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The king of men’s fashion

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Story by Joe Leary

Stefano Ricci

In the world of high fashion designers, Stefano Ricci proudly stands alongside the biggest names in the industry. And after more than 50 years at the helm, Ricci has earned his place among the very best, and developed an empire that has become among the most sought-after Italian luxury lifestyle brands available. It caters to a clientele with the most discriminate taste.

Everyone from CEOs to dignitaries and beyond is outfitted by Stefano Ricci. Founded in 1972 and originating out of the family home in Florence, Italy, Stefano and his wife Claudia created a line of men’s ties together with their two sons, Niccolo and Filippo. Thus a true family-owned business was born. Today, although there are 73 stores worldwide, Vancouver proudly boasts Stefano Ricci’s only Canadian boutique. Manuel Bernaschek is president and co-owner of Stefano Ricci Vancouver.

“We opened the store in 2017,” says Bernaschek of Canada’s sole location at 1139 West Georgia Street.

“The response was immediate and we were thrilled to see such support by Vancouver’s more international families that had recognized the brand from shopping in Beverly Hills, New York, Miami, Shanghai and Paris. “Although the fashion house is primarily known for its formal wear, Vancouverites have really appreciated the ultra-comfortable casual wear that the Stefano Ricci brand offers.”

Through the ensuing years, Stefano Ricci has been steadfast in his creations, refusing to compromise. Ricci believes that quality doesn’t equate to quantity, and maintains that mantra, fearing the term luxury is somewhat overused. Stefano Ricci offers luxury in the truest sense of the word. “Mr. Ricci believes in using the highest quality materials and making everything by hand,” he adds.

“Every so often someone will tell him that if he uses machine stitching on a certain jacket or maybe a lesser grade of leather or a different kind of zipper they would be able to sell 50 times more of them. “But Ricci tells them: ‘That world has no pleasure in it for me.’

“In men’s clothing of today the word ‘luxury’ has been abused and almost completely lost its meaning. Most companies are looking to lower costs and increase volume. “But the few who can afford Stefano Ricci see the importance of supporting the art of producing fine clothing that uses the highest quality material fabrics, the most traditional methods, and exclusive patterns not available to other brands.

” Simply put, their materials start where the others leave off. It’s been their stock in trade since their early days of making men’s ties in their Florence home. Further indication of the exclusivity of the workmanship is the Vancouver boutique’s annual ‘made to measure’ event which takes place every year from September 14-16.

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Mr. Stefano Ricci and sons Niccolò (left) and Filippo (right) visit their Canadian partner Manuel Bernaschek at the company’s 52nd store worldwide, and first Canadian location at 1139 West Georgia Street.

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“Mr. Ricci believes in using the highest quality materials and making everything by hand”

Whereas most brands will bring in a sales person to take the measurements, Stefano Ricci sends out a master tailor along with some special fabrics.

The event features champagne, hors d’oeuvres, and live jazz played on a $300,000 custom made Fazioli piano designed to match the shop’s interiors.

Aiming to be the finest event of its type in the entire country, it has already become the talk of the town amongst the city’s movers and shakers.

It’s the event where the local ‘who’s who’ get measured up for their next suit.

It’s a unique brand in that the clothing is only available in the branded stores, not at other retail outlets and, unlike competitors among menswear, there is never a marked-down sale price. It’s an expensive brand, to be sure, but as Ricci himself has said,

 “Our customers trust us to offer the very best and we have to, given the prices we charge. That’s just a mark of respect for the customer: that the price is, we think, always justified by the materials, the finishing and so on.” And for those unfamiliar with the brand, Manuel Bernaschek says their downtown Vancouver door is wide open for a visit.

“I welcome everyone to come in for a tour, even if they are not in the market for anything like this,” he says. “Just to appreciate what a privilege it is to have Stefano Ricci available in our city. The team will show you details you simply won’t be able to find with any other clothier in the city.”

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