MFF: Intervista a
Rosy Biffi
Edition 99
«Men’s fashion is a precursor of the times»
The buyer from Milan has always loved discovering emerging Italian and foreign designers. In her opinion, men’s fashion has evolved by staying ahead of the times and preempting historic and social turning points. 

A point of reference in Italian and international fashion, Rosy Biffi is at the head of the Biffi Boutiques Group, which today counts 5 luxury multibrand stores: three in Milan, with two in Corso Genova, Biffi Boutiques and B-Contemporary, and one, Banner, in via Sant’Andrea, as well as two in Bergamo in via Tiraboschi. An adventure that first began in the Sixties, together with her sister Adele, with whom she opened the first two boutiques in Milan. An authentic pioneer of fashion, she has always loved discovering emerging Italian and foreign designers, who have then gone to become undisputed celebrities in the world of men’s and women’s fashion. “Fashion has always been an extremely important part of my life, ever since I was a little girl: I loved dresses, colors, creating matchings and anything that was new and creative. My company was created as if it were an integral part of my family. It all began from a dream I shared with my sister, Adele, and with the brilliant entrepreneurial support of my husband, Franco Limonta”, explained Rosy Biffi. “Adele and I have always had an incredible understanding when it comes to style, managing boutiques, and the joy of enthusiastically travelling around the world to unearth new discoveries. During the second half of the Sixties, we opened our first boutique in Corso Genova, which was then followed in later years by those in Via Fabio Filzi and in Bergamo. Next, were Kenzo and Banner in via Sant’Andrea, and finally, Biffi B-Contemporary in Corso Genova. Recently, the company has expanded even more with e-commerce, a new challenge undertaken three years ago: a highly desired project which, also in consideration of the complex period we are going through, has proven itself to be a winning choice”.

What have been some of the most important moments and turning points in your professional pathway? 
For me, they are all memorable, starting from my trips abroad in search of new ideas and trends. I especially remember the first trip I made to London, when I was 23 years old: I was literally overwhelmed by creative energy. Plus, in the years to follow, Paris, with various encounters, the great prêt-à-porter collections like for example those of Kenzo, Matsuda, Yohji Yamamoto, Comme des Garçons, Junya Watanabe, and Sacai, and then London and New York, with John Galliano, Stella McCartney, Ralph Lauren and many others. These cities have always been fundamental to our work, just like Milan obviously is with its fashion shows and events, and Florence, which with each new edition of Pitti, has always been an essential setting for meetings and encounters, through which all the leading fashion entrepreneurs and members of the trade passing through. A rendezvous that is an absolute must, and in fact we have never missed an edition. Internationalization has forced us to continue to travel to other nations and continents (Japan, China, South Korea, the USA, and India), always in search of novelties, and above all, inspiration. 

How has men’s fashion changed over the years, from its debut to modern times?
It has changed a lot and has evolved by often staying ahead of the times and preempting historic and social turning points, at a speed and in ways that are always different. First, there was a slower and more local evolution, which then became increasingly fast and global, also thanks to the development of e-commerce and social media: if style was much more definite previously, now that it has been internationalized, there are many more ideas and visions. We have gone from a fashion that was mainly sartorial, with the exception of a small niche, to something hybrid and fluid, with the meeting up of different styles from casual to sportswear, to streetwear evocations, and revamped tailoring, in a contamination that is constantly changing. Digital has also exponentially accelerated the process and being ready to embrace these changes is fundamental, thanks to continuous updating.  

What are your personal considerations for the future?
Men’s and women’s fashion still have a lot to give: creativity, connections, personal and professional satisfaction, and above all beauty. I think the secret is to commit oneself and be giving, rolling up your sleeves and throwing yourself into the job. For me, fashion is equal to great emotions (friendship, love), and also in these situations it is essential to give, give, give. Likewise, discussions, interaction and dialogue will bring you far, allowing you to improve and be successful. All while always trying to maintain that feeling of joy and magic inherent to the fashion industry. Results will then arrive. I am convinced that independent boutiques, thanks to constant research and the proposal of new sales strategies that call for collaborations and special pieces, an extremely meticulous selection and special services (transmitted in an omnichannel context between physical and digital) will be increasingly relevant, conquering a market niche and constructing strong relationships with a clientele that is increasingly loyal. 

Do you have any interesting stories to tell us?
I have had some incredible experiences thanks to fashion. I literally have a thousand memories that have touched my heart and made me proud of my pathway. First among them is that of Gianfranco Ferré who, extremely young and fresh from the university of architecture, would come every evening to our boutique in Via Fabio Filzi: he would pass by on his way to the train that would bring home, and my husband Franco would always say to him: “Gianfranco, you shouldn’t be an architect, you should work in fashion!” His first commission from us was a line of belts, and then also a clothing collection. Ferré has always been very grateful to us for our support, and over the years, he has always recalled us with great fondness. Then, there is Kenzo who had a tiny, yet extremely striking, studio in Paris: I fell in love with his creations and returned to Milan with some pieces that conquered our customers; and Ralph Lauren, who I first met in New York when he presented his very first collections, which immediately struck me for their innate style and elegance. In general, I always think back with pride and great emotion on the encounters I had with all these young talents (who in some cases were even still students!), and who then went on to become bona fide fashion icons: Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Christopher Kane, Jacquemus and many others.