How CP Created an Icon—Became the Grandmother of Modern Street Style

There are few people, even in the fashion world, who really know the significance of the name Chester Perry. You probably know her better by the name she’s turned into: The CP Company. It must be much more. Because the CP Company was and still is the main innovator of much of what we now know as street style. Celebrating 50 years in business this year, the Italian brand was founded in 1971 by Massimo Osti, a Bologna graphic artist turned apparel engineer, who, with his fascination with practical military and civilian clothing, set out to create an entirely new arm of Italian fashion. It is called Italian sportswear.

These clothes will be determined by their military appearance and technical performance – the things they did for you. If street style was defined by creating haute couture of high-rise casual wear, Austi did it first. There were other pillars of that movement in Italy, including Aspesi and Stone Island. Proof of longevity, both are still thriving. (The latter, by the way, was also founded by Usti.)

nigel cabourn at cp . company

Designer Nigel Caburn at CP Company, from the book Company CP 971-021.

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The Mille Miglia Jacket is a short jacket inspired by classic sports car racing and often deadly down the spine of Italy. It comes with goggles built into the detachable flap and a window on the left sleeve so you can read your watch while driving without having to pull the sleeve back.

Tracery Primaloft La Mille Jacket

CP . company
cpcompany.com

1,188.60 USD

New iterations of the Mille Jacket, as they’re now known, arrive each season at CP, now with Osti Lorenzo’s son at the helm. It comes with subtle design changes, and despite the constant innovations in manufacturing, it feels almost out of time – certainly out of the tide of trends. One smart way to gauge the continued importance of a brand is to search for vintage Mille Miglia jackets on eBay, where the old looks just as new as the new.

kekra in cp . company

French rapper Kikra in CB Company of the book Company CP 971-021.

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CP started as an idea for style that lives on its own terms, outside of mainstream fashion. Osti often developed fabrics – painstakingly researched over long periods of time – with textile specialists scratching their heads in an attempt to create something out of his imagination. The enduring appeal of the brand he founded is based on a premise that led to such an innovative exploration: to think of fashion as an industrial and artisanal process. Free from the prevailing rules of office wear and tailoring, the brand has generated a sense of community for men and women who want more than just look like they fit.

Moreno Ferrari at CB

Moreno Ferrari, CP designer from 1996 to 2001, back cover of Company CP 971-021.

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There’s very little room to do CP full justice here, but if you want a good idea of ​​its lasting allure, a huge book called Company CP 971-021 Available at cpcompany.com. It features a host of lifelong CP fans, including, here and there, some famous faces.

“CP Company 971-021”

CP . company
cpcompany.com

75.00 EUR

A version of this story appeared in the Winter 2021 issue of Respected magazine. Subscribe to Esquire Select For unlimited access.

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