How Trussardi plans to ‘shake off the dust’ – Vogue Business

How Trussardi plans to ‘shake off the dust’ – Vogue Business

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Trussardi is having a moment. This Saturday during Milan Fashion Week, GmbH founders Benjamin A Huseby and Serhat Isik will present their second collection for the 111-year-old Italian brand. Soon after, in October, the Palazzo Trussardi flagship in Milan Piazza della Scala will reopen with a new-look store and high-end restaurant and cafe helmed by Michelin-star chef Giancarlo Perbellini.

Huseby and Isik, together with CEO Sebastian Suhl, are steering a turnaround for Trussardi that seeks to attract a new generation of consumers and reignite the passion of former fans. Alongside revamped collections, they are rethinking its retail network, e-commerce operations and marketing — a 360-degree approach they hope will help to “shake off the dust” from the once-exciting brand.

Trussardi was founded in 1911 as a luxury gloves brand. In the 1980s and 1990s, it developed into a pioneering contemporary ready-to-wear and leather goods label, building a global retail network that today includes 400 wholesale clients and 55 directly operated stores as well as the Palazzo Trussardi flagship. However, the company struggled to maintain relevance as the contemporary fashion category exploded. In 2017 it posted losses of €30.6 million, per Reuters. Private equity firm QuattroR, which specialises in reviving distressed Italian businesses, took a 60 per cent controlling stake in 2019 (the Trussardi family retains a minority stake).

Suhl, an industry veteran who has held senior roles at Valentino, Marc Jacobs, Givenchy and Prada Group, joined Trussardi as CEO in October 2020. Last year he drafted in Huseby and Isik — best known for their Berlin-based, club-inspired brand GmbH — as creative directors to inject it with some youthful energy.

For their first season in Autumn/Winter 2022, the duo showed a slightly subversive, all-black and textured collection, which some critics saw as a radical departure from Trussardi’s past, even though it was inspired by the brand’s archive. For Spring/Summer 2023, the duo are planning to “expand” the Trussardi wardrobe, with new products based on staples they’ve seen people wear on the streets of Milan, subverted through their edgy lens.

In a wide-ranging interview, Suhl, Huseby and Isik discuss their shared vision for the future of Trussardi.

Vogue Business: Trussardi is one of Italy’s oldest fashion houses. How would you describe its heritage and what did you make of it when you first joined?

Benjamin A Huseby: Our first impression of Trussardi was based on personal memories of the late 1990s, seeing very minimalist campaigns with cool models of the time wearing leather. And then, having worked here and dug into the archives, we’ve done an “excavation” as we call it, into what Trussardi is and can be. It has a very rich history. In the 1980s and 1990s it was a really forward-thinking brand in so many aspects, from retail to campaigns. That was all quite surprising.