In case anyone hasn’t noticed, Rodeo Drive has become a mecca for men’s suit makers, particularly the 400 north block. It’s already home to Polo/Ralph Lauren, Carroll & Co., Bijan, Claude Montana, Gianni Versace and Giorgio Armani, among others.
“It’s the best location,” says Pino Innocente, the Milan-based co-owner of Verri, an upscale men’s clothing manufacturer that joined the pack this summer at 431 N. Rodeo Drive. Innocente’s partner, Leonardo Brugognone, designs the collections.
Named for its original location on Via Verri in Milan, Verri is known for its contemporary Italian styling (“our character is in the shoulder and the lapel”) and expensive fabrics (suits retail for about $1,500).
Rod Stewart, Warren Beatty and Ryan O’Neal are customers of the Verri store on Madison Avenue in New York. The late Andy Warhol, Innocente says, would buy six new blue double-breasted jackets each season, which he always wore with blue jeans.
Although the Verri label continues to be available at other stores in Los Angeles, especially Ecru and Avedon, the Rodeo Drive shop is the company’s U.S. flagship. In his six-year search for the best location in Southern California, Innocente considered the not-yet completed Rodeo Two complex on Wilshire Boulevard, but decided its Old World European design was “too fake.” He looked at Melrose Avenue but that wouldn’t do. To his mind, “the king of Melrose is the Maxfield boutique.”
Asked to distinguish the Verri look from its competitors on the block, Innocente puts it in show business terms. “If you say Armani, you say ‘The Untouchables.’ (He refers to the 1987 film for which Armani supplied the suits.) If you say Versace, you say rock star. (Everyone from George Michael to Bruce Springsteen have been guests at the flamboyant designer’s villa.) If you say Verri, after December you say, ‘Godfather III.’ ”
Indeed, working in conjunction with Academy Award-winning costume designer Milena Canonero, Verri provided the production with about 250 suits as well as shirts, ties and overcoats to be worn by the film’s principal actors, including Al Pacino, Joe Mantegna and Andy Garcia. “It’s very Sicilian, really dressy,” says Innocente.
Verri, not coincidentally, is promoting the “Godfather III” look in its fall collection (and, currently, in its windows). It is a four-button, double-breasted suit with very wide (4 7/8 inches) peaked lapels. The trousers, pleated and baggy, taper at the ankle. Ties are wide and made of wild prints.
Coincidentally, the look makes a strong ‘60s-through-'70s statement, which is where fashion trends in general are focused for the moment. “Everything is going back to the ‘60s. It was the most elegant period for men,” Innocente says.
Two years ago Verri introduced a women’s collection, tailored dresses, suits and coats, clearly inspired by men’s tailoring. It is also available at the new store.