MAN OF THE HOUR

Harper's Bazaar (Singapore) - - THE NEWS -

Fabio Panzer i is the newly-in­stalled, heav­ily-tat­tooed Creative Di­rec­tor of Braun Büf­fel, whose out­ward ap­pear­ance seems to run con­trary to a Ger­man bag brand beloved for its pre­mium, board­room-friendly of­fer­ings. But the his­tory of fash­ion has proven that, some­times, the un­like­li­est of part­ner­ships of­ten yield the most in­ter­est­ing re­sults. Plus, the 48-year-old Isti­tuto Marangoni alum­nus is backed by a solid re­sume, which fur­ther hints at what’s in store for a brand that is poised to start a new chap­ter in its 130-year-old his­tory.

Panz­eri cut his teeth at Prada and its Prada Sport line, Hel­mut Lang, Dolce&Gab­bana and Calvin Klein.

“My first work was ac­tu­ally in Paris for Jean Paul Gaultier. It was a six-month in­tern­ship af­ter grad­u­a­tion where I worked on ac­ces­sories, and it was an op­por­tu­nity for me to un­der­stand the busi­ness side of fash­ion. It was in­ter­est­ing be­cause it was com­pletely new to me. Through­out my time at the var­i­ous brands, I re­alised it is im­por­tant for a de­signer to have his per­sonal style. Per­son­ally, I like the avant-garde work by de­sign­ers such as Ann De­meule­meester, but I’ve learnt to study the ins-and-outs of a brand as an out­sider.You un­der­stand how to re­spect the DNA and trans­late some­thing new for the brand. When I was work­ing con­cur­rently at Prada Sport and Hel­mut Lang, I was trained to op­er­ate in this di­men­sion.”

He thinks fash­ion is at a con­fus­ing place right now.

“Peo­ple spend a lot of time talk­ing about noth­ing re­ally new. Brands are just look­ing to pro­duce, pro­duce, pro­duce at a su­per-fast speed. Be­cause of so­cial me­dia, ev­ery­thing hap­pens so fast now. I don’t like it so much, but I know it’s im­por­tant to com­pete. I pre­fer to be ag­gres­sive—but by my own rules.”

Moder­nity is key for him.

“Per­haps it’s some­thing to do with my at­ti­tude, but ev­ery­thing I do has to be for­ward-look­ing. We need to look ahead be­cause we are work­ing for the fu­ture now. I want this for Braun Büf­fel, to ex­plore not just us­ing leather, but other ma­te­ri­als such as neo­prene, ny­lon—even new tech­niques.”

Panz­eri wants to change per­cep­tions of Braun Büf­fel.

“There’s an hon­esty to the brand that I like. It has a great price point too, con­sid­er­ing we use pre­mium leather. But it can get bor­ing, and not only be­cause it is clas­sic—the per­cep­tion of ‘clas­sic’ for the brand can feel old some­times. It is a big mis­take to re­main that way. I think the cor­rect men­tal­ity to adopt is to re­main clas­sic but still feel and look new. That’s why I worked very closely on the ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign—it’s the first step to con­vey the idea that the brand can be su­per dy­namic as well.” ■

Top: Panz­eri de­signed a cap­sule col­lec­tion that upped the so­phis­ti­cated ap­peal of Braun Büf­fel for the new sea­son. Bag, $599; clutch, $429, Braun Büf­fel

Fabio Panz­eri

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