Stefano Ricci has been a name that's familiar to many for its quality and luxurious ready-to-wear collections. The Florentine brand has crafted a niche in the elite luxury sector—the brand is beloved in the realm of the 0.001 percent—and is no stranger to catering to the whims and fancies of its clientele. Many though, may not realise that the brand has had a longstanding relationship with some of the world's biggest names.
Take Andrea Bocelli, for example. Yes. The man with the golden voice has worn Stefano Ricci in many occasions. And in fact, once walked the runway during Stefano Ricci's 45th anniversary runway show, flanked by his two sons. Then there's also the late Nelson Mandela who's said to favour the brand's silk shirts. Add to the mix former chancellor of Germany, Helmut Kohl, and action star Tom Cruise, and it's safe to say that Stefano Ricci has dressed the who's who in politics and entertainment.
While there's a growing clientele of younger, successful men that's getting to know the brand, it's celebrity dressing has often veered towards the more established and mature. But that has since changed; at least it may be the start of a shift.
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On 30 January 2021, multi-platinum-selling and Grammy-winning musician The Weeknd appeared on the cover of Billboard with his XO Records team. And they were all looking dapper and sharp in Stefano Ricci.
We speak to creative director Filippo Ricci on the cover as well as insights into the brand's autumn/winter 2021 collection.
ESQ: Stefano Ricci has been worn by some of the most prolific figures in the world. But they’ve always been individuals who are more mature; until the Billboard cover of January 2021. How did the feature between Stefano Ricci and The Weeknd come about?
FILIPPO RICCI: We are pleased to dress an international clientele with a younger average age than a few years ago. This is particularly true of our Asian clientele. Our brand is not linked to testimonials, but in the entertainment world, we have a close relationship with Andrea Bocelli, David Foster and Michael Bublé. The Weeknd was a pleasant surprise for us, too. He is an artist that I personally appreciate very much, but I have not yet had the privilege of meeting him. In the autumn, he showed up at our Rodeo Drive boutique and bought some collection pieces for himself and his closest friends. Then the Billboard cover came out, and we are very grateful for this honour.
ESQ: Could there potentially be more opportunities of dressing The Weeknd in the future? Was there any feedback from the musician himself about the clothes?
FILIPPO RICCI: He definitely knows our address! In all honesty, it would be a pleasure to follow him in the future, reserving for him the treatment that is expected for our best clients, those who are part of the SR Club. Our Los Angeles staff informed me that The Weeknd was satisfied, and we will honour and respect his privacy by not disturbing him further (as often happens with other well-known artists).
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ESQ: Is there a more concerted effort by the brand to appeal to a younger, more mainstream audience?
FILIPPO RICCI: We launched the SR Junior line seven years ago—based on a father-son relationship—and consider it an integral part of a path towards understanding taste, style and quality in a product. I am sure that in a couple of years our initial junior customers will increasingly identify with the brand, precisely because of the values we pass on—made of tailoring, 100 percent Italian products and a selection of absolute quality. Of course, all the opportunities for enhancing our proposal, if chosen directly by the protagonists of our time, serve as inspirations for everyone.
ESQ: Clearly the pandemic has affected the creative aspect somewhat for the autumn/winter 2021 collection. I’m seeing a lot more attention paid to comfort and casual pieces in the collection. Can you talk more about the idea behind designing for our new, more homely lifestyles?
FILIPPO RICCI: I sincerely hope that soon we can all return to meet in person—to share a dinner with friends, a vacation, a real-life experience. But there is no doubt that this pandemic has had a profound impact on everyday life. When we realised that the crisis was not limited to a few weeks, we strengthened our proposal of sportswear, including cashmere jogging suits. Many customers wanted to participate in meetings from their computers, living in the intimacy of their homes without giving up on the personal pleasure of dressing for the enjoyment of feeling at ease. The new collections, including the next spring/summer collection, follow this direction by presenting more comfortable, softer jackets that accompany our days. But, I repeat, the world wants to go back to life.
ESQ: After experiencing various lockdowns, the 'back to nature' theme also seems appropriate. Stefano Ricci has always had an affinity for nature but it's even more pronounced for autumn/winter 2021. What are some of the elements from the collection that you're most proud of?
FILIPPO RICCI: We studied the outdoor world for a collection dedicated to the concept of lightness and comfort, even in the winter months. I would like to highlight a new blouson in nubuck crocodile and cashmere with a fisher fur collar, and a super light down coat with technical fabric and nappa leather paired with a matching duffle bag. For something more casual, the latest coat in a cashmere, silk and vicuña blend does the trick.
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ESQ: Has the idea and concept of luxury changed for the brand now that we’re slowly coming out of the pandemic?
FILIPPO RICCI: Luxury is more and more about paying attention to oneself. Buying products for your own personal pleasure, such as an exquisite suit, a sweater, a jogging suit, or a pair of sneakers with authentic luxury details. This is all combined with the pleasure of sharing these details with your loved ones and friends—this is a lesson we all learnt during the dark months of the pandemic. The theme of nature is a rediscovery of what surrounds us and fills us with energy, a source of inspiration and meditation.
ESQ: The world now seems even more uncertain and unpredictable than ever before. Has designing the next collection proved to be a challenge because of the uncertainty of what lies next?
FILIPPO RICCI: I truly believe that beauty always wins. So we have to keep researching and studying for collections that fit our customers in the various parts of their day. As I always say, it’s quite easy to satisfy our clients: they just want the very best.