in Tuscany, an area with a strong history in textiles. What specific expertise does this bring to your manufacturing process?
Yes, 90% of my clothes are made in Tuscany, there is an exception for a few pieces realized in Japan, Scotland and USA. Tuscany is an area where still today, there are craft laboratories for leather goods and textiles and I believe that thanks to the techniques and constructions of these laboratories, the finished garment are given more character.
Many of the fabrics used in your collection are sourced from overseas. Can you give us an insight into how you select the right fabric for each garment?
The research of prestigious fabrics and small producers who develop their unique product is very important. I like to mix fabrics that are in apparent contrast with the style of the garment: for example a workwear shirt that is stitched with 3 needles and made in fine Egyptian cotton.
You’ve described the President’s visual identity as ‘walk[ing] the line of fashion and function’. Which aspects of your clothing do you take from the ‘fashionable’ side and which ones come from a more ‘functional’ background?
From the fashion world I take “the fit” – it has to be contemporary. My clothes are not made for “fashion victims” but for those who want to dress themselves in iconic, timeless, pieces. The “practical world” inspires me a lot and it’s from here I draw inspiration for the various fabric treatments and processes to end up with a garment that is good looking and versatile.
Your latest collection features garments in a range of styles and colors, some casual and others more formal. Was there any unifying inspiration behind it?
My collections are always designed with the concept of a wardrobe: a man nowadays has to be able to mix formal with casual wear.
Pick one item from the current collection that you’re really proud of and tell us a little about it.
I must say the suit jacket made in a Loro Piana Super 120 fabric, tailored and manufactured with horse hair – the entire internal construction is made visible by using a sort of transparent nylon lining and all pieces inside of the jacket are stamped by hand.
How would you describe the typical President’s customer?
A young man who travels, pays attention to detail and is a lover of true manufacturing and quality.
In the past, you’ve collaborated on products beyond clothing, such as the skateboard made with Atypical. Could we see more items of this kind in future? If so, what factors influence your decision on who to collaborate with?
I just really like to collaborate with different companies that function outside of the clothing world but that still are part of the President’s lifestyle. For the autumn/winter collection 2014-15 we presented a snowboard that is made in wood and laser cut, making it a design object.
How do you see the brand moving forward in future? Do you think tradition and progress can exist alongside each other as you grow and expand?
Absolutely – I would love to open a President’s store in the future, maybe in New York, where we can showcase the current products and collections, together with all our various collaborations and projects.