At Brioni, Norbert Stumpfel makes clothes that feel good

To describe the design philosophy behind his collections at Italian menswear brand Brioni, Norbert Stumpfel invokes the work of Swiss architect Valerio Olgiati. In particular, Villa Alem in rural Portugal, a monolithic modern house inspired by the 14th-century Court of the Myrtle in Granada’s historic Alhambra. Slanted walls around the exterior give the appearance of the house opening up “like a shoebox,” as Stumpfl describes, while the rectangular reflecting pool at Court of the Myrtles has been replaced with an elongated pool built into a stark concrete courtyard. Olgiatti said he wanted a place where he and his wife could feel “abandoned.”

“It’s very discounted, it’s very powerful,” Stumpfel says from his sparse, white-walled office in Brioni’s headquarters in Piazza San Bernardo, a small square on Rome’s historic Quirinal Hill. “It’s something I always go for: this kind of understating, the desire to make something simpler, while leaving a strong image. In the fittings of the collection, we put a lot of detail into trying things out. Then we take things off until we get to the place where (the garment) speaks for itself.” .

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