Brioni made history in 1952 by holding the first ever runway show for men’s clothing in Palazzo Pitti’s Sala Bianca. Tailor Nazareno Fonticoli and entrepreneur Gaetano Savini decided to tantalize the buyers who had come to Florence for the couture collections with something different. The concept was straightforwardly revolutionary : their employee Angelo Vittucci was hired to wear a dozen suits whilst working the room packed with women into a state of high excitement. Whereas on runways today, models plod forward with a death stare into nowhere, likely drugged into blissful ignorance of any of the earthlings that surround them, Brioni's handsome devil shook hands, smiled and laughed; he even let a lady in the front row get a little handsy with his overcoat. The ploy worked, and Brioni became the first Italian fashion house to break into the US. Now owned by Kering and under the creative directorship of Brendan Mullane, the label marked its 70th year in business with a piece of runway theater that had none of the endearing naivety of Gaetano Savini's groundbreaking innovation yet was just as persuasive. Brendan Mullane's concept was to link the form of Vienna's Spanish Riding School with the Wiener Werkstätte, that same city's decorative arts modernist precursor. Hence his models fairly cantered around their carpeted arena, and the show climaxed with a synchronized intermingling that might have troubled the watching Kering whip-cracker / Salma Hayek's husband / French billionaire François-Henri Pinault, had disaster ensued. No fear : the choreography was as disciplined as Brendan Mullane's gently equestrian-touched and Werstätte-patterned tailoring, accessories, and outerwear. You had to look hard at the models as they rushed past to spot the quiet integration of somewhat Vorticist grids on the knitwear. The odd buckle (under the shawled collar of a cardigan), bridle-strap key chain, or double-pleated and tapering jodhpur were confidently sensitive hints at horsey-ness. Duffel coats, blousons and jackets came in faded checks, which the designer said were both horse-blanket inspired and reminiscent of Brioni pieces that were featured on a Seventies cover of L'Uomo Vogue. So while he played with his idea, he reined in any hint of excess in its expression to leave the audience a clear view of Brioni's core proposition -handmade ready-to-wear tailoring that is as seductive now as it was back in 1952.