The Cerruti family textile business was started in 1881 by three brothers in Biella, Italy. Centred around an old mill, the company specialized in producing high quality woolen fabrics.
Antonio (nickname Nino) was born there in 1930 in Biella, Italy. He was the eldest grandson of one of the brothers. Cerruti initially studied philosophy and had wanted to become a writer, however when he left University, he joined the family firm, at the age of 20 years, in 1950. The start of the company's transformation into a luxury label, came in 1957 when Cerruti launched a range of menswear called Hitman.
During the 50's he continued to prosper, in his spare time also designing the costumes for 4 plays he commissioned. In 1963, he launched a knitwear line.
During the period 1961 to 1970, a young designer named Giorgio Armani joined his firm, and learned about designing.
By 1967, he was ready to launch ready-to-wear, initially for men and nine years later, in 1976 for women.
He also set up his studio in Paris in 1967 so that his garments would reach the French market.
In 1980 the Cerruti Sports Line was launched.
Making clothes for films was also one of his important contributions to fashion. Among around 60 films he has designed for, are "Witches of Eastwick", Wall Street and Baby Boom. Cerruti says "ultimately, fashion is a way of describing the world we live in."
In 1995, the Cerruti Jeans line was launched.
In 1996 the Couture Arte line for men and women was launched.
In 1996, Cerruti brought in a new young designer named Narcisso Rodriguez whose first collection was so sensational that Cerruti was again in the limelight. He brought an American sensibility to a well-established European house. Rodriguez worked alongside the company's founder, who is much loved by the Hollywood establishment. He dresses the half of the world that Armani doesn't, they share half and half. However, Rodriguez' world-shaking designs scared off some of Cerruti's customers and his personal acclaim was not much appreciated by Nino Cerruti, so his contract was not renewed.
In 1997, Nino brought in another young designer to help him run the house. He was Peter Speliopoulos, a Greek, born in 1961. He gave the label a fresh modern look which was all about fine detail and exquisite fabrics. He was constantly traveling between New York and Paris and his designs were a reflection of his fast-line lifestyle.
In 1998, the Cerruti New York showroom was opened and in 1999 a Boutique on Madison Avenue, New York.
After over 100 years as a family business, Nino Cerruti retired and sold his business to Finpart in June 2001.
In June 2001 they brought in Roberto Menichetti as Creative Director in September 2001, but he only stayed 6 months and resigned in March 2002.
The designer appointed in August 2002, was Yugoslavian Istvan Francer, who spent 14 years from 1987 to 2001 with Donna Karan. Istvan Francer presented his first Cerruti ready-to-wear collection Spring/Summer 2003 collection in Milan Fashion Week in September 2002 which was very well received. Francer's own label has been temporarily suspended and he put his heart and soul into the Cerruti show during Milan Fashion Week in March 2003.
Cerruti moved it's show to Milan after 20 years of showing in Paris.
In April 2003, Istvan Francer left the house of Cerruti and a new designer was appointed. He is Los Angeles-based David Cardona (born 1964) who surprisingly before spending 5 years with Richard Tyler, was an aeronautical engineer. During Milan Fashion Week in October 2003, David Cardona showed his first Cerruti collection, for next Spring.
Cerruti clothes are classically tailored, elegant and made of high quality fabrics. In the field of menswear, he is an acknowledged leader in suits. His women’s wear often adapts the men’s styles to give a casual elegant look for women.