In 1902 Riccardo Mantero emigrated from Novi Ligure to seek his fortune in Como where he set up a silk depot. The general economic climate generated a certain optimism, that of Como fostered it even further. The city served as an important crossroads for flourishing trade towards Northern Europe. In particular, the silk industry was spiralling, above all in terms of production while, conversely, customs disputes created several obstacles insofar as trade was concerned. The city was almost entirely engaged in the silk and textile trade (silk, cotton, linen and wool) which absorbed 40% of businesses registered and 80% of the sales force. 1902 saw the constitution of the “Ditta Riccardo Mantero”. in fact, credit goes to Riccardo for having endowed the company with the two hallmark characteristics that were to remain the cornerstones of its activity: product versatility and unremitting quality.
In 1923, the small building at 74, Via Volta was completed and ready to house his family and his team of workers. Riccardo Mantero was a precursor of his times, always in search of something different from that habitually offered by the silk manufacturers of the era and it was, in fact, he who realized that the time had come to start expanding the business abroad
Riccardo Mantero and his two sons decided that they too should become industrialists resulting in their purchasing the Menaggio weaving mill at the beginning of the 1940s.
In January 1952, Beppe Mantero, who had taken over from his father Riccardo, founded Alitess (Azienda Lombarda Industrie Tessili Specializzate) in Milan with the aim of completing, or rather, integrating, the production of fabrics with the introduction of creative – i.e. silk “handles”, patterns and a colour palette – and marketing procedures, gathering under one roof the entire cycle necessary for the production of haute couture fabrics.
In 1956, Mantero acquired the historic “Cugnasca Silk Mill” which, on account of having been operative since the 1920s, served as outpost for the production and marketing of fabrics for the high-end or ready-to-wear womenswear segment, a new market at that time.
In 1960, Grandate was established as a weaving factory, to which the dye-room/printing room was added in 1964.
From 1964 onwards, the Group – “Fabbrica Seterie Riccardo Mantero”, ”Alitess”, “Cugnasca” and “La Seta Industria di Como S.p.A.” – together with the Grandate factory, embodied all the “assets” necessary to guarantee excellence across the entire production line: weaving, dyeing and printing, thus enabling Mantero to achieve levels of absolute perfection in terms of precision, inventiveness, the skills of its designers, its range of “print screens” and boundless (at least three thousand new designs each year) creativity.
In 1972, Mantero founded “Interseta S.p.A” thereby expanding its sphere of activity to also include fabrics for neckties, a sector that was beginning to assume considerable importance on the world market and therefore a necessary strategic move for Mantero. From being a manufacturer of fabrics Mantero now also became a supplier of finished accessories. A sector on which it began to focus with greater intensity as the years went by, adding a “business2retail” to its “business2business” activity.
In July, 1977, Mantero consolidated its international reach and, in addition to its historic Como-based headquarters, now opened a branch in New York.
In December, 1979, it opened its Paris-based headquarters.
In 1991, it acquired “Corisia S.p.A.” specializing in the working of silk and wool. Its policy of diversification resulted in the expansion of its production of non-silk fabrics without, however, foregoing its ongoing attention to high quality or products that were instantly recognizable both in terms of their aesthetic and handle.
From1993 onwards, Mantero, a pioneer in technological innovation, began studying alternatives to silkscreen prints, starting with toners and later adopting the electrostatic technology. It began by using IRIS Smartjet inkjet technology, subsequently introducing HP, Epson and the revolutionary Canon Bubble Jet Textile Printing System featuring 360 dpi thermal heads and an output of one metre per minute. Among the other emerging technologies of that period, Colorspan and Encad models, designed for fabrics, were adopted successfully, with the subsequent transition to the Xerox ColorgrafX 8954-DS featuring an electrostatic system. Today, the company boasts a state-of-the-art inkjet division.
All the decades of Mantero’s history have been distinguished by in-depth attention to the evolution of the market and society. The arrival of the new millennium brought with it new protagonists and new, up-and-coming designers in a bid to interpret new tastes in consumer trends. Not only the skills of the resources working at the factory but also the incredible source of inspiration and creativity provided by its historic archives – a library consisting of more than 10,000 books – available to discerning customers for perusal.
Como, 2000: Mantero acquired the brand and archives of Holliday & Brown. Almost 100 years of history were transferred from London to the Como-based building in Via Volta. More than 100 weighty volumes, countless collections of lose sketches, hundreds of samples and fabric patterns. All unique, original designs, created over the course of one century, anticipating fashions and customs which, thanks to Mantero’s longstanding history and expertise in silk printing and weaving, served as a source of inspiration for new collections of decidedly unique ties, bowties, scarves and pocket handkerchiefs.
In a bid to improve in-house efficiency – in terms of procedures and resources – and to always guarantee top-level customer service, at the end of 2005, Mantero set-up a computerized warehouse at its Grandate production plant, an industrial reality designed to provide a complete product-associated logistics service (from acceptance to shelf-filling, from storage to selection right up to order filling…).
In 2006, a period of economic instability for the entire Como-based silk industry, a new team of managers was brought in to assist the third generation of the Mantero family, the idea being to introduce and implement an innovative business strategy, targeted not only at an in-depth restructuring of the company but also a redefinition of market strategies. The company’s objective was once again targeted at improving product quality and providing a seamless service. In addition to quality and service, the company now also focused on in-depth technical and industrial renewal in order to keep up with the significant evolutions in technology and logistics in support of the entire sales division.
On Saturday, 28 November 2009, the first Mantero Store opened its doors to the public. The boutique, located on the second floor of the main wing of the Swiss outlet of Fox Town, is entirely dedicated to women’s accessories. Items on sale include foulard and scarf brands produced and distributed under licence by the company. In addition to the well-known names showcased, the exclusive collection of Mantero’s own-name brand label is also featured, thus serving as means of strengthening and promoting the corporate image of the brand even further.
Starting from the 2010 Christmas season, Mantero presented Be Me to the public at large, an almost impalpable silk scarf, lightly imbued with brushstrokes to reproduce a peony. Introduced into the new series of silk accessories offered by Mantero, the Be Me concept is intimately linked to its wearer. The mere act of wearing it, touching it and experiencing it according to one’s own wishes, habits and sensitivity, enables one to discover its innate essence and see the transformation that takes place over time.
Starting from the SS 2012 (June 2011) season, Mantero launched a new project in collaboration with Milanese designer Gentucca Bini, Gentucca play Mantero. A collection of soft accessories that stem from ingenious intuition: the combination of seemingly different elements that have drawn upon old-world flavours to create something new, innovative and vibrant.
At the end of 2011 Mantero rediscovered a new equilibrium in both its business and balance sheets. Now was the time to resume its age-old mission, namely that of a large family business. Its team of managers handed over the reins to the fourth generation, with a Mantero once again being appointed as its new managing director.
July 2012, saw the establishment of the Mantero Factory: as with Andy Warhol’s original studio, it is “a place where, each day, something new is created”, a meeting point between different personalities to develop specific skills combined with free creativity.
At the beginning of 2012, an licensing agreement was signed between Inès de la Fressange and Mantero. It is difficult not to become an icon of Parisian lifestyle once you have been Chanel’s muse and lent your likeness to a bust of “Marianne”. In 1991, the Inès de la Fressange brand, inspired by Inès Marie Lætitia Églantine Isabelle de Seignard de La Fressange was launched. Elegant, seductive and vibrant like the city of Paris. The brand’s accessories are considered “must-haves” for those intent on mirroring the lifestyle of a real Parisienne femme. Mantero’s years of experience and its undisputed know-how enabled it to give that unique “French touch” to Inès’ creations. Mantero’s heritage and Inès’ creativity give each and every woman a chance to become a bona fide “Parisienne”.
25) During the same period, Mantero decided to resume the Mantero International brand label, offering the market a complete range of proposals for large-scale-retail-trade and the various international players involved in the field of fast fashion.
Con la collezione autunno/inverno 2013, Mantero rilancia il progetto del marchio proprio, con l’etichetta Mantero 1902: foulard e le stole, creati e pensati per essere oltre qualsiasi moda, realizzati secondo la tradizione, con i tessuti e le tecniche più nobili: tessuti iconici del foulard, stampe serigrafiche, sofisticati orli “roulotté” a mano.
The partnership with ICEBERG begin in November 2013, with the creation of the Iceberg Fall/Winter 2014/2015 women’s collection.
Innovation and tradition intersect at a time of great creative impetus for Iceberg. Now the fresh energy marking the new collections will also benefit from Mantero Seta’s solid experience and outstanding product quality.
This alliance between leading names in the spheres of knits and silks, respectively, will serve to enhance the value of the all-important “Made in Italy” factor with the aim of impacting the international fashion scene and meeting the demands of emerging markets.
The French brand Paul & Joe signs a new license agreement with Mantero. Starting with the spring/summer 2015 collection, the cosmopolitan and freshly daring style of Paul & Joe will be a part of the Mantero Seta family of licenses. It will be a collaboration based on colour and lightness.
After stepping into the social media with Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram, Mantero is now approaching the e-commerce market, offering the possibility to internet users to buy Mantero-branded products online. The novelty is you can now buy online directly from Facebook. Scarves, stoles, shawls in various formats and colours, easy to see and select with a click, and with the possibility of changing your mind.
Sales have begun with the Spring/Summer 2014 collection.
At Première Vision this February in Paris, Miroglio Textile present “Archivio Mantero and Miroglio Textile” , a project developed in partnership with Mantero for an exclusive collection of scarves.
Combining the skills and respective know-how of two great families of the Italian textile industry, both run by the fourth generation, a complete collection of scarves has been designed in various fabrics, designs and sizes and represents the history, the cultural heritage and the commitment and passion of two prodigious businesses that are the pride of Made in Italy.
In december 2014 in an industrial context steps away from its main manufacturing site, Mantero opens a veritable boutique.
Mantero Outlet offers a wide assortment of ladies’ scarves, shawls and stoles, a selection of textile accessories for men and also a refined proposal of fabrics for womenswear at excellent prices.
In March was launched the renewed and expanded digital printing department.
Currently, the fleet includes a total of 9 plants ink-jet active, to increase the production capacity by 40% for the purposes of an alignment of equal efficiency with traditional print of which Mantero is always the leader.
With the aid of new 16 heads printers Mantero presented a collection of drawings with large repeats, allover and placed, designed and developed in order to emphasize the potential of the new equipment.
2016 is an important year for the Company: new offices, new show room and a huge and wonderful space for our archive.
All our volumes, swatches, scarves and foulards will find a new home in a 1500 sq mt open space.
And the complete digitalized version of all our images, books, sketches and design sets definitely our Library in the modern era.
Our history glitters today in the renovated Grandate HQ.