The brand wears its 104 years with extreme nonchalance. Truth be told, it has become more and more dynamic with each passing year. We’re talking about Trussardi, iconic brand of Italian fashion, founded as a glove company in 1911, inspired by Dante, the progenitor and official supplier of the English monarchs. Today, it is a lifestyle brand with a 400 million euros turnover in fashion, culture, food, and design. “These are the four areas in which Italy excels,” points out Beatrice Trussardi, chairwoman and CEO of the Group until last year.
She was in New York when she received news of her father’s passing. At the age of 28, she took over the reins of the company alongside her brother Francesco. Today, Ms. Trussardi has handed things over to her younger brother Tomaso, married to Michelle Hunziker, the Swiss TV personality. In 2012, Bilanz magazine named Ms. Trussardi the highest paid Swiss woman with annual earnings of 8.2 million euros. The chairwoman now manages Fondazione Trussardi, returning to her true and original passion: contemporary art. She has created an itinerant museum that travels around Milan. The format has successfully attracted international acclaim; even Bloomberg TV took an interest with a programme in which she is described as one of the inspiring minds of Europe.
It was actually her father Nicola who opened up the Group to art and culture by producing theatre costumes, inaugurating fashion shows at La Scala. The bond with art was confirmed four years ago at the Centenary celebrations: the closing event was entrusted to the first solo exhibition of the Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist. With Ms. Trussardi, the company reaches its fourth generation, and is still 100 percent family owned. “Naturally,” she says, “we fight a daily battle with increasingly competitive markets; the cyclical crises are so close to each other that there is no time to recover. On the one hand, we ask ourselves how we can be increasingly competitive, and on the other hand we have to tighten our belts because the moment is a really difficult one.” What is the secret behind longevity? “Remaining faithful to your DNA, to the brand’s signature emblem: that symbol of an effortless elegance.”
A mother of two children, Ruggero and Tancredi, Ms. Trussardi has strongly championed La Grande Madre exhibition currently running in Milan. “It focuses on both motherhood and on the power of women. The power to generate, but also the power that is denied or inhibited due to the widespread clichés and mindsets that impact perception and, consequently, the freedom that is given to women” she explains. We asked her what motherhood adds to or takes away from a woman. “It’s an incredible expression of one’s own power of creation,” she says, “It removes individual freedom. It becomes natural to put your child first and yourself second. However, as time progresses you find a balance, things change depending on age.” What are you like as a mother or, in other words, how do you see yourself? “My children will answer that,” she replied. “Life, in any case, teaches that when your child reaches a certain age they go through the classic rebellious phase, in which they accuse the parent of having done wrong. I am prepared for that.” We know that her father, the elegant and cultured Nicola Trussardi, was the mind behind the atelier for decades. What does Ms. Trussardi owe to her mother, and what to her father? “My mother was a model of integrity, she was the one who laid down the law, she was the stricter of the two, the one who insisted on good manners. Dad would give us more freedom, he wanted to teach us by example. Mum tried to compensate for that.”
The Trussardi family has been one of the most glamorous families of Italy: extremely wealthy, beautiful, always in the spotlight. Then two consecutive bereavements shook the family when father and son died prematurely in road accidents in the space of only a few years. What traces remain of your family bereavements? Ms. Trussardi gave a well-thought out response. “Death is the only certainty in life. We are accompanied by people who will leave us sooner or later. It is just something that we have to come to terms with. In our society, death is taboo, the idea of living as long as possible is emphasized, and science supports this. In other cultures death is experienced as a natural passage.”
Gruppo Trussardi is one of the fashion brands that are still firmly Italian. What do you think of the Italian luxury fashion brands that have gone foreign? “Bulgari, Fendi.. they have all been acquired by LVMH. It is something that has been happening in many sectors. Just think of Pirelli, Italcementi.. The market has widened, it has become global, we need to be organised to be able to tackle it otherwise we’ll have no future, and the same is happening in fashion, food, art…”
Article by Piera Anna Franini