18 Oct 2012
It’s widely appreciated that many French designers savour timeless elegance and adopt a chic style – which has inspired a way of life for fashion collectors. Born in 1970s France by the young entrepreneur Alain Schimel – who adored the beautiful leatherwork of the Italian tailor Teofilo Zilli, he invested in a workshop in Lyon. Zilli launched a sporty chic style and luxury leather jackets, which have since become iconic designs. With Schimel at the helm, the workshop expanded, and new markets were gained, with all leather garment production based at the Lyon workshop. Technical performance reinforces the values of the brand, immortalises artisanship and technique. More than 100 Zilli craftsmen handle the fabrics and animal skins to produce each garment.
Innovation as a discipline
A common ambition drives Zilli’s innovations: to render the garments created in a supple, lighter, more comfortable fashion, making each durable over time. All its techniques, expertise, craftsmanship and experiences are therefore called upon to give a peccary jacket the sensuality of silk, or to create an exclusive fabric as soft as chinchilla cashmere.
Making a car interior with soft leather, or creating a complete office set in nicotine-coloured ostrich leather are some of the requests Zilli receives, and creates. Made-to-measure leather jackets, shirts or suits, and special orders are a daily routine for the workshop, where nothing is impossible.
Zilli involves its employees in its patronage programme, providing them with new experiences and values. The brand is a partner of the Lyon’s international biennials for contemporary art and dance. The French Academy in Rome has also a strong connection with Zilli, and is the official sponsor of the Villa Medici every year. The desire for knowledge sharing therefore, remains a key characteristic and milestone for the company.
A French family business
Schimel’s children have all joined Zilli, and are included in the new generation of designers eager to learn, work and prepare the future of the company. Leather craftsmanship has been Zilli’s core business for 40 years, and by the early 90s other product lines were launched, including: ties; shoes; small leather-goods; bags; made to measures shirts and suits; knitwear; jeans; eyewear; and jewellery, which are all exclusively made in France and Italy. Zilli’s timeless collections demonstrate a refined skill that encapsulates European chic. With locations across Europe and Middle East, Zilli has now begun to expand through to New York and Washington in the US, and Beijing in China.
For further information visit zilli.fr