Nino Cerruti: Italian Fashion Pioneer

Nino Cerruti – one of the great Italian entrepreneurs and fashion pioneers, has died aged 91. He was one of the leading figures in men’s ready-to-wear fashion in the 20th century, with a style that was both elegant and relaxed.

Photo: Cerruti 1881

Born in Biella, Italy on 25th September 1930, into a family of textile industrialists, Nino took over the family business at the age of 20. Investing heavily over the years in the research and development of materials, he added attention to design and a taste of sensibility to his fabrics. In 1957, he has achieved worldwide attention when he launched Hitman, world's first ready-to-wear collection for men, in Milan.

This introduction received widespread coverage in the press and a confident departure from fashion norms paving the way for the future of menswear. He is also responsible for launching future fashion icon Giorgio Armani, who worked with Cerruti for six years in the 1960s before founding his own eponymous brand in 1975.

Photo: Cerruti 1881Photo: Cerruti 1881

Charismatic and talented, Nino Cerruti then moved into the grand stage of Paris, then undisputed fashion capital of the world. In 1967, he established Cerruti 1881, the luxury ready-to-wear line for men. When he asked both male and female models to wear same clothes down the catwalk, he revolutionised fashion once again.

"I have always dressed the same person, myself," he once said while insisting on trying on his own creations first. At the end of the 1970s, he launched the first men’s fragrance named “Nino Cerruti”, followed by other intuitions and innovations across the globe.

Photo: Simone Falcetta

Photo: IMDbPhoto: IMDb

"When Nino Cerruti dresses you for a film, you can count on him for suggestions, details, precise and accurate advice that will help you as an actor to perceive your character more minutely." —Philippe Noiret

In the 1980s, Cerruti branched out into Hollywood and designed clothes for over 200 films including Jewel Of The Nile, Pretty Woman and Basic Instinct before taking on the role of official designer for Ferrari in the mid-1990s.

Style and Fashion awards, received worldwide: the Bath Museum of Costume Dress of the Year Award, England, 1978; the Munich Fashion Week Award, 1981; the Cutty Sark Award in 1982, 1988 and Pitti Uomo Award, Italy, 1986.

"Style is dressing with character, elegance is what makes it natural." —Nino Cerruti

Nino Cerruti will always be remembered as a true gentleman and a giant among Italian entrepreneurs.