Claudio Del Vecchio: The Man Who Brought Back the Golden Fleece

After close to 200 years in business, all-American retailer Brooks Brothers had gone off course. Now an Italian businessman is helping steer the brand back to its former self

Steven Henry / Getty

Claudio Del Vecchio, owner of Brooks Brothers

Soon after buying Brooks Brothers in late 2001, Claudio Del Vecchio took a trip to the warehouse that keeps the company's archives. When a business has been around since 1818, you wind up with a lot of history—especially when you're talking about the retailer that sold Abraham Lincoln the overcoat he wore to Ford's Theatre, F.D.R. the cape he donned at Yalta, Fred Astaire the neckties he used as belts and generations of men the suits they wore to their first jobs on Wall Street.

It had been years since a Brooks executive had looked at the old catalogs, swatches, advertisements...

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