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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Rain delay

I was all set for a week of bright spring colors and light fabrics, and then the weather turned rainy and chilly and completely dreary. There was nothing to do but dress darkly and warmly, with corduroy trousers, tweed jacket, and a Kandinsky-inspired Nino Cerruti tie. Nino Cerruti took over his family's fine-wool textile business in Biella, Italy in 1950, at the age of 20, upon his father's death. In 1957 he revolutionized the industry by making the company the first textile mill to launch its own clothing line, Hitman. In 1961 (or 1964, accounts vary) Cerruti hired a young Giorgio Armani to design menswear; Armani would remain with Cerruti until 1970. In 1967, Cerruti opened his own fashion house in Paris, Cerruti 1881 (after the founding year of the original company). Cerruti helmed the business (overseeing several offshoots) until 2001, when he sold it to Italian holding company Finpart, who subsequently licensed the Cerruti name to Rezidor SAS Hospitality (the European Radisson franchise holder) to create the Cerruti hotel brand. However, it appears that Finpart was declared bankrupt last year, dragged down under massive debt incurred by Cerruti France. These chains of holding companies, corporate licensing agreements, joint ventures, and other financial contrivances of modern business make my head spin. It shouldn't take that much to make a nice tie. It's when you want to make more than one that trouble looms.

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