Meet the designer: Pierluigi Rolando – 7
One year after Giorgio Bertone and Renzino Cosson’s mission on El Capitan mountain, in California, Pierluigi Rolando couldn’t stay away from the US yet.
In 1975, also thanks to FILA’s growing success, America appeared as an adventure to face without fear, especially if we consider the appreciation for the Brand overseas. The beginning of FILA USA was near, and became real with the hiring of Sammy Azaria, the manager who soon started to take control on the American market from Manhattan, 34th Avenue.
The United States were also a land of fairs, conventions, occasions – Las Vegas above all – in which the company could strengthen its commercial influence and entertain the audience with captivating scenic designs at the same time. FILA already used to be present at European events such as Munich’s ISPO and Milan’s Bias. Right during the 1975 Milanese fair, ‘Dottor’ Enrico Frachey took Rolando and asked him to create a brand new look, able to enhance the body and the feats of Swedish tennis player Björn Borg, rising star on whom the company was staking everything. ‘Mr Frachey wanted something with the same commercial appeal of the clothes worn by Adriano Panatta, but with a completely different style at the same time’ the designer once said. ‘I enjoyed challenges: to win is important, if you can do it all by yourself’.
As we know, Rolando did it in the best possible way: starting from a polo born by ‘Ascenzietto’ and taking inspiration from the pinstriped suits worn by New York Yankees myth Babe Ruth, he managed to design a cutting-edge piece, able to change the common approach to sportswear. Since we have already told about the origins of the Borg Polo, this time we’re going to rely only on the designer’s own words.
‘The print I wanted to impress on the Borg t-shirt was a simple line, but in order to obtain a good final result, the work on the rag had to be flawless. I read all my books to study the perfect graphics of Ruth’s suit, especially in terms of shapes, thicknesses and distances between the lines. After several tests, the prototype was given to Stamperia Alicese’s printers: I don’t think I exaggerate if I say that only during that year they produced more than five million pieces! […] Borg led FILA looks to fame; a sample of his polo was even given to New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology. Sadly, the museum forgot to specify my name on its side….