Founded in Milan in 1911, Valstar is a luxury men’s fashion house with a profound history in manufacturing outerwear. With its inception, it became the first Italian company to produce raincoats that were water-repellent and while that’s taken for granted today, back then it was a revolutionary achievement. In the early years of the 20th century, the company’s elegant and flattering coats set the benchmark for stylish and functional outerwear and they quickly caught the attention of the upper echelons of Italian society who helped establish the company as a household name.
While Valstar’s customer base has since flourished, and the brand has diversified into one with global appeal, their highly selective approach to quality raw materials and the care they take with every stitch has remained consistent. Today, Valstar jackets and coats are products of over a century of tradition channelled using a contemporary approach, representing the true essence of what ‘Made in Italy’ craftsmanship means.
Arguably, the most important year in the Valstar story is 1935. Inspired by the A1 flight jacket, which was a leather blouson worn by pilots in the United States Army Air Corps, the trajectory of the company’s legacy changed with the advent of the ‘Valstarino’. As the first-known example of a piece of military clothing that was reimagined in a sporty and chic way for the general public, to this day the Valstarino draws its design cues from the military uniform and reimagines it for the civilian market.
The Valstarino was an immediate success and throughout the remainder of the century, it was the hallmark of the company. In 2009, it was recognised as being an icon of Italian design and included in the exhibition From Sign To Dream in Milan, displayed alongside other design success stories from Italy such as the Bialetti coffee pot, the Arco lamp, the Fiat 500 and the Poltrona Frau vanity fair armchair. It should come as no surprise then that the A1 jacket is the most copied piece of outerwear ever, and knowing that Valstar did it first is a great source of pride among the owners, designers and craftspeople at the company.
Over the years Valstar has received recognition not just for the Valstarino, but for the overarching high-quality and style of its garments via the means of royal seals of approval. HRH The Princess of Savoy and The Duke of Ancona in 1939 and 1941, respectively, commissioned the company to be their family’s official outfitter which took Valstar further afield. In the 21st century, Valstar was reimagined into a forward-thinking company that draws influences from an esteemed heritage of excellence through a modern lens. In 2011, it celebrated its centenary and became one of the first Milanese luxury houses to do so.
To bridge the gap between its past and its future, Valstar continues to practice the true meaning of ‘Made in Italy’ craftsmanship. And while the term has been somewhat diluted over the years, the company intends on restoring status to the hallowed qualification. From sourcing traditionally-tanned leathers from Tuscany to selecting technical materials woven by companies on the cutting edge of fabric innovation, they’re all pieced together by hand to create modern jackets and coats. Each one is unique, investment-worthy, built to last a lifetime and withholds the true essence of the company.