Rome Bridal Week interviews Raffaele Senatore

Rome Bridal Week interviews Raffaele Senatore, son of Pinella Passaro, a designer and television personality, artistic director of Maison Passaro. From March 23rd to 25th, he will be among the visitors of the New Edition of Rome Bridal Week to preview the new bridal trends to offer to its brides.

Can you describe your store? Where is it located, how many years has it been on the market, and which brands does it focus on the most?
The Passaro group today is synonymous with avant-garde, originality, and visibility, with numerous events each year showcasing Pinella Passaro’s creations in prestigious locations in Italy and around the world. Pinella had a regular primetime column on Rai Due, the national television channel, for 10 years. The evolution of today’s business is closely linked to the actions and choices made by the family members over the years.

The business started with the fabric trade initiated by Andrea Passaro at the end of the nineteenth century. However, the first official record of the business is from April 23, 1925, when Francesco Passaro, Andrea’s son, filed an individual business report related to the sale of fabrics at the Chamber of Commerce in Salerno. He claimed that the business had started in 1915 under the name “Francesco Passaro.”

In 1946, Andrea, Francesco’s son, returned from the war and took over the business, facing the damages caused by German looting. Over the years, he renewed and expanded the business. When Francesco requested to retire due to age, Andrea changed the business’s name to “Passaro Andrea.”

A significant turning point occurred when Andrea met Maria Luigia Catapano, also known as Gina, the daughter of merchants. They married on February 13, 1954, and their union resulted in Pinella and Lucia. Gina, with her elegant and refined appearance, established a strong bond with her father-in-law Francesco, who was fascinated by her innovative ideas. It was Gina who gained Francesco’s trust when she proposed transitioning from fabric sales to clothing production. The first garment produced was a Montgomery coat, expanding the customer base regionally.

With the change of ownership, significant modifications were introduced, marking a positive future for the business. The transition from retail fabric trade to clothing production, with the creation of a small tailoring workshop, was crucial. The store in Borgo transformed into a renowned boutique selling tailor-made clothing and pieces from top brands, replacing retail fabrics with ready-to-wear.

In the 1960s, other initiatives were undertaken, such as expanding the premises and introducing display windows for direct customer interaction. Another strength, still relevant today, is the careful selection of collaborators to form a team of specialized and loyal individuals who are an integral part of the Passaro family.

With Andrea Passaro’s passing in 1992, there was a decisive change in the family business. Pinella and Lucia Passaro, the daughters, inherited the business and, while respecting tradition, diversified their areas of expertise to develop and focus more specifically on tailoring.

Pinella Passaro, along with her husband Stelvio Senatore and their sons Raffaele and Andrea, is dedicated to the women’s sector. A significant addition is the department dedicated to “brides,” inaugurated in the 1990s and led by Pinella Passaro. It offers a wide selection of brands, including her exclusive worldwide known collection, Pinella Passaro Sposa.

In February 2011, Pinella and Lucia Passaro received the “Entrepreneurial Longevity” award at the “A. Genovesi” Hall of the Chamber of Commerce in Salerno, recognizing their long-standing contribution to the local economy, the integrity of their commercial activities, and their entrepreneurial commitment that has promoted socio-economic development in the Province of Salerno.

Pinella Passaro is an Italian designer and television personality, the artistic director of Maison Passaro. Specialized in bridal fashion, she became the first Italian designer in 2013 to have a fixed column dedicated to her creations on the television program Detto Fatto, aired on RaiDue. In 2019, she won the prestigious Margutta Award, earning her the title of “Designer of the Year.”

They have 8 specialized stores in each sector, including 3 dedicated entirely to brides.

As for 2023, what were the preferred choices of brides in the past year?
Every bride has her own dress, whether traditional, sexy, bon ton, or shabby chic, it’s the bride who makes it special by feeling beautiful. Over the years, fashion trends have changed fabrics or styles, but the wedding dress remains the dream of every girl.

Brides getting married in 2024 have chosen a bit of everything, depending on personal taste, the location of the wedding, and the type of ceremony they will have. Certainly, this year, more than in previous years, there has been a preference for “beautiful” fabrics, understood as precious and handmade.

What will change in 2024? What are the new trends and requests from brides?
The wedding dress is a product rooted in tradition, and from one season to another, products are not drastically changed. Of course, I won’t reveal the novelties we’ll propose in our exclusive collection for 2025, but it will undoubtedly be a spectacular collection!

Events in 2024: Rome Bridal Week will open the calendar of trade fairs. Will we see you in the fair’s corridors? What would you like to find? Which brands will you focus on?
Definitely! And we hope to find as many novelties that we’ll propose in our exclusive collection.