Justin O'Shea, Brioni's Knock Out New Designer

Justin O'Shea, Brioni's Knock Out New Designer

Brioni's new creative director, Justin O'Shea, steps into the ring and takes on men's fashion toe-to-toe.

Brioni's new creative director, Justin O'Shea, steps into the ring and takes on men's fashion toe-to-toe.

Photography: Melodie Jeng

Text: Joseph Akel

Justin O’Shea, Brioni’s creative director, has an unexpected look for a storied Italian fashion house known for its made-to-measure suits. O’Shea, a heavily tattooed, wildly buff man (he boxes almost every day) with a shaved head and full beard, could have been recruited from the casting pool of Fight Club. However, O’Shea’s swagger is the very reason Brioni brought him on board in early 2016. When pressed on how his edgy aesthetic would translate for the typical Brioni customer, O’Shea says, “I want to make suits and shirts that can be worn by a dude on Wall Street or a fucking gangster appearing in Scorsese’s Casino.” For Fall, O’Shea recruited heavy metal band Metallica to appear in Brioni’s campaigns and switched the logo font to one more evocative of Oktoberfest than Milan.

Inspiration for the collection, O’Shea notes, “comes from the ’70s, which is why, for example, there are silk shirts in the show as well as the new Continental suit, with a broader, slightly padded shoulder that is tailored very much in at the waist.” When asked, Why the age of disco, why now? O’Shea responds, “It was a time when fashion was greatly appreciated by others, when a man could be both ultra-masculine and at the same time very open about fashion.” Speaking on his use of exotic fur and leather, such as crocodile and chinchilla, O’Shea adds, “For me it’s seeing people go, ‘Oh my god, you’re a pimp,’ and it’s the ultimate luxury.”

But while O’Shea acknowledges his design debt to the past, he also has his eyes firmly set on the future of menswear and hopes that his dressed up, but decidedly devil-may-care attitude mixes things up. “It’s like you’re messing with something that’s so formal and putting your own spin on it, like there is no right or wrong way,” he says. On his own style, O’Shea is uncharacteristically low-key given the larger-than-life image he has crafted for himself. “I’m pretty much a guy’s guy,” he demurs. “I wear suits all the time. That’s why I took the job—it was, quite literally, the perfect fit.”

Clothing, Shoes, Accessories: Brioni

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