30 Luxury Italian Fashion Brands Every Man Should Know
Italy’s most famous luxury houses are bywords for elevated style: Gucci, Valentino, Zegna, Prada. But these are just the tips of the iceberg. These are the Italian fashion brands all men should know.
When you think of luxury fashion, the mind wanders quite freely to the cobbled streets of Portofino or the catwalks of Milan, to the tailored piazzas of Turin or the wool mills of Biella. To Italy, basically. If your style is rooted in Italian heritage, Italian labels, Italian names, Italian tailoring… Italian anything, really… you’re doing something right.
There’s even a word for the tailored nonchalance that luxury Italian brands have long embodied: sprezzatura. It’s as much an attitude as a way of dressing – one that has, for decades, enabled high-end Italian fashion to set the sartorial tone for the rest of the world.
Italy’s most famous luxury houses are bywords for elevated style: Gucci, Valentino, Zegna, Prada. No one does luxury fashion like Italian designers, but these are just the tips of the iceberg. So we’ve cultivated a list of 30 luxury Italian fashion brands you should know about as a matter of stylistic urgency.
Maybe you’ve raised a quizzical eyebrow at the first choice on our list of the best luxury Italian fashion brands: a humble belt manufacturer. But we’ll see your raised eyebrow, and raise you two, because belts are the centrepiece of any man’s wardrobe.
Anderson’s is a family-run company based in Parma, for which we have Carlo Valenti to thank. A craftsman who became a fashion entrepreneur, the man might as well have had leather in his blood. Since its founding in 1966, his company has specialised in breathtakingly luxurious belts, from sober calf grain leather options to colourful and elasticated woven styles.
Alberto Aspesi gave his name to his suavely chic brand in 1969, and the world of luxury shirting has never looked back. (The inaugural item Aspesi turned out was a men’s leopard print shirt: an item that crops up repeatedly in luxury Italian fashion history.)
While Aspesi is still widely regarded as a bastion of high quality shirts, it’s expanded its repertoire since those early animal prints. Now, you can expect to find a range of ready-to-wear options that typically put minimalism front and centre, together with that unique Italian stamp of quality, luxury and timeless elegance.
Remember that term, ‘sprezzatura’? Translated as ‘studied carelessness’, it captures Barena’s sought-after aesthetic, although that’s not the whole story behind this exclusive label.
To get to the heart of the Barena’s elusive style, simply look to Venice. Sandro Zara was a Venetian with an aptitude for traditional textiles, and the brand’s name (stemming from ‘baro’) can be translated as ’emerged lands’ – a nod to Venice and its surrounding areas. Picture a Venetian fisherman setting off to the lagoon in a three-piece suit: that just about sums up Barena.
Two words: ‘soft tailoring’. Actually, make it four words because ‘unstructured jackets’ deserve a round of applause here, too. Those four words neatly encapsulate Boglioli’s ethos and they get straight to the heart of what sets this particular luxury Italian fashion brand apart from others.
We live in an age in which we’ve realised it’s no longer necessary to sweat and suffer in tight, restrictive tailoring. But Boglioli has been utilising butter-soft materials and crafting shoulder pad-less jackets for decades. Today, the brand expertly walks that tightrope between blissful comfort and suave elegance.
Hats. Hats, hats, hats. Hats for days. Hats, in fact, since 1857, when Giuseppe Borsalino changed the history of headwear with his world-famous manufacturer in northern Italy’s Alessandria. Since those early days, Borsalino has decked the heads of A-listers like Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart, among others.
Today, you can expect to find a wide spectrum of hats on offer – ranging from the trusty panama to the suave fedora to the rakish trilby – together with caps and accessories to suit even the broadest range of millinery tastes.
As we progress through this list, you’ll notice a couple of recurring themes. The 1960s is one; luxury leather goods is another. Bottega Veneta, founded in 1966 and hailing from Vicenza, comprises both.
Accessories can be an overlooked area of high fashion – but when it comes to Bottega Veneta, you’ll never pass up a high quality wallet again. It’s a luxury brand that pervades every area of life – from work, to after-work drinks, to Sunday morning and back to work again – with a wallet and a pair of shoes for every conceivable occasion.
Brioni’s sartorial roots are firmly planted in Rome where it was founded in 1945. Nazareno Fonticoli and Gaetano Savini established the brand that, thanks to the undisputed high quality of its materials, would become the go-to for Rome’s (and the world’s) elite. Its collections include all the hallmarks of luxurious Italian style: heirloom tailoring, ultrafine knitwear and incredible leather goods.
Like so many Italian fashion houses, Brioni combines its nods to history with a firm embrace of modern technology and the result is a brand that will likely continue to trailblaze its way through the story of men’s fashion. After all, it hosted the world’s inaugural men’s fashion show: 1952, in case you were wondering.
If ever a brand encapsulated the one-of-a-kind beauty of Italian menswear, it would be Brunello Cucinelli. Cucinelli himself founded the brand in 1978, while engaged to his (now) wife, Federica. Inspired by Federica’s clothing store in her home village of Solomeo, Cucinelli decided to make his own forays into the world of knitwear.
Since those early romance-and-cashmere days, the brand has significantly expanded its repertoire, with men’s suits, shirts and travelwear on offer – but Brunello is still a little different, with a unique take on easy-wearing luxury. Not every fashion house, after all, has a website that opens with a quote from philosopher Immanuel Kant; but that’s Cucinelli for you.
Put simply, C.P. Company makes sportswear, militarywear and workwear more luxurious than any you’ll find anywhere else. The goggle-jacket aesthetic offers something different to the majority of luxury Italian fashion brands, but it also retains an obsession with materials and construction.
Founded by the ‘godfather of urban sportswear’, Massimo Osti, the brand was originally known as Chester Perry before Osti changed the name in 1978 to the sleeker, sharper C.P. Company. Since then, the label has been a beacon of creativity in men’s fashion and particularly influential when it comes to garment dyeing and technical fabrics.
The history of Canali reads like a potted history of Italian men’s fashion, such is its prominence among Italian fashion houses. The brand was founded in 1934 – and, like so many world-famous Italian brands, it’s been family-run ever since.
When you think of Canali, you doubtless think of soft, suave, polished style. Planting its roots in an era in which the lounge suit was just beginning to grow in prestige, the brand expanded its range across the decades to include outerwear, accessories and sportswear.
Mantua. It has a strong Shakespearean element, doesn’t it? But this historic Italian city has served as more than a hazy backdrop for centuries-old plays; it’s home to Corneliani, and it’s provided inspiration, influence and insight to the fashion house for centuries.
Alfredo Corneliani founded the brand back in the 1930s and made a name for himself with luxury raincoats, among other forms of outerwear. Raincoats don’t scream elegance but make no mistake, Corneliani’s offering comes hand in hand with that ineffable form of elegance that only Italians seem to master.
Dolce & Gabbana
Even the most sartorially challenged, style-phobic, fashion-unconscious philistine knows this world-famous brand. Dolce & Gabbana is a titan of the fashion industry, and it’s all the more formidable for its (comparatively) recent inception.
The brand was founded by – you’ve guessed it – Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana in 1985 and it embodies a youthful, colourful and daring approach to classic Italian style, bringing pattern and sportswear details to more traditional tailored fare.
Ever looked for a shoe that’ll do just as well on a mountain as it will in the city? Look no further: Diemme has always been a step ahead when it comes to luxurious but practical performance footwear. The brand hails from Onè di Fonte in Veneto, close to the Dolomites – and every single shoe is meticulously, lovingly handcrafted at the Calzaturificio Diemme factory.
Founded by Dennis and Maico Signor, Diemme puts both blissful comfort and forward-looking design at the heart of its work – and a wealth of choice to boot. Chelsea boots, hiking boots, sneakers: whatever the setting, Diemme has got your feet covered.
If Baz Luhrmann was going to turn any luxury Italian fashion brand into a film, it would surely be Ermenegildo Zegna. It’s chic, glittering and glamorous; so far, so Italian. But it’s got something a little different, too. It’s arty, daring and adventurous, unafraid to break the rules of tailoring or traditional menswear, especially under current creative director Alessandro Sartori.
It’s one of the longest standing luxury Italian brands around, founded back in 1910. And its long history takes in the ebbs and flows of tailoring trends, plus numerous advances in fabrics. Today, however, its just as lauded for its casual designs, with sportswear-influenced essentials central to its offering.
A true luxury Italian fashion brand doesn’t restrict itself to the pragmatic donning of clothes. It permeates every area of life, putting not just a way of dressing, but a way of living front and centre. Arguably, no brand understands this more than ETRO.
For ETRO, that way of life means colour and self-expression, something echoed in its statement prints and patterns, especially on its silk shirts. The brand’s paisley pattern is one of its most iconic designs so if you want to sample the ETRO way, we’d recommend that as a good starting place.
Best known for bags? We’d say so; and not just any bags, either. Fendi’s delectably soft leather sits alongside chic jacquard and those are just two examples that have made Fendi a world-renowned label when it comes to accessories of all kinds.
But increasingly, it’s not just about the bags. Fendi’s statement prints and logo-emblazoned essentials has made it one of the world’s most visible names, backed up with collections that span formal and casual dressing.
The name ‘Armani’ is synonymous with high fashion, such is Giorgio Armani’s phenomenal influence, iconicity and indelible charisma. This borders on the gushing, but Armani is a brand that drips with moneyed, honeyed elegance, as well as platinum heritage in the history of menswear.
It offers wardrobe staples in abundance (from suits to swimwear), with its unstructured tailoring and relaxed fits perfectly capturing the Italians’ laid-back approach to luxury.
A brand that needs no introduction, not least because of its proliferation in first-class airport lounges and on Hollywood red carpets. The Gucci name is an icon of modern luxury, the brand’s styles instantly recognisable – from horsebit loafers and statement belts to throwback tailoring and eye-catching sportswear collabs.
Guccio Gucci founded the brand in 1921 and although the Gucci family is no longer involved (see the recent Hollywood movie for the juicy details) it remains one of the grandest names in the business, unafraid to show off its own opulence. Its early days involved crafting luxury luggage for Italian high society but today it’s the complete high-roller label, offering luxury accessories, shoes, tailored one-offs and ready-to-wear items. And all of it very Gucci.
Today it’s a part of the impressive Slowear family of labels, but Incotex and its unique take on Italian style dates back to 1951, when it started life in Venice. Ever since, the brand has been known as a near-peerless crafter of meticulously tailored trousers.
Whether you’re after slacks or slim-fit pants, Incotex has the fit for you. It began as a military outfitter, and its collections still retain a degree of hard-wearing practicality, with technology and comfort still placed front and centre.
Loro Piana’s origins stretch back further than most Italian menswear brands, the family beginning their wool business in 1800s Trivero. However, the company as we know it today was founded by Pietro Loro Piana in 1924. It too specialises in wool, producing some of finest cashmere and vicuna garments you’ll find anywhere.
While its woollen creations will be the brand’s lasting legacy, Loro Piana offers a wide range of ready-to-wear items, including rainwear, swimwear and footwear. Its linen and leather items are also well worth checking out as the company expands its fabric expertise.
Interestingly, this luxury Italian fashion brand was founded in Milan, in 1994, not by an Italian but by Consuelo Castiglioni, a designer of Swiss descent.
As you’ve probably guessed from its relatively recent inception, this is a modern brand to its core. You can expect to find typical ready-to-wear items, but Marni likes to play and experiment with its collections.
Forget stripped-back neutrals or safe and simple fits. Marni is all about bold colour, artful prints and graphics and offbeat styling. All of which makes it a fashion insider’s go-to.
To get to the heart of this brand, simply look to the man himself. Massimo Alba quotes from David Foster Wallace when considering what our clothes really mean to us: “Everybody is identical in their secret unspoken belief that, way deep down, they are different from everyone else.” That really tells you all you need to know.
And Alba’s showroom – in Milan’s Navigli district – showcases that classic-with-a-twist mentality. The style is laid-back tailoring and elevated leisurewear, which meet in an elegant and distinctive take on smart casual dressing.
Bold palettes, bright splashes of zig-zag colour and cheerful, eye-catching designs: all things that separate Missoni from its contemporaries, and mark it as a defining luxury Italian fashion label of recent times.
Like many brands, it started in the family – it was founded in 1953 by Otavio and Rosita Missoni and is now run by their daughter. Those bright, daring designs speak for themselves. You’ll find them across Missoni’s collections, from fine knitwear to sports-influenced everyday pieces. A brand definitely removed from cookie-cutter Italian design.
An Italian brand with French origins, Moncler burst onto the outerwear scene in 1952, courtesy of René Ramillon and André Vincent. It became the go-to brand for anyone who likes to spend a lot of time and a lot of money in the mountains: think skiwear, hiking boots and other outdoor essentials, all combining technical construction with a playfully retro aesthetic.
A lot of technical clothing puts function over form. Moncler is different in that it puts the two on a level pegging. Its colourful designs and bold silhouettes are unabashedly expensive – designed to be just as eye catching in a city bar as they are on an alpine snowdrift.
It’s so often preceded with three simple words: ‘The Devil Wears…’ But, while author Lauren Weisberger may have put this iconic brand on the map for fashion philistines, it’s a label that long, long predates Stanley Tucci’s shrill cries of “Gird your loins!”
Prada is one of the most historic fashion houses in the world and a cornerstone of Italian design. It has helped to shape luxury fashion for more than 100 years and while the men’s collection only began in the 1990s, its groundbreaking designs, chic style and trendsetting appeal have ensured it’s never strayed far from the cutting edge.
Sporty and military aesthetics weren’t always associated with high fashion but Stone Island was one of the labels that pioneered a luxury approach to these casual codes of dress.
Remember Massimo Osti, of C.P Company fame? He’s a man of many talents; he founded Stone Island in the 1980s, introducing a collection of seven jackets that bore the (now world-famous) Stone Island patch.
Now offering a formidable range of outerwear together with distinctive ready-to-wear essentials, the company has been part of the Moncler group since 2020.
No wardrobe (or shoe rack) is complete without a pair of Tod’s shoes. Exactly which style you go for is up to you – we have a soft spot for the loafers – but the Tod’s collection is defined by timeless design, Italian elegance and the finest materials and craftsmanship.
Filippo Della Valle founded the company in 1900 so the brand has been decking the feet of men and women for more than a century. In more recent years, the collection has included luxury sneakers as wardrobes become ever more casual, and you can also find exemplary accessories such as leather belts and bags.
It’s another titan of the fashion world: Valentino was founded in Rome by Valentino Garavani in 1960 oozing the traditional elegance of tailored Italian couture. Today, it’s worth looking to creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli to discover just what makes Valentino tick.
Piccioli has always zoned in on fashion’s power to tell a story and brings a lifelong love of cinema to his role. His recent collections include colour-pop prints, sportswear and studs aplenty, alongside meticulous working of suits and shirts.
This brand was founded in 1911, in the glittering, possibility-laden streets of Milan. But if you’re UK-based, you’ll want to prick your ears up when it comes to Valstar. The reason? Valstar has long specialised in outerwear: it produced the inaugural Italian-manufactured water-repellent raincoats.
Valstar also equipped US pilots with the A1 flight jacket in 1935 and introduced the ‘Valstarino’, a military-inspired, ineffably chic jacket that’s earned its place in the luxury fashion halls of fame. Today, as ever, you can look to Valstar for all your chic, stylish outerwear needs.
Our final luxury Italian fashion brand is a sheer force of nature. Gianni Versace debuted his clothing line in Milan (where else?) in 1978; the rest is fashion history. It’s a label that has always revelled in extravagance. Its designs feature Medusa heads, baroque prints, big logos and gold. Lots of gold.
That means it won’t be for everyone: a true go-hard-or-go-home approach to luxury. But as with all the brands on this list, it’s backed up with fabrics and fabrication every bit as good as the brand story.