LONDON, United Kingdom — Brioni has appointed Nina-Maria Nitsche as its new creative director, effective immediately.
Nitsche previously worked at Maison Martin Margiela. She joined the brand in 1989 and, for the following 23 years, worked closely with the designer. After the designer’s resignation, in 2009, Nitsche took over the creative direction of Maison Martin Margiela.
“I am honoured to collaborate with the house of Brioni. Thanks to its long sartorial history, Brioni has the potential to redefine its position as a unique luxury brand. The house’s philosophy is based on a pioneering approach to menswear. My aim is to reinforce and invigorate this longstanding tradition,” said Nitsche, who is the first female creative director to lead the brand.
“I am very pleased to welcome Nina-Maria Nitsche to the house of Brioni. Ever since I met her in 1996, I have been impressed by her creative approach, starting from a clearly defined concept and then transforming that into products that accurately resonate with the customer. Her point of view will allow the brand’s core values to prosper and yet inject a contemporary dialogue that will enable Brioni to evolve into the future,” said Brioni chief executive Fabrizio Malverdi.
“I am delighted to welcome Nina-Maria Nitsche to Brioni and within Kering. Nina-Maria has a very accurate understanding of the Brioni man and she will bring a comprehensive and articulate creative vision to the house. I am sure that, together with Fabrizio Malverdi, she will build on the house’s tradition of exceptional craftsmanship to propel Brioni into a new dynamic,” added François-Henri Pinault, chairman and chief executive of Kering, Brioni's parent company.
The appointment of a female creative director at a menswear brand marks yet an unconventional move for Brioni, which is going through a time of transition and has been trying to re-assert itself in luxury menswear market following a series of leadership changes. In April, Malverdi replaced former chief executive Gianluca Flore, who left the company in February.
Nitsche replaces Justin O’Shea, Brioni’s former creative director, whose abrupt departure was announced in October after just six months in the post. The appointment of O’Shea — a former buyer and social media star with no formal training or experience as a designer — was a highly unconventional move for the brand. During O’Shea’s short tenure at Brioni, he showed a self-referential collection that was met with mixed reviews and released an advertising campaign starring heavy metal band Metallica that was seen as a radical departure for the brand.
Brioni, which was founded in Rome in 1945, is best known for its traditional suiting and has long held links to the film industry. Kering (then known as PPR) acquired Brioni in 2012. Today, Brioni’s offering encompasses men's ready-to-wear, shoes, leather goods, jewellery and fragrances, as well as eyewear, which is produced through Kering’s eyewear division.
While Kering does not break out the performance of Brioni in its financial reports, the company was among the 10 brands in its Other Luxury brands division that reported €1.7 billion ($1.9 billion) in revenues in 2016.