One Man Band 87

Brand: One Man Band by Nelson Li and Lella Lombardo
Year: Fall/Winter 1987

 Daily News Record I September 23, 1987 I Fressola, Peter J.

Designers Nelson Li and Lella Lombardo of One Man Band have distinguished themselves for consistently offering some of the most innovative and forward knits in men's wear. Each season, the collection revolves around a theme which inspires the stylized patterns that are carried through the range.

You reach their sunny studio by going through a small door into an ivy-walled court-yard off a residential side street in Bologna. Their greeting is warm and relaxed.

A few minutes into conversation, you realize that there is a remarkable energy in the room and that it is far more than merely the sum of the two parts of One Man Band.

Lella Lombardo, 40, and Nelson Li, 35, are the yin and the yang of this company's energy. Their three-year-old line of men's knits has brought a surge of excitement and creativity to an area of fashion that has often been marked by the staid afterthoughts of big designers.

Li and Lombardo design the line for Modena-based Agenco, an $80 million-a-year knitwear manufacturer that also produces Enrico Coveri's babywear. The two of them had designed lines for a variety of manufacturers, including Benetton, before they were approached by Agenco. Initially, they did the firm's Portobello label, but weary of dispersing their creative energies over many different projects, they suggested to Agenco that they do a single line, something very exclusive and particular. Agenco agreed.

Nelson explains that they came up with the name One Man Band because "it communicated the idea of doing something honest and free . . . you know, marching to the beat of your own drummer."

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