Olivier Strelli’s story starts with the birth of inspirer and founder Nissim Israël in African Congo, where his parents owned a store in a Belgian / African community. Nissim’s love for cotton and the métier started here. And lasted a lifetime.
Reaching the age of 14, he moved back to Belgium with his parents, but these African colours of his childhood have always been an inspiration in Strelli’s later collections. Especially being in Belgium, the multicolored African sky almost turned into an obsession in comparison with the grey colours of Brussels.
After his studies as a textile engineer in Doornik, he returned to Kinsasha with his wife Patsy to work in the British Textile company. Going back to Belgium the second time in the ‘70s, the rough wild African nature even more proved to be an endless source of inspiration in his later life.
In ’75 Nissim started his first brand in Brussels, focussing on men shirts, Charles Ardiff. Vivid colours and a an emphasis on prints & patterns characterised their first collections. With a focus on France, they quickly gained the attention of Galeries Lafayette, Bloomingdale’s, Harrods,… Next step, they started with a luxury blouse collection for women. And finally in ’78 Olivier Strelli was born.
A world star
The label, which holds the name of Nissim’s son Olivier and a anagram of Patsy’s grandfather last name Stiller, is a breathe of fresh air among all the other abstract brands of that time.
The personality radiating from the name Olivier Strelli creates a msyterious atmosphere around the brand that sparks the imagination of stores and customers.
The successes follow one another which leads to the Olivier Strelli store in Saint Tropez dressing great celebrities in the ‘80s and ‘90s such as Eddie Murphy, Stevie Wonder, Rod Stewart and John Galliano. In 1989 they are responsible for the new look of Belgian Airline Sabena, introducing attractive and sensual two piece women suits. Soon Belgian royalties found their way to the Brussels house of fashion. Amongst others they dressed queen Paola and Mathilde and king Filip. Other great names completing that list are Brigitte Bardot, Joan Collins and Helena Christensen.
Later on, in 1997, the label even attracts the attention of world star Mick Jagger with a long purple velvet coat. A meeting quickly followed and a collaboratin with the Roling Stones ‘Bridges to Babylon tour’ was realised.
The road to success
Three decades later, Olivier Strelli returns to their core business focussing on menswear with an expertise in casualwear and suiting. Young and promessing designers bring carefully created designs insipred by Olivier Strelli’s heritage of fine prints and fresh colours and most important, a quirky view on fashion trends. Still remaining true to a tradition of colourfull impressions, we are ready for the next decades!
The road to success always begins in style.
"Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak"
– RACHEL ZOE –