Europe sets the stage for American Apparel

By Shelley Pittman:

From an exclusive tailor shop in Rome in 1945, two men, Gaetano Savini, a well-connected Roman socialite, and Nazareno Fonticoli, a master tailor trained in Savile Row, combined forces to develop what is notably one of Italy’s most famous designer suit brands. By the 1950’s, Brioni had revolutionized the men’s suit industry. Hollywood royalty – Gary Cooper, Cary Grant, Henry Fonda and John Wayne – all sported fine wool suits made in Italy by Brioni. Runway fashion shows now featured men’s collections; New York was taken by storm.

Over the next two decades, Italy’s mastery of the men’s clothing industry set the standard. No more did the aristocrat seek out his favorite Shoppe in Savile Row, now he wore Italian. The exportation of Italian products into the international marketplace, especially the United States, had begun. High-end luxury retailers in the United States quickly switched their allegiance from American brands to meet the ever-increasing demand for Italian menswear. Donning an masterfully hand-tailored Italian suit is a statement of affluence and impeccable taste; a suit for the discerning man who subscribes to style.

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Sharam Sharei came to San Francisco in the sixties. He has seen fashion trends come and go, reflecting the mood and spirit of the decade – the turbulent sixties, the jeans-crazy seventies, the upscale eighties and the “casual Friday” nineties. Despite all the fads, – from minis to midis to platform shoes to combat boots – there is one constant in fashion that never goes out of style, and that is style itself. Sharei established the first Barcelino store at Post and Mason by Union Square, the heart of the city. His mission was to enhance the already world-famous fashionable reputation of San Francisco and the Bay Area, by presenting current collections season after season, which would exude a spirit of confidence and the feeling of sophisticated elegance.

Barcelino is where the skillful tradition of Hand tailored Italian Suits and Jackets for men by Belvest, Ravazzolo, and Pal Zileri, are beautifully showcased alongside some of the most elegant body fitting cocktail dresses and evening gowns for women. Barcelino’s passion for the art of fashion design is clearly present in its unparalleled collection of sportswear, business wear, and formal wear, through out its five San Francisco Bay area stores. From the unique and exquisite fabric and textile designs of Jhane Barnes sport shirts to an eclectic and extensive assortment of Italian made sweaters.

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The rich array of Lamb skin leather and baby goat suede outerwear by Torras of Spain are tastefully displayed next to some of the most sought after selection of slacks by the popular Italian pant maker, Zanella. Barcelino’s Italian pant selection is unmatched with plain front as well as two pleat and three pleat pant models. From Germany, you can also find a huge selection of five pocket jeans and casual pants by Alberto which is famous for the wrinkle free, stretch fabric Ceramica pants, great for travel.

“Quality, Fashion and Value,” the key tenet of Barcelino’s mission statement and this is what has precisely has kept Barcelino at the forefront of the high-end apparel business for more than 20 years. L’uomo Vogue, Europe’s leading fashion magazine, featured Barcelino as one of America’s top 20 fashion shops. San Jose Magazine selected Barcelino as the “best men’s store” in Silicon Valley for the past 5 years running.

Remember to pack light while visiting San Francisco, because you’ll need room for that elegant addition to your wardrobe!

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Shelley Pittman
www.a-toast-to-life.com