Not only does Guido Biondi own one of the coolest names that we’ve ever come across, he also happens to be the CEO of tremendous Tuscan menswear brand President’s. Founded in 1957 this illustrious Italian brand combines tradition with in-depth research to present their own inimitable and uncompromising take on contemporary classics. Which is clearly why we love them so much here at Proper and the reason why we decided to give Guido a gentle grilling about President’s in this interview.
How is life in Italy at the moment, it seems to us like things are pretty much back to normal now the lockdown has ended?
Now in Italy it’s coming back to normality. We were the first country to act on the lockdown and it was a good solution to decrease the contagion.
How has the pandemic affected the running of President’s?
President’s was affected especially in the US not only because of COVID but also due to the riots. Many states are still closed and that makes things hard to handle. We are looking forward to having the normal life back again.
What about on a personal level, how did you cope with the isolation?
It was a strange situation especially because I had a baby in February so I did a full immersion of dad work, that helped me to stay busy. We discovered a smart working reality that can help continue the company’s life but can’t replace my real job of working on items.
All of your amazing garments are made in Italy and where possible in Florence which is a place particularly close to my heart having lived in Tuscany in the 90s. What is it about this beautiful region that makes it so special in your opinion?
Tuscany has a timeless beauty and style. It is the land of craftsmanship, high quality yarns, leather. This country is full of authenticity because we can still find small labs and artisans that keep this culture alive.
Away from the obvious tourist spots in Tuscany are there any places off the beaten track that you can recommend us to come and check out over there?
The Tuscan region is a mix of various landscapes from the sea to the hills and the mountains. Very nice but a not so much discovered place is Casentino, especially Poppi, famous for its castle and the amazing “ravioli”. In the Casentino area they invented “Casentino wool”, a very compact and durable fabric that was used for hunting jackets for the military that’s now an elegant and sophisticated material used all around the world.
What can we expect to see in the new President’s AW20 collection?
The title of AW20 collection is Tuscan Renaissance. It wants to celebrate the link between the brand and Tuscan region – its homeland – emphasized by the local artisan workmanship. Embroidered flowers and hand knitted sweaters are blended with shades of green, camel, orange and purple, the typical colours of this land.
Do you have any personal favourite pieces?
My favourite piece could be the tousled shaggy fleece. The material comes from the inspiration of American outdoor brands, but this one it is made with 100% virgin wool and has been developed in Tuscany
Like a fool I missed out on your sweatshirts with the multicoloured embroidered logo on the front, will you be doing any more of those in future seasons?
It’s not a carry over item, but people like the embroidery made that was made with a cornelly machine from the 1950s.
Having been around since 1957 is there a President’s archive and if so can we come and have a look please?
President’s brand was founded and registered in 1957 by my Grandpa, but it wasn’t used in nearly 60 years until I recuperated it and gave it a precise identity (around 2010). Even if there’s not a big archive of President’s, in our company you will find a Roy Roger’s archive – the first Italian blue jeans (1952). It allows us to conserve the historic memory of our company, and the story of years of experimentation and of unique and creative processes based on manual craftsmanship. It also represents a constant source of inspiration: this is where I start from when I begin to design a new collection.
President’s always makes me think of the type of clothes I’d wear on a date (with my wife) to an impressive restaurant that’s still relaxed enough to really enjoy yourself in. Do you have a perfect place like this where you can go to unwind and enjoy some amazing food?
A very nice and informal restaurant is Osteria delle Tre Panche…specialising in truffle dishes.
What can we expect to see from President’s in the future?
President’s is an underground and independent brand so I really hope to increase the business, to also help the work of local artisans, and spread out the Italian culture with President’s contemporary vibes.