Luciano Barbera believes in labels. The "Made in Italy" label sewn into his garments means just that -- made in Italy every step of the way.
Seems obvious, doesn't it? After all, for decades his family's mill near Milan has produced, slowly and painstakingly, luxurious fabrics sought out by the creme-de-la-creme of fashion designers.
Sewn in Italy from its own fabrics, the Barbera men's and women's collections reflect the style, elegance and uncompromising craftsmanship that as consumers we have come to expect as the hallmark of things Italian.
Of course, not everyone thinks like Barbera. There are cheaper, quicker ways to operate: less expensive fabrics aren't necessarily bad, and low-wage workers in third-world countries do need jobs, too. Business, after all, is business. And just between us, who needs a Ferrari when a Cinquecento will get you there?
After heated debate the Italian Parliament has passed a bill spelling out what's required for a clothing maker's garment to qualify for the "Made in Italy" label: whereas there are four stages in the production process, two must be completed in Italy.
Yes indeed, that's an improvement over no requirements at all, but barely. For Barbera and others whose efforts have helped to give the "Made in Italy" label its current dominance over the world of snob appeal, what a disappointment. They worry that without stringent rules the label will lose its cachet.
That may be the way of the world, but we hope not. As you know, we have a soft spot for anyone who is determined to make his product the best, and we cheer those folks on any way we can, so, to no one's surprise, we will be showing you the Barbera Women's Collection for Spring 2011. Not just made in Italy, but made entirely in Italy.