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    A MATTER OF HEART – HISTORY OF BELVEST

    Mr: RIccardo Della Piazza, owner of Belvest tailoring company. Text by Giansandro Cantori Photo by Cristian Murianni

    That of Belvest is a tale of an everyday luxury that is meant to be experienced, and not blindly followed or endured. I must say that this noun, luxury, has lost its meaning over time. For many it is an oversimplistic external representation of a concept that should always stay connected to the uniqueness and quality of a product. Luxury is part of a concept of exclusivity, a common thread that weaves through production centers such as Padua, for example, to the great capitals of London, Milan, Paris, Shanghai, New York, passing through today’s most exclusive boutiques. Luxury should not feel like an obligation, a binding fetish, rather a way to satisfy one’s desire for uniqueness and beauty.

    Contemporary  luxury 

    I ask Riccardo Della Piazza, the third generation, how the Belvest company was born. It all started in 1964 thanks to the intuition of his grandfather who, starting in the post-war period from the sale of fabrics, came to think of their making as a ready-made suit, right from the start, fundamental in the relationship with customers was the keyword Quality.

    Riccardo did classical studies, and if he hadn’t been an entrepreneur he would have been a high school teacher, he is a refined cultured man, a bon vivant, who has solid roots, a culture made of history, learned quotations in Latin, philosophical concepts that they are grafted onto an industrial management culture.

    The word luxury means excess, superabundance. He believes that luxury starts from far away and Italy is the most beautiful country in the world where history has existed for hundreds of years comes out of a cultural stratification, an engine that desire to improve.

    Luxury for Riccardo is summed up in a from Madame Chanel’s quote “a need that begins where necessity ends” this research must be preserved because you need to know where you come from to understand where you are going. We cannot limit ourselves to necessity, because otherwise the search for beauty, for the unique, stops. A line that connects two points and passes only one, so you need to preserve the ancient knowledge inherent in the art of doing, projecting them into a moremodern future, having the feeling of satisfying the need to always feel at ease.

    Riccardo remembers a quote from a Japanese writer KAZUKO OKAKURA, who wrote that “when man realized he was in contact with uselessness, at that precise moment he entered the world of art.”

    Quality discovery

    Luxury therefore as the fulfillment of beauty but the engine inherent in man who is naturally predisposed to the pursuit of this. The ancient knowledge of doing must therefore be safeguarded and projected into the near future, adapted to make the user feel at ease.

    Time is, as always, an indicator of the relationship in the construction of a quality product. We went around the factory focusing on some departments where, in addition to processing with machinery, there is still a fundamental intervention of the artisan workers, in the constructive relationship that consists of many manual steps.

    Also in Belvest this is an indicator of the quality that intervenes in the creation of a garment. I would like to remind Riccardo that he too, like many other entrepreneurs, has inherited this company from the family over the years, an heritage that is more than 50 years old.

    Belvest, for example, is still one of those companies where canvas is soaked in large tanks before processing, and many of the steps in the construction of a canvas jacket are still manual. Riccardo always tought that luxury must make concessions to information, because knowledge distinguishes and becomes knowledge. It is necessary to transfer the love with which the garments are made to the final customer, a long process that concerns what today is the customer care as they say, creates customers informed and satisfied with what they wear every day, preserve to make known.

    Whatever has been stratified over time, we must preserve this quality for this knowledge to survive.

    Riccardo has an advice for customers who want to approach this topic, when they buy they should do it with their eyes closed and when they find something interesting, they have to stop. Touch as a tool of choice, privileges quality because you come into direct contact with the product, in the company you can experience new things starting from the concept of the classic. Discovery happens by opening the eyes.

    Those were the days.

    Belvest for Riccardo is not just a company, but a laboratory where insights are mixed with excellent workmanship to arrive at a final, which is spreading the knowledge of beauty as in a Socratic process. Helping knowledge through the passion for beauty.

    At this point I ask Riccardo if he remembers, despite he is younger than me, the golden age of men’s fashion, the fashion shows in Florence at Palazzo Pitti. A world that I also remember seeing through the black and white images. black on articles and books, where above all a classic 2 or 3-piece formal dress was seen on the catwalk, so different from the proportions used by today’s stylists. As a boy, I wore classic flared trousers with a velvet jacket and moccasins with a rounded shape typical of the period, which horrified my father, great cobbler from Milan who counted that he already designed shapes and models of a Bespoke very similar to the Berluti of our times. We wore wide and high collars of shirts, big knots of large ties and we had Massimo Ranieri as a model, who was already sporting “pinstripe” suits made by some Neapolitan tailor. It’s been 50 years since then I ask Riccardo how Belvest went through it in the midst of this style revolution. A path of class, Belvest’s love for research, a great user of fabrics from Italian and English suppliers even in those times. Riccardo recalls that his grandfather was invited to Buckingham Palace as a user and ambassador to Italy of British fabrics.

    Tailoring: I like this word. It reminds me of a delicatessen where you can find handcrafted gourmet products. We must never remain stuck on concepts of the past but the transformation year after year into current products that the market can appreciate. Belvest as an international style, reaching out to the American, Russian, Japanese markets,

    I tell a chat gathered around that reads, “The competition says that Belvest is really a great quality tailoring”, said by colleagues and competing companies, I consider it one of the best compliments. Memories of yesteryear emerge chatting, grandfather’s friendship with characters of the caliber of Ciro Paone, Angelo Blasi and other protagonists of
    those times in which Riccardo defines relationships as of great affability and mutual esteem, the comparison between the major players in the sector that is no longer there, a healthy comparison between companies that are not even competitors in my opinion, because they move on a land, that of quality and creativity that should not fear the comparison between the best, but must rather hope for their healthy belonging.
    The time you can share with the people you have work relationships with is now lost.

    The Bespoke

    There is a question that I always like to ask those who belong to this world “What does the word Bespoke mean to you? which is its meaning for Belvest ”. It is a quality mark

    Accompanies the customer in his choice. Thousands of possible combinations of fabrics and processes to reach a sample of 2.000 fabrics, 100.000 are seen, and then there is the intervention of tailors, tailoring for the measurements and processing of the garments.What does it mean today to be a family company? Important families who still own the companies and who are personally responsible and involved in the management of them, coaudivated by managers and specialists, but still in the name of the family are concentrated decisions and responsibilities towards customers, suppliers, employees. There is a large representation of female workers in Belvest, for three or four generations mothers, daughters, grandchildren who take over from one another, they are people with first and last names, not numbers. Riccardo’s mother knows them one by one, and every time one goes through seniority, they are cried like in a big family, in family companies, it is often like being at home, and this affects everyone’s work, because everyone is driven by personal pride to work well, because in these companies the reputation of those who work there coincide with that of the company itself.

    How important is working and transferring a quality experience to your brand concerning heritage and history?

    Riccardo answers smiling

    He doesn’t think we can talk about the transfer of experience in the history of the Belvest brand. Those who have turned to Belvest over the years have done so because they knew they would find the best of the Italian sartorial tradition, but also something more. They knew that the loving pride that Belvest tailors put into their work would translate into perfectly crafted garments, as few others would be able to create.

    Riccardo does not want to take the step longer than the leg ,by having a clear image where you are positioned in time and space, without distorting the current story, implementing all the actions and strategies to get to that degree of brand improvement that you want, solinking an image to something historical to be preserved by working with the past but looking to the future.
    Belvest is among the brands with the highest manufacturing quality in the world. The brand has a distinctive history and owes its high-end market positioning to its exacting quality standards that fully reflect the company’s work ethic.

    Future market.

    Fabrics, processing techniques, capsules an epochal change in the post Covid market.
    Online sales and new points for the sale of products around the world. What will change soon. Application of fabric technology, for example the comfort of jersey, a dress that does not wrinkle does not fold and quickly puts itself back in place, use of fabrics with fibers that have protection against the virus and derive from lotus flower, graphene, fabrics that ranging from vicugna to anti-bullet, Belvest a curiosity produces tailor- made vests in bulletproof materials, which are normally worn even under ready-to-wear clothes, absolutely maintaining the prerogatives of elegance combined with the technology required in the use of objects for defense personal. Today, more attention is paid to the travel segment, frequent flyer a category that must feel protected and comfortable with what they wear more and more and no concession to what does not satisfy comfort and quality on long international journeys.

    Jacketinthebox, unexpected gift

    Jacketinthebox, on the other hand, represents creativity in freedom, a winning gift idea, an object of the heart easy to buy to give in a bowed box, to tell a man that perhaps he has everything, this is your gift. taste in combinations of textures and colors always very careful.
    I personally love this product, born by chance, but with construction specifications that make it a must have of the brand.

    Completely deconstructed and unlined outerwear, you buy it and wear it like a shirt, high-class fabrics, very fine cashmere, vicuna jacket with a hand that I would define, a cloud of warmth
    And in summer it represents the equivalent of the Cuban guayabera, a jacket shirt worn cool and informal, on sporty and elegant occasions. The Jacket fits everywhere even in a 48 hour bag, good for a trip, an evening, a work commitment.

    This is what I would like my partner to give me, a gesture of love that is received like a box of chocolates.In the summer you can make a concession in linen with a viro block treatment, and that cool attitude of the faux crumpled linen.
    The long chat with Riccardo is coming to an end, but I still have to know some things.

    Future scenarios

    What do you want to do when you grow up Riccardo? Are you waiting for the Sheikh on duty and selling everything?
    I expect the answer is obvious but it arrives on time. I absolutely don’t think about it, he replies shaking his head and hair, indeed I hope to deliver it in the future to my daughter as my mother did to me. Grandfather missed me when I was a boy and Belvest passed on to her mother.

     Founder Nicoletto has always had a deep passion for raw materials, from fabrics and buttons, to every tiny detail that a suit consists of. He had a profound knowledge of materials, and in the 60’s he decided to found an outfitters using the same material he sold to others to make suits that conformed to his own high quality standards. A path similar to another giant in the sector, Cavaliere Ciro Paone, patron of Kiton to whom he was bound by a deep friendship. Since 1964 the first major customers, who buy the Belvest brand in the world, Barney’s in New York.

    Riccardo remembers Mr. Pressman, owner of the prestigious department store, who spent a few days in the company to place orders. The mother, another central figure, led the company and then handed it over to Riccardo with great professionalism and some insights that would have anticipated the market such as the creation of a Belvest Usa, created especially for the nascent American market.

    Let’s finish this story while I provocatively vaticanize Riccardo his real next job, you will be a chef.Riccardo has been juggling professionally for some time on an equal footing with the couplets and elegiacs of Latin authors, and he mentions me when his friend Gianfranco Vissani visited him at home and they are immortalized in a picture in which Riccardo cooks and Gianfranco observes.

    A surprise classy lunch

    The ending now told separately. A surprise lunch , destination the nearby Le Calandre, in Rubano.

    One of the best Italian restaurants. The patron chef Massimiliano Alajmo awaits us. Massimiliano and Riccardo have been friends since they were
    kids. I sense this long-standing relationship of complicity between the two. They set us up in a 6-seat room, a private lunch that we are pleased to be presented dish after dish by Massimiliano himself. It goes without saying that all the diners were extraordinarily satisfied with the culinary performance, While we were taking some portraits and tasting portions of great culture paired with excellent wines, I realized for the umpteenth time where the secret of us Italians lies. Best in the world in everything we do. As long as there will be the Riccardo and Massimiliano who believe in their work, put effort, time, money, professionalism and creativity, we must not be afraid, we must not close the doors to hope. The beauty, the quality will always save us. After all, they told me as a child that Italy is a country of saints and navigators and poets; today also of artists, chefs and tailors.

    And everything they do is always a matter of heart.

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