Brioni is one of the finest tailors in the world. Since I first discovered their fashions a number of years ago, I have absolutely loved every pair of pants that drape and flow like a Roman toga, every distinctive dress shirt, every perfectly tailored jacket, hand stitched in the most elegant and finest fabrics that I have owned.
Unfortunately, Brioni is not cheap.
So since last year, when I stumbled upon a website that spoke of the "only Brioni outlet in the world" in the small Abruzzo town of Montesilvano, just outside of Pescara, I have been making plans to make my own personal fashion pilgrimmage.
And so it was with a sense of great excitement that we rolled into Montesilvano, having just hours before polished off an enormous seafood lunch in San Benedetto del Tronto, our last stop in Le Marche, a meal that consisted solely of an endless parade of dishes constituting an antipasti, or appetizer. Our GPS confidently guided us through this sprawling commercial town, through an underpass and onto a main boulevard. Passing a shopping mall, an American cultural contagion that has unfortunately taken root all too easily in this country, we were guided to a large building with hundreds of cars parked out front. This looked promising except for the fact that most of the passengers getting out of their cars seemed to be families with little children dressed in costume. We parked and walked to the entrance to find not row after row of chic Italian fashion, but a cavernous room filled with inflatable towers, slides and moon bounces Where we had hoped to gaze upon racks of hand stitched craftwork, instead we saw teeming masses of spidermen, pirates and princesses.
We had been guided not to the only Brioni outlet in the world, but rather a civic center for Montesilvano's children's carnevale festival.
For an hour we frantically drove around the neighborhood, scouring the shopping mall next door, driving up and down the boulevard looking for any sign of Roman style fashion. But alas, the trail had gone completely cold.
Finally, making a last ditch effort before giving up and deciding to drive to our hotel in neighboring Pescara, we parked in front of a restaurant next door to the civic center, with the idea of having a coffee and asking them if we were crazy to be looking for the holy fashion grail (asking questions or directions being the absolute last resort of the male of the species). I walked into the restaurant, which did not have tables for coffee and, looking sheepish and sounding foolish, summoned up the courage to ask to the maitre d', in my best Italian, "Pardon me but I don't speak Italian and the question I am about to ask may sound a little crazy but I read on the internet that there was a Brioni outlet around here but I cannot find it do you know where it is is it near here?"
The maitre d' smiled and replied, "was." The outlet had indeed been in Montesilvano, and not just in this town, but in the very building in which I was standing. It simply moved, two years ago, and was no longer there.
Mystery solved, sadly.
But also solved, we hope, was our desire to visit the world's only Brioni outlet, for in addition to telling us that the outlet had moved, we learned from this very wise man that it had moved to the town of Penne, the home of the Brioni factory, a town that lies between Pescara and our destination for the day, l'Aquila. And so we begin our search anew, with a sense of adventure and purpose, hoping to bag a pair of dress pants or a jacket as our prize.
Wish us luck.
Bill and Suzy