Brioni and a Disciple, Angelo Roma

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Pierce Brosnan in a Brioni pinstripe suit in The World Is Not Enough
Pierce Brosnan in a Brioni three-piece suit in The World Is Not Enough

Brioni is very well-associated with making James Bond’s suits in the five films from GoldenEye to Casino Royale, tailoring both Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig under supervision of costume designer Lindy Hemming. But years before Pierce Brosnan took over the James Bond role in 1995, Brioni’s style came to the Bond series in 1977 when Angelo Roma provided Roger Moore’s suits for The Spy Who Loved Me, and then again two years later in Moonraker. Angelo Vitucci, a former manager of Brioni Coutoure and Brioni model, started Angelo Roma. Angelo Roma is not to be confused with the more famous and adventurous Roman fashion house Angelo Litrico, You can read more about Angleo Vitucci’s time with Brioni in this article and this article in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Alan Flusser wrote about Vitucci in his 1996 book Style and the Man:

Via Bissolati, 34
Rome

As the former manager of Brioni, the late Angelo Vitucci had flair, finesse, and enough of a following to open his own shop in 1963. Rome was afire then, and where better to enjoy the blaze than around the corner from Brioni itself … From the choice spot, Angelo attained instant success. He negotiated licences in England, the United States, and Japan. His roster of celebrities included the likes of Frank Sinatra, Tony Curtis, Telly Savalas, and the shah of Iran. Today the store garbs the royal Fayad family, the sheik of Kuwait, and other dresssers from the Middle East who are small and who like his slim, fitted, hand-styled look …

Here among the camel rugs, black Breuer chairs, and chrome spotlights, is the custom-made clothing tailored like soft armor with firmness and structure. Compared to the Brioni house style, Angelo’s shoulders are slightly wider and more sloped, but resolutely self-conscious.

Flusser writes much more about the production in-house of the bespoke suits as well as some of the ready-to-wear suits.

Though Angelo Vitucci’s style different slightly from Brioni’s, he essentially brought Brioni’s Roman silhouette to his own suits. The Roman silhouette is based closely on the English military and equestrian cut popularised by tailors like H. Huntsman, Henry Poole and Dege & Skinner, and it is defined by powerful, straight and padded shoulders, often with roped sleeve heads, a clean chest and a suppressed waist. Though the style of Roger Moore’s suits in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker is eclipsed by wide lapels and flared trouser legs, the cut of the suit jacket is classic and not far removed from classic examples of Brioni’s tailoring. In the image below on the right, I’ve narrowed Moore’s lapels to a balanced width—as well as narrowed the tie and shortened and widened the collar—to demonstrate what a classic cut the suit has. Compare it to the original suit on the left below.

Angelo-Comparison
Roger Moore wearing a grey dupioni silk suit Angelo Roma suit in Moonraker

The suit in the altered image essentially has the same look as a classic Brioni suit. If the gorge (the seam where the collar meets the lapels) wasn’t so curved, it almost looks like it could be from Savile Row! English tailors typically cut their gorges straighter than the Italians, though some Italians also cut their gorges very straight. It’s amazing what a difference just the width of the lapels makes to the perception of the chest size and shoulder width. The balanced lapel width gives Moore a more masculine chest without making him look barrel-chested like in his suits in The Saint do. Angelo Vitucci is quoted in a 1954 article in the Panama City News-Herald about Brioni tailoring:

“‘Mainly,’ comments Signor Vitucci, ‘our suits are designed to camouflage figure faults, like bow legs or other unfortunate handicaps.’ No cuffs on Brioni’s trousers. It’s not a matter of saving cloth but saving appearance. Uncuffed trousers, explains Angelo, give a clean, uncluttered look and are more hygienic besides, since they do not catch dust.”

Brioni appears to have changed their mind about trouser turn-ups when they made Pierce Brosnan’s trousers. Though James Bond’s relationship with Italian tailoring started with a disciple of Brioni, Brioni finally came to the James Bond series sixteen years after Moonraker in GoldenEye.

Charcoal Windowpane-Cream Shirt
Pierce Brosnan wearing a charcoal windowpane Brioni suit in GoldenEye

The excellent book Dressed to Kill: James Bond, The Suited Hero names Checchino Fonticoli as Brioni’s master tailor who fits Pierce Brosnan in his suits for GoldenEye. He was capable of altering Brioni’s house style to make just the right look for James Bond in the 1990s. Lindy Hemming’s is quoted in the book saying, “I wanted a company which was capable of tailoring in the Savile Row manner”. Brioni’s Roman style is certainly reminiscent of military Savile Row tailoring as I mentioned above, though, as stated in the book, Hemming also wanted the suits to look current just as Anthony Sinclair’s suit did in the 1960’s:

“We discussed style and proportion and came up with a very modern jacket shape; although classic, it is slightly longer and looks good with three buttons as well as two. I also wanted to incorporate traditional details such as ticket pockets which would suggest that the clothing might have come from Savile Row.”

Whilst Savile Row tailors, especially those in the military tradition, would probably not make their suit jackets as loose as Pierce Brosnan’s were in GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies, Hemming’s choice of Brioni was more for their ability to produce a large number of suits quickly than it was for their Italian style. As well as ticket pockets, Brosnan’s Brioni suits mostly have double vents and slanted pockets to carry on the illusion of an English suit. Hemming is also quoted in Dressed to Kill saying, “This man [Bond] must look immaculate, not strange or foppish or too fashionable.”

At the time, Brosnan’s suits could have been more fashionable if the trousers had triple pleats (like the trousers with his navy blazer in GoldenEye) or quadruple pleats instead of classic double pleats. But Lindy Hemming failed in not making Brosnan’s suits too fashionable since they have very full cut in his first two Bond films. The tight-fitting suit trend now as Daniel Craig wears in Skyfall makes the loose cut of Brosnan’s suit jackets even more apparent.

Hamburg-Charcoal-Suit
Pierce Brosnan wearing a charcoal flannel Brioni suit in Tomorrow Never Dies

Though Daniel Craig’s Brioni suits are cut trimmer like an English suit, they lack the English details that costume designer Lindy Hemming put on Brosnan’s suits, like the ticket pockets, slanted pockets and, usually, double vents. Craig’s Brioni suits have straight pockets and, on all but one, single vents, which are still classic styles and ultimately have no bearing on a suit’s style. Whilst Brosnan’s Brioni suits are characterised by their long, loose cut and low button stance, Craig’s Brioni suits have a trimmer cut and classic button stance like Moore’s Angelo suits, and a very high gorge. It’s difficult to draw direct comparisons between Moore’s, Brosnan’s and Craig’s Italian suits since they all reflect their contemporary fashions, but they all are tied together with the straight, padded shoulders and clean chest that define the Roman tailoring that Brioni made popular.

Charcoal-Blue-Suit
Daniel Craig wears a charcoal blue Brioni suit in Casino Royale

22 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks Matt!

    As to your alteration of Moore’s suit: IMHO it’s definitely an improvement – looks much cleaner and smarter.

    I must say that I am not mad about what Brioni did for Bond – neither Brosnan’s nor Craig’s Brioni suits impressed me very much. I am an admirer of the classic Savile Row cut which I think Brioni never came very close to. Especially Craig’s suit shown in the last image is not one of their finest (sleeves too long, overall cut far too loose etc.).

    “Hemming’s choice of Brioni was more for their ability to produce a large number of suits quickly than it was for their Italian style.” – Sounds a bit like “mass production” (which of course it isn’t) but the result should not look like as if it was.

    • Renard,

      I wouldn’t say that Craig’s suit in the first image is far too loose – I suspect that our eye has become accustomed to very tight suits in the past few years. If you notice, there is even a trace of an X-shaped crease around the button closure, which, in the old days, was thought to be indicative of a snug fit. I will agree that the sleeves are too long, though. No argument there!
      As far as Matt’s “photoshopping” Moore’s suit, I agree that it looks cleaner, more classical, and more balanced after being digitally retouched. And yet, and yet…there is something very luxurious, very opulent about the wider lapels, and especially about the way the wider tie “pops out” under the knot. The long collar is a different story – it was ugly in 1979 and it is ugly now.

  2. ‘Mainly,’ comments Signor Vitucci, ‘our suits are designed to camouflage figure faults…’

    I think this is why the suits in CR are my least favourite that Craig wore. While they are beautifully made suits, the built-up shoulders make him look “block-y”. In comparison, I find that the suits in QoS look a bit more elegant on him, and the suits in SF do a wonderful job of de-emphasizing his muscularity (which some might find bulky).

    In contrast, I think that Brosnan’s body type certainly benefited from the Brioni style. Regardless of how some of the suits appear too large for him, the general style does a good job of making him appear less slight, especially in GE.

  3. I’m impressed with Roger Moore’s digital makeover. Too bad you didn’t do that for Craig’s blocky CR suit. He looks like a Rock’em Sock’em robot wearing a jacket.

  4. Both suits look great but the altered one definitely has that timeless look. It is so refreshing to see the jacket cut to the right length!

  5. Very brilliant post,Matt!
    When you said that the Roman silhouette is based closely on the English,you have right,but some clarification is required:
    The “Roman” silhouette is indeed an “Abruzzese” silhouette,because the most important exponents of Roman tailoring school ( Domenico Caraceni,Ciro Giuliano,Cifonelli,Gaetano Savini of Brioni) were from Abruzzo.
    Is said (in the book “Sarti d’Abruzzo”/”Tailors from Abruzzo”) that the link with Savile Row started early,really in Abruzzo in Ortona a mare,the hometown of Domenico Caraceni.
    In late 1890s a kid Domenico was in training in the best tailorshop of Ortona.
    Here the cousins of the musicians Francesco Paolo Tosti (singing master to the children of Queen Victoria) sent for refitting the suits that Tosti gave their..suits from Henry Poole and others Savile Row tailors.
    So Domenico dismounted English clothes and learned the construction and cut techniques.
    His intuition was make suits in English style and silhouette,but less stiff and comfortables.
    Was born the Abruzzese style,that become Roman when the best tailors of Abruzzo moved to the Capitol.
    Brioni is Abruzzese in silhouette,but had the idea to create a new,more clean style.
    Italian men were more short that Anglo-Saxon,so the coat was more short too (but not “bumfreeze”),for slender the figure (and in reason to the dusty streets of after.war) he abolished cuffs on trousers.
    Only one pleat on trouser,slender lapels,two side vents,single breasted three bottons or double breasted with moderate overlapping,the use of silk,like shantung or thussor,but also beautifull dull silk clothes…and the Brioni style was born.

    About Angelo Vitucci,here a pictures from a 1956 Italian magazine,thet show the 1950s Brioni silhouette:

    http://s29.postimg.org/vsysju7if/07a1.png

  6. In my opinion the ideally shaped suit for Craig would have the jacket cut like the ones he wore in Quantum paired with trousers of the cut he wore in Casino Royale. How do you think that would work proportionally, Matt?

  7. Which one do you like better, the Angelo Roma suits on Moore or the Brionis on Brosnan and Craig? I like the look of the Brioni better because I think that it provides a really strong cut and look, and it gives a person a much stronger look? It’s a bummer that they shyed away from the strong roman cut, because most guys(including me) will want to look more muscular, and that is what the strong Roman cut of the Brioni suits in the movies provide. I don’t think that they are going to attract younger people by going with a natural shoulder because suits like that give too weak a look in my opinion. Why does everyone say that Craig looked bad in the Brioni suits? I agree that he does look better in Tom Fords, but many people say the Brionis were a bad look on Craig. I actually thought that he looked pretty good. How do you think that the Brionis looked on Craig?

    • I think Moore’s Angelo suits have the best cuts, but the wide lapels and flared trousers let them down. Overall, I think Brosnan’s suits in The World Is Not Enough look best. The Brioni shoulders were too strong for Craig, since he only needs light padding. The button stance was a little too high for him as well on the suits.

  8. What’s typical of the strong Brioni cut, besides the strong shoulders ?
    The chest is just clean and lightly suppressed -it depends on the films though-, so I have the impression it’s a common chest as it is often seen in ready-to-wear nowadays, thus nothing really out of the ordinary ?
    I am trying to have a made-to-measure suit made and I want to recreate the ‘typical Brioni cut’ as much as it is possible.

    • Brioni has the strong shoulders and just a lot of structure overall, but compared to English suit the structure is much softer and lighter. You’ll want roping in the shoulders. With made to measure you can pick a model that most closely fits this.

  9. Is there any ready to wear brand nowadays (whatever the origin is) that makes suits cut with a similar ‘Roman style’ ? Since it looks like Brioni current suits have nothing to do with the ones Craig and Brosnan wore.

    • I don’t know of any. The style unfortunately isn’t very popular these days. I’ve had to stop paying attention to most ready-to-wear clothing these days since all it does it disappoint me!

  10. Haha ! So true. It seems that every stylish piece of clothing is unpopular these days. At least you Americans have Paul Stuart. It would probably worth it if bought on sale. Their suits have quite an interesting style.

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