The World’s Greatest Luxury Umbrella Makers
These are the specialist brands and artisans making the finest luxury umbrellas. Guaranteed to keep you dry in style and not break at the first gust of wind.
The umbrella has long been seen as a functional yet stylish gentleman’s accessory, typically associated with the suited class, but let’s be honest, we all need one. And yet ironically, none of us have one when we really need it.
If you’re anything like this writer, you’ve lost at least half a dozen, and have had another bunch invert in high winds, only to be left hanging out of a bin like a crumpled spider. Umbrellas are always functional to a degree, but not always stylish, and very often come into one’s possession as a hurried purchase.
A flimsy telescopic umbrella bought from a corner store at the first sign of a downpour is unlikely to complement your well-put-together look, but needs must. Or do they? Wouldn’t you be better off investing in a specialist umbrella that actually elevates your aesthetic, adds cachet and does a sterling job at protecting you from the rain? If it costs an arm and a leg, you may (note to self) just look after it that much more diligently, too.
With that in mind, we’ve scoured the menswear landscape to uncover the 10 finest umbrella makers in the world. Those brands and artisans that take their craft very seriously and have dedicated themselves to creating rainstoppers that keep you dry as much as they complement your style.
Tucked away in a small workshop in the countryside near Mantova, Eva Giacomini presides over Italy’s finest umbrella maker, Pasotti, founded in 1953 by her mother Ernesta Pasotti, who began producing one-of-a-kind umbrellas that she sold directly.
Today the company produces 40,000 umbrellas a year, many of which are white-label for luxury brands. But it’s the umbrellas with the Pasotti badge on that we care about, because these are exquisite, limited-run, handmade products.
While the high-quality polyester fabric automatically opens with an assured swoosh, it’s the handle designs that Pasotti is most recognized for, with a vast array of enameled animal handles, as well as more traditional silver and brass styles.
Pasotti’s umbrellas are definitely for those who want to make a statement with their accessories.
One Thomas Fox decided to open an umbrella shop in the City of London in 1868, which proved to be quite a good decision for anyone perturbed by the rain. But it was actually an unrelated chap called Samuel Fox who was instrumental in the company because it was he who made the first decent umbrella with steel ribbing.
Former Fox turned to latter Fox for his wire-shaping skills and the birth of the modern umbrella was the result. Today, Fox Umbrellas is perhaps the most revered umbrella maker in the world, with the heritage and the handcrafted pedigree to back the claim.
Fox Umbrellas are a work of art, meticulously crafted in hardwoods such as maple, ash, hickory and malacca. Its 36″ solid cane styles are pieces of artisanal history, beautifully handmade and available in a huge variety of canopy designs.
If they’re good enough for the British and Japanese royal families, they’re good enough for us.
A respective newcomer on the umbrella market, London Undercover is a modern pretender to the wet weather crown, and what it lacks in heritage, it more than makes up for in design.
With a store on Lambs Conduit Street in London, the brand continues to use traditional handmade processes to construct its excellent array of umbrella styles, using only the finest materials and highest quality craftsmanship.
With a fabulous range of superbly built compact foldables, as well as classic hardwood options, London Undercover also has one of the most eclectic and modern canopy options on the market.
Formerly Swaine Adeney Brigg, but now going by the name ‘Swaine’, this quintessential British artisan maker has literally served royalty and nobility for centuries. Providing an eclectic array of fine products, umbrellas have always been a part of Swaine’s canon of luxury.
The company took over as Royal whip-makers in 1798, crafting stunning silver handles, before breaking out into umbrellas in 1817 as Brigg Umbrellas. This heritage has stood it in great stead, honing its craft for over 200 years to be able to produce some of the finest umbrellas in the world today.
Swaine’s umbrella handles are formed from a solid piece of precious wood, gently steam-curved, and finished with a signature gold-plated or sterling silver collar. The brand produced the umbrellas for the Kingsman film franchise, cut from polished chestnut. Own one of these and you’ll be doing a rain dance every morning.
James Smith & Sons
James Smith & Sons is a peer to Fox Umbrellas, both firms having been founded in the mid-1800s in London and both benefitting from Samuel Fox’s invention of the steel umbrella ribs.
James Smith was originally based just off Regent Street, but moved to new premises on New Oxford Street in 1857 where it still remains today, and is largely unaltered. If the store is like stepping back in time, then the umbrellas are a piece of history, with beautifully carved wooden animal handles and solid wooden sticks all featuring a sterling silver lap band.
Don’t expect wild canopy styles – they typically come in black, holly, or navy – these are serious umbrellas for serious gentlemen of the city.
Master umbrella makers Lockwood are located just outside of London and have been quietly handmaking some of the world’s finest umbrellas, employing centuries-old techniques and using ethically sourced buffalo horn and hardwoods from sustainable woodlands from around the world.
Built for durability using a Grade A steel frame, hand-sewn reinforcements, lathe-turned brass fittings and proofed water-resistant cotton cloth, Lockwood’s umbrellas are built to last and look good to boot.
Solid sticks are the company’s bread and butter, but it does make one model unlike anybody else: a classic 8mm paragon frame mechanism comprised of eight reinforced ribs, the finest leather crook handle, hand-stitched in Italy, and… wait for it… a 24K gold-plated finish – the only of its kind in the world. Ballers gotta ball when it rains, too.
If you’re looking for an umbrella with flair and character, then Il Marchesato should be your first port of call. The Italian maker was founded in 1978 by a husband and wife team who wanted to honor the paternal grandfather’s passion for umbrella making.
Its classic styles are handcrafted from exceptional hardwoods, but it’s the handles where Il Marchesato really stands out with a fantastically eclectic array of designs and materials, from deer horn to colorful enamel or gold-plated animal heads.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that all of the world’s finest umbrella makers were English but there’s a certain Frenchman who would beg to differ. Michel Heurtault is his name, and this wonderfully talented artisan brings a French haute couture approach to his umbrella brand Parasolerie Heurtault.
Using cutting tools more than 200 years old, his works of art are almost based entirely on biodegradable materials. In 2013, he received the title of Maître d’Art by the Ministry of Culture, France’s highest honor for a craftsman and was also awarded the Living Heritage Company title.
As for the umbrellas, well, as you might have guessed, they are quite something. A typical Heurtault creation will consist of 10 ribs of vintage steel, covered in faille silk and lined in taffeta, with a Macassar ebony handle and shaft (carved from a single piece of wood).
The price? Well, it’s reflective of just how unique these products are, put it that way.
Founded in Naples in 1860, this family-run atelier has been devoted to handmaking fine umbrellas and parasols ever since, handing down artisanal secrets to generation after generation.
Mounted on whole woods, and using San Leucio silk for the canopies, Talarico also handmakes precious handles from materials such as real horn, bamboo, Sorrento lemon wood and cherry wood.
Used by none other than King Charles himself, each and every Talarico umbrella is entirely unique and something truly special.
Milan-based Francesco Maglia has been handcrafting umbrellas since 1854 and continues to remain a family business. A secret of in-the-know discerning Milanese, Maglia’s umbrellas represent generations of artisan skill, handcrafted from the finest materials.
Maglia has white-labeled for some of the finest luxury houses in the world, including the LVMH group and Kering, but it’s his own label designs that should be on your radar.
Using immaculate woods, stunning canopies and some really special handles, a Maglia umbrella is a style statement that will last a lifetime.