With Pitti Uomo welcoming more and more international designers every year, it’s becoming harder to find men like Mr Guido Bondi. Florence born and bred, he comes from a family of Tuscan clothiers. His grandfather founded Manifatture 7 Bell S.p.A., which has the distinction of being the first company to produce denim in Italy. Mr Bondi graduated from Polimoda, a fashion school in Florence, and completed an apprenticeship in the family company before deciding to start his own brand, President’s, in 2011. We caught up with him on the day before Pitti Uomo to find out more about his brand – and to pick his brains for a few local dining spots.
President’s isn’t technically a new brand, is it? Can you explain the story?
The company was registered by my grandfather in 1957, but he never used it. The idea was to create a high-quality brand of trousers made entirely in Italy. They’d be fit to dress a president, hence “the President’s trousers”. When I was looking to create my own brand, I found this in the family archive and decided to run with it.
Why not create your own brand from scratch?
I loved the name and the family history, and the idea of entirely Italian manufacturing was very close to my heart. Everything President’s does is made in Italy, and where possible it’s made in Florence. The knitwear is a Scottish yarn produced in Lastra a Signa, which is just a few miles away. The denim comes from Japan. The leather comes from Santa Croce, an area between Florence and Pisa that’s famous for vegetable tanning. I like to bring a blend of well-researched materials from all around the world – but everything is made in Italy.
What does it mean to have such a big menswear show on your doorstep?
For me, it’s the best show in the world. And being in Florence, it’s a perfect match. It’s a small city, so much more relaxed than Milan Fashion Week, and there’s no need to take a taxi. If you want to go up into the hills for a couple of days to relax, the surrounding Tuscan countryside is beautiful – and there are some great places to eat.
Speaking of which, what would you suggest for a visitor with a few hours to kill?
The Uffizi Museum is unbelievable. And, I don’t know if it’s open, but I would recommend the Galleria Vasariana. It’s a gallery full of works by Michelangelo and Donatello that was built for Lorenzo de’ Medici to walk across Florence away from the public.
And a good restaurant?
Cross the Arno river and go to Alla Vecchia Bettola for an authentic Tuscan meal. If you want something chicer, try Al Fresco in the garden of the Four Seasons.