Made in Mantua: The Corneliani Story
One of only a handful of brands that can truly claim to be part of Italy’s great tailoring heritage, Corneliani have become a by-word for meticulous sartorial excellence. Best known for their suits and sportcoats, they stitch together the vast history of Italian menswear with a kind of refined, modern panache that is hard to find as well executed. So, how did a small family run business from a small Italian city go on to take over the world? It all started with raincoats.
Alfredo Corneliani started making coats, raincoats and outerwear way back in the 1930s in a small city called Mantua. He spent years studying the craft and quickly mastered the makings of a perfect coat; the fit, the detail, and the finish. Soon enough, he’d established himself as one of the leading names in Italian fashion and was set to take on the world. Unfortunately, this success didn't last long. By the time the 40s rolled around, and the tanks rolled out, there was little room for luxuries. As the cold hands of World War II gripped Italy, Corneliani’s was forced to close its doors.
"...As it turned out, the passion for fine men’s clothing ran deep in the Corneliani bloodline."
But, as you may have gathered, that was by no means the end of the Corneliani story. As it turned out, the passion for fine men’s clothing ran deep in the Corneliani bloodline. Alfredo’s two sons, Claudio and Carlalberto, took up the thimble and threader as soon as they could. By 1958, the two brothers had established Corneliani S.p.A., and in doing so birthed a giant of men’s high fashion.
From the late 50s through the 60s, the Corneliani brand went from strength to strength to prestige. A regular at fashion fairs like the Turin International, they became renowned as a fashion powerhouse, developing both made to measure and ready to wear items of the highest quality. A source of national pride, they remained faithful to their roots, opting for Italian materials and Italian manufacturing over anything second rate. In 1972, as they continued to expand, this dedication to the motherland was sealed with the opening of a huge factory and headquarters back where it all started, Mantua.
It was in the 80s, the decade that fashion forgot, that Corneliani really displayed their mastery; finding the balance between modernity and heritage. Their collections showed a brand that was confident with where it had come from but one that wasn't scared to remain relevant. With pieces that borrowed from the essence of the times but still radiated a timelessness, Corneliani captured the imagination of the American market. In 1986, headed up by Alfredo’s grandson, Sergio, Corneliani USA was set up to meet the needs of an Italia-hungry American market.
"...To this day Corneliani still excel at what they do. They still make heritage couture for the modern man and they still make it in Italy."
In 1991, Corneliani was awarded the Cavaliere del Lavoro. An accolade reserved for the best of the best of Italian commerce. Since then, Corneliani has continued their global tour de force, opening mono-brand boutiques around the world all the while staying true to their principles in design and quality. In 2005, Corneliani finally gained recognition for their commitment to Italy, receiving the Leonardo Prize for Quality, awarded by the President of Italy to Italian companies dedicated to producing high-quality, Italian-made goods.
Cornelliani Navy Blazer
To this day Corneliani still excel at what they do. They still make heritage couture for the modern man and they still make it in Italy. Now offering multiple fitting types in their jackets, a range of polos, and a perfected mix of casual and formal footwear, they make it easy to find a fit for the man and a fit for the occasion. What’s more, their made to measure service is never out of stock and is proudly available for customers whatever their sizing requirements.
As a family brand, with three generations of heritage behind it, you can’t miss the quality in Corneliani. In every stitch and every cut, there’s three generations of passion, three generations of care, and three generations of expertise. In every garment, there’s a history that leads all the way back to Alfredo’s first raincoat in that first boutique in Mantua.
Want to see more Corneliani? Shop our full range here.