Our Story

African sky

Our story starts in Kinshasa, Congo.

In 1946, Nissim Israël was born in Kinshasa to Italian and Greek parents, who migrated there early 20th century. Nissim’s parents owned a store in a Belgian/African community, where his love for cotton and the métier started. And lasted a lifetime…

At the age of 14, he moved to Belgium with his parents even though his heart never left Africa. The bright multicolored African sky was in sharp contrast with Belgium’s depressing, grey climate.

After his studies as a textile engineer in Tournai (Doornik), he moved back to Kinshasa with his wife Patsy to work for the British Textile Company for a couple of years. By the mid ‘70s, he returned to Belgium and settled in Brussels, where he started his first brand Charles Ardiff, a collection of men shirts known for its vivid colours and an emphasis on prints and patterns. Israël focussed on the French market and quickly gained the attention of Galerie Lafayette, Bloomingdale’s, Harrods,… .  After Charles Ardiff, Nissim Israël also designed a collection of luxury blouses for women.

Finally, in 1978, Olivier Strelli was born.

Stars, Planes and Stones

Olivier Strelli soon established itself as a breath of fresh air amongst other more abstract brands at the time. The personality radiating from the enigma of Olivier Strelli created a mysterious atmosphere around the brand that sparked the imaginations of customers everywhere.

Success soon followed and Olivier Strelli opened multiple stores. One notable such store was in Saint-Tropez, where world stars were household names. Celebrities such as Eddie Murphy, Stevie Wonder, Rod Stewart and John Galliano were known to pay frequent visits when in town.

In 1989, Olivier Strelli collaborated with Belgian airline company Sabena, designing the new outfits for its employees, in which they introduced attractive, sensual two piece women suits. Eventually, even the Belgian Royal family found its way to the world of Olivier Strelli. Queen Paola, Queen (then Princess) Mathilda and King (then Prince) Filip have all been dressed by Strelli. Queen Paola also famously wore a yellow coat at the corronation of her husband, King Albert II in 1993.

In 1997, Olivier Strelli gained even more recognition when Rolling Stones frontman and all around living legend Mick Jagger was seen sporting a long purple velvet coat by Olivier Strelli. A collaboration soon followed as Olivier Strelli designed outfits for the Rolling Stones’ record-breaking concert world tour “Bridges to Babylon”.

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 –

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