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Trussardi has a moment. This Saturday during Milan Fashion Week, GmbH founders Benjamin A Huseby and Serhat Isik present their second collection for the 111-year-old Italian brand. Soon after, in October, the flagship Palazzo Trussardi in Milan’s Piazza della Scala reopens with a revamped shop and a world-class restaurant and café helmed by Michelin-starred chef Giancarlo Perbellini.
Huseby and Serhat, along with CEO Sebastian Suhl, are steering a turnaround for Trussardi aimed at attracting a new generation of consumers and rekindling the passion of former fans. Alongside revamped collections, they’re rethinking their retail network, e-commerce operations and marketing – a 360-degree approach they hope will help dust off the once-exciting brand.
Trussardi was founded in 1911 as a luxury glove brand. During the 1980s and 1990s it evolved into a pioneering contemporary ready-to-wear and leather goods label, building a global retail network that now includes 400 wholesale customers and 55 directly operated stores, as well as the flagship Palazzo Trussardi. However, the company struggled to maintain its relevance as the contemporary fashion category exploded. In 2017, it recorded a loss of EUR 30.6 million per year Reuters. Private equity firm QuattroR, which specializes in reviving ailing Italian companies, took a 60% majority stake in 2019 (the Trussardi family retains a minority stake).
Suhl, an industry veteran who has held senior positions at Valentino, Marc Jacobs, Givenchy and the Prada Group, joined Trussardi in October 2020 as CEO. Last year he designed in Huseby and Isik – best known for their Berlin-based, club-inspired brand GmbH – as creative directors to infuse him with youthful energy.
For their inaugural Fall/Winter 2022 season, the duo showcased a slightly subversive all-black and textured collection that some critics saw as a radical departure from Trussardi’s past, despite being inspired by the brand’s archive. For Spring/Summer 2023, the duo plan to “expand” the Trussardi wardrobe with new products based on staples they’ve seen walking the streets of Milan, subverted by their angular lenses.
In an extensive interview, Suhl, Huseby and Isik talk about their common vision for the future of Trussardi.
Vogue shop: Trussardi is one of the oldest fashion houses in Italy. How would you describe the legacy and what did you make of it when you first joined?
Benjamin A Huseby: Our first impression of Trussardi is based on personal memories from the late 1990s, when we saw very minimalistic campaigns with cool models of the time in leather. And then, after working here and digging in the archives, we did what we call an “excavation” of what Trussardi is and can be. It has a very rich history. In the 1980s and 1990s it was a truly forward-thinking brand in so many aspects, from retail to campaigns. It was all quite surprising.