Angelo Litrico: a main character on the rise of men’s fashion in the 1900s
The founder of Sartoria Litrico is Angelo Litrico: born in Sicily, he was a craftsman, artist and entrepreneur. He moved to Rome in 1945, starting the revolution of Italian and international men’s fashion, that would change its history for good. He was the first of eleven siblings and, still a child, started working as a tailor in a small workshop in his hometown, Catania. In his late teens, he started working for a tailor in the suburbs of Rome. Attracted by Roman lifestyle and its middle/high class entertainment during the 50’s (the so-called Dolce Vita lifestyle, same as Fellini’s movie), Angelo obtained an apprentice job at a tailor’s workshop in the city centre, in Via Sicilia.
One night, after being invited at the Roma Opera House, he sewed his own green tuxedo by using some remnants from the workshop. Unknowingly, this eccentric choice would change his life forever.
Later that night, he was noticed by Rossano Brazzi and Vittorio Gassman, who asked him the name of his tailor. Angelo did not admit being himself, but instead invited them to the workshop. Rossano Brazzi immediately followed his advice and showed up at the workshop, appreciating Angelo’s humility. Brazzi ordered six suits for his wardrobe and became the first of a long series of celebrities patronising the Sicilian tailor.
In 1951, Angelo Litrico purchased the same workshop that gave him his first real job in 1945, founding Sartoria Litrico. He took advantage of the reputation gained among the celebrities of the Dolce Vita environment and became increasingly renowned. He was the first to organize runway shows with male models wearing suits matching female models’ dresses.
In 1957, he was invited to attend an Italian Fashion event in Russia with his models, and decided to sew a coat for Nikita Kruscev, the Russian president at the time. To do that, he relied on the sizes perceivable by the pictures published on the newspapers. The president appreciated the gift so much that donated Angelo a high value camera and gave him his exact sizes and ordered a full wardrobe that he would wear during his trip to the United States. It was the 60’s, in the middle of Cold War, when during the famous UN meeting on the 12th October 1960, Kruscev pounded on the table the shoe signed by Angelo Litrico himself.
After the meeting, some journalists asked Kruscev where that stylish western outfit came from and the Russian president revealed that he had asked the Italian tailor for advice in order to defrost the diplomatic relations with USA during the Cold War.
The following day, articles from all over the world, for a total of 37 different languages, wrote articles mentioning the name of Angelo Litrico, defining him as “the tailor who cut the Iron Curtain with his own scissors”. In four years only, his atelier was full of well-known clients, both Italian and foreigners, donating him pictures, works of art, and therefore fostering the international awareness of the Brand.
By that time, Sartoria Litrico was dressing important artists, such as Manzù, Carpi, Consagra, D’Orazio, Mastroianni, Caron, Greco, Cagli, Guttuso; poets such as Raphael Alberti, Quasimodo, Ungaretti; conductors such as Thomas Schippers, Sinopoli, Caracciolo, Pani, Gelmetti; actors such as Richard Burton, John Houston, Rossano Brazzi, Amedeo Nazzari, Vittorio Gassman; the singer and actor Domenico Modugno; Prime Ministers such as Kennedy, Tito, Peron, Pertini, Nasser, Leskol, Gronchi, Leone, King Hussein, King Umberto di Savoia, Eisenhower, Mac Milian, Nixon, Kubitschek; Italian politicians such as Andreotti, Colombo, Preti, Morlino, Tanassi, Malfatti. Among these people, there was also Christian Barnard, the first heart surgeon performing a heart transplant, that saved many children’s lives also thanks to Angelo: he would pay for their specialised medical examinations in Rome and for their trip to the surgeon’s clinic in Cape Town, in case they needed surgery.
Since then, Sartoria Litrico has represented a landmark for Italian Haute Couture. Today it is led by Luca Litrico, Angelo’s nephew, that still keeps Italian tailoring tradition alive, bringing elegance and taste to men all over the world.