An American Designer Takes Cerruti Back to Its Roots


Here and below, models show looks from the Cerruti men’s fall 2016 collection in Paris.

Thibault Camus/Associated Press

PARIS — It was both a new beginning and a return to the past for the designer Jason Basmajian, who presented his first collection for Cerruti 1881 on a dark, rainy Friday afternoon in a showroom off the Place Vendôme. “At least it’s not snowing,” said one of the attendees as he shook the rain from his expensive-looking blazer, a reference to the snowstorm working its way up the East Coast that many of the Americans here for men’s fashion week seem to be obsessing over.

Mr. Basmajian, appointed to the creative director’s post in October after three years at the venerable British house Gieves & Hawkes, said that with his initial collection he wanted to stay faithful to the vision of the company’s founder, Nino Cerruti.

“The idea was to go back to the philosophy of Mr. Cerruti, which was always about cut, fabric and texture,” Mr. Basmajian said, as models in herringbone and Prince of Wales overcoats and sleekly tailored suits in various shades of black, brown and gray stood on raised platforms around him. “Very masculine clothing — a bridge between sport and tailoring.”


The designer for Cerruti 1881, Jason Basmajian.

Mr. Basmajian, who succeeded Aldo Maria Camillo, a former designer for Valentino men’s wear, said, “I wanted to bring the brand firmly back to its heritage,” adding, somewhat reluctantly when pressed to explain how that heritage might have wavered in recent years, that he felt “the house had gone away from what Nino was all about. He was always about wearable fashion, never fashion for fashion’s sake.”

As for the speed in which he put the fall 2016 collection together, he said it was a “very American” way of doing things, a reference to the fact that, although he has designed for both classic British and Italian brands (Mr. Basmajian also did a stint at Brioni), he is actually from Boston.


Cerruti fall 2016.

Thibault Camus/Associated Press

Has being an American influenced his approach to European fashion?

“I think it has,” he said. “I think the way I work is very American. Very organized and merchandise-driven.”

And, Mr. Basmajian added, having worked at both European and American fashion houses (he is also one of the legion of designers who have worked at Ralph Lauren at one point in their careers), he was well prepared for Cerruti.

“This is really a combination of all my experiences,” he said before being coaxed away by another attendee, chatting in fluent Italian as he disappeared into the crowd.

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