Castelli’s story goes back some 130 years pre dating the Lo Scorpione, the Giro, the Tour and even the name Castelli itself. In 1876 a tailor called Vittore Gianni opened up a small tailoring shop in the centre of Milan. Gianni hand crafted garments for the some of the most important people in the local area and even outfitted Milan Ballet and AC Milan football team. Gianni’s first cycling client was Alfredo Binda, a five times Giro champion in the 1920s but no serious thought was given to doing cycling specific apparel. This all changed when a young Armando Castelli joined the ranks in 1935.
The young Castelli was a very ambitious individual and in 1935 he purchased the company. The new look Milan clothing attracted cycling heroes of the era such as Gino Bartali and Fausto Coppi who hired Castelli as their personal tailors. However this was mainly for off the bike wear with only a few custom bike bits being produced followed by a few teams being sponsored and wearing unbranded cycle clothing made by the company.
In 1948 Armando’s son, Maurizio, was born and from an early age developed a passion for cycling. This coupled with the family business values of passion for excellence and attention to detail saw Maurizio look to pursue a path into cycling apparel. However there was a conflict of interest with the elder Armando not seeing eye to eye with junior. Maurizio broke away in 1974 and starting the company we know and love today. The use of a Scorpion as a symbol is said to have come from a mistress of Maurizio who was a Scorpio, although this could be an urban legend.
Castelli was one of the first companies to adopt the use of Lycra and in 1977 the Milan factory produced the first pair of Lycra cycling shorts. Later Maurizio pioneered the use of sublimation dye which revolutionised the sport of professional cycle wear, breaking down the boundaries of conventional jersey design. The new colours, logos and designs that started to appear help mould the modern era of racing.
Each year Castelli strive to adhere to the Maurizio’s guiding philosophy, combining technology with innovation, style and design and the 2012 Autumn/Winter collection is no different. So let’s have a look at the new range as Heinrich Haussler puts it through its paces.