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CERRUTI BALERI
via F.Cavallotti, 8
Nino Cerruti: Natural Born Elegance. Couture Weds Design Under the Sign of the ‘Cult of Elegance
Adriana Mulassano – the ‘papess’ of fashion – has called him an 'enlightened businessman'.
In an interview for Esquire in 1987, he said this about himself, “I like to describe my activity as a modern version of the artisan’s workshop of centuries past. It is important to know the links of the chain. I consider myself very close to the theory of industrial design: the use of modern forms of technology to reach the market. It is a very modern challenge: the continuous harmonization of rationality, or the scientific world, and the emotional world, or art.”
In fifty years of activity – through the application of 'his' concept of 'industrial design' – he has consolidated the success of the Cerruti trademark worldwide thanks to the chain control of the various phases of the product: from the looms to packaging, from distribution to communication, in all of its forms. Hollywood included. Jack Nicholson wore Cerruti in The Witches of Eastwick, Julia Roberts and Richard Gere were also dressed Cerruti in Pretty Woman, as were Tomas Hanks and Denzel Washington in Philadelphia, and Cerruti took care of the outfitting for the television series Miami Vice. But that’s not all. Cerruti had cameo roles in the films Holy Man, Cannes Man and Catwalk, and it was among the first to get actors to walk down the runways in place of models at fashion shows. His first prêt-à-porter men’s collection, in 1957, was considered a true revolution at the time, on the same level as launching the first unisex items of clothing 10 years later, when he opened his first boutique on the Rue Royale in Paris – where he had also located his first quartier generale – with the aim of operating directly in the world capital of fashion.



F
or fifty years, he still is ahead of styles, trends, and approaches to marketing and to communication. A courageous innovator. Under the sign of elegance. Always. 'His' concept of ‘industrial design’ has been copied by many. That is the Nino Cerruti in his fashion period.
Today’s Nino Cerruti, the one we find in the venue Baleri Cerruti in via Cavallotti, is the Nino Cerruti of design, his new passion. In order to cultivate it he founded Baleri Italia in 2004. The firm has always developed products with strong formal and functional content, and combines constant talent-scouting – which has led to the discovery of hidden talents, first of all, in chronological order, the young Philippe Starck followed by Hannes Wettstein, Luigi Baroli and many others – and collaboration with acknowledged designers like Alessandro Mendini, Angelo Mangiarotti, Denis and Santachiara.
Baleri,” – says Nino Cerruti, – “is a firm that holds an important position in the world of Italian design: it was born when Italian design was born, and that’s why it is the carrier of very solid values, experience and know-how, to which we also want to add a certain impartiality and 'savoir faire' that comes from our experience in the world of fashion.
The evolution of the firm’s trademark – from Baleri to Baleri Cerruti – underlines this sum of values, which, when added together, come to design, that is to say, 'couture applied to design'. It is precisely through my way of seeing the transversality of phenomena that accompany our daily lives and that appear as different sides of the same coin, that I was curator of “Auto&Mobili” for the exhibit “Torino 2008 World Design Capital”. A bi-thematic exhibit at the Museo dell’Auto di Torino, it drew parallels between the evolution of and technological and esthetical research in design, through the historical automobiles in the collection of the Turin museum and the pieces of Baleri furniture that, through the years, have received important international recognition, like the Compasso d’Oro in 1994 for the screen Cartoons which, since 2001, has been placed in the permanent collection of the MOMA in New York. Automobiles and furniture to illustrate the esthetical and technological contamination of two historical, emblematic subjects of Made in Italy.
When I decided to enter the furniture sector – continues Nino Cerruti – I thought that a certain series of criteria that have guided my work in the fashion sector could recover their vitality and reason to exist here: not too academic, not too intellectualised, with a certain sensuality, a certain desire to live and see this profession in a very transversal way. I believe – at this point – that people no longer see a separation between art, design and fashion. It is precisely this transversality of the message – that today is one of the essences of fashion – that I think I bring in an extremely dynamic way to this world where aesthetic values are primordial, and so in a certain sense I feel somewhat at home.
Cerruti’s imprinting is evident in the products on display in the showroom in via Cavallotti, including the latest new entries presented for the International Furniture Exhibition (Salone del Mobile): Sumo, a family of upholstered furniture designed by Xavier Lust, St.Martin, a sectional system of sofas and chairs designed by Arik Levy and Tato Tattoo, printed with original photographic images by Maurizio Galante for the Tato pouf by Dennis Santachiara and A-Maze.
The International Furniture Exhibition (Salone del Mobile) has also been an opportunity to officially launch the Cerruti trademark (sole shareholder of Baleri Italia, ndr) in the areas of big supplier contracts and custom made goods, supported by a catalogue that illustrates the firm’s planning and stylistic philosophy.
Cerruti – he emphasizes – is a firm concentrated on the elaboration of design products – interior design, furniture and installations – which pirates/uses the same philosophy of my fashion firms and for which we have coined the slogan ‘natural born elegance’, a slogan that is a mirror-image both of the fabrics as well as the products. ‘Natural born elegance’, expressed on the level of fabrics, comes about in products that are then to be used in clothing, while on the level of interior design it sums up the characteristics of this firm – in a unique way – for the ’elegance of the products’. Products that stand out, of course, because they are ‘somewhat lively’, ‘a little uninhibited’ but above all because – with a certain dose of freedom – they are geared towards consumers with a certain profile. Consumers who do not just settle for real, authentic and functional things, but who also demand that they be fun, unusual and original within the limits required for an elegant purpose of interior design.
In light of the interlocutor, this question is inevitable: “What is the 'plus' that Nino Cerruti, – universal icon of made-in-Italy fashion – brings to this sector?” “Among all the adjectives. if I had to choose one – I would say ‘the Cult of Elegance’.

BALERI CERRUTI
via F.Cavallotti,o
20122 Milan
tel:. +39 02 76023954

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