How Italian denim brand Jacob Cohën reaches new heights
The star of the luxury denimwear label is on the rise thanks to its dynamic president Jennifer Tommasi Bardelle
“They made me do stunts! recalls Jennifer Tommasi Bardelle, president of Jacob Cohën, of her Wallpaper* portrait session. But after guiding the Pontelongo-based brand through the manufacturing and physical restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic, and building it into a bigger player in the luxury and denim industry, Bardelle didn’t seem too phased by a little relaxation.
When her husband Nicola was killed in a tragic accident in 2012, Bardelle found herself at the helm of the family business, a brand synonymous with luxurious denim accented with intricately crafted flourishes, such as jewel buttons, sparkling crystals and patches. The brand was originally founded by Nicola’s father, Tato, in 1985, then relaunched by Nicola a decade before his death. Bardelle took the design principles he cemented – quality, fit, attention to craftsmanship and Italian manufacturing – to steer Jacob Cohën to new heights. Today, the brand has outlets in 13 cities, including Saint-Tropez, Tokyo, Paris, Prague and Antwerp.
Jacob Cohën and a new approach to women’s fashion
One thing Bardelle wanted to scale was the brand’s womenswear offering – after her husband’s death, her womenswear collection dropped from 30% to just 10% of business. That changed early last year, when Bardelle launched fully realized men’s and women’s collections, with expanded categories like Loro Piana cashmere sweaters and trainers. Menswear included a refined tailored offering and Womenswear featured a couture collection, with party-ready crystal-embellished denim that referenced the sparkling silhouettes Nicola debuted in the 2000s. weren’t ready for this!” says Bardelle of the ambitious launch.
For Jacob Cohën’s A/W 2022 women’s collection, which features artisanal flourishes including hand-painted checks on denim, Bardelle looked to the Parisian youth riots of the late 1960s, linking their ideals of female liberation to female empowerment that she hopes to inspire. “In my little world, it’s important to show society that leading roles can be played by women,” she says. It is also expanding the brand to encompass a lifestyle range, including home fragrances and candles, as well as designer items, with a special project planned for Salone del Mobile in June. §