Cerruti, Nino

(1930- )
   Born Antonio Cerruti in Biella, Italy, he represents the third generation of management of Lanificio Cerruti, the high-quality wool textile production company founded in 1881.
   He studied philosophy with hopes of being a writer but instead, in 1950, entered the family business at age twenty. In 1957, Cerruti launched a line of menswear called Hitman and designed costumes for plays. In 1960, he became head of the company and, in 1961, hired designer Giorgio Armani to design. Cerruti's first men's collection was shown in 1967 and was considered a revolution in menswear. The same year, he opened a Paris boutique, which became a frequent stop for movie studios and movie stars. Cerruti's charisma and penchant for theatrics were as famous as his clothes. He used publicity stunts to self-promote, such as when he painted Lancia convertibles blue then paraded them down the streets of Rome and onto the runway where a starlet broke a bottle of champagne on the hood. Cerruti became Hollywood's favorite tailor and his love for publicity made for a perfect marriage. His clothes appeared both on and off the big screen: on American, French, and Italian movie celebrities including Terence Stamp, Michael Caine, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Alain Delon, Richard Gere, Jack Nicholson, Clint Eastwood, and Harrison Ford and in the films Pretty Woman, Wall Street, and The Witches of Eastwick. In 1971, Armani left the company to open his own house and, in 1976, Cerruti launched a women's line. Then, the Cerruti Sports Line was launched in 1980 and, in 1995, Cerruti jeans. In an attempt to update a somewhat staid image, the company launched Couture Arte and hired American designer Narcisso Rodriquez in 1996. However, Rodriquez was replaced a year later and for the next several years the company experienced a revolving door of designers. Cerruti retired and sold the business to Finpart in 2001. Roberto Menichetti (Italian) was brought in as creative director but lasted only six months; he was replaced by Yugoslavian Istvan Francer, who was replaced by David Cardona (American) in 2003. In addition to the clothing lines, Cerruti also offers footwear, watches, sunglasses, handbags, beauty products, and a dozen fragrances.

Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry. .

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