Style & Tales

“Rubirosa and the golden era of playboys”

Porfirio Rubirosa is generally recognised as the most representative of the “golden era playboys”. But what is it exactly that made those middle century gentlemen so distinctively irresistible and charmant, and somehow incomparable to any other wealthy partygoer of later times?

Several authors and insightful beholders of the period tried to list the peculiar set of the old-style “playboy” characteristics.

Undoubtedly an inherited wealth was essential to sustain a lifestyle that in most cases did not include pretty much any work whatsoever and instead entirely revolved around a perennial search for pleasure.


Yet real playboys had money, yes, but they were also rich in good manners, class and style. Fluency in at least three languages and ability to dance were considered basic skills. Ladies would always be treated with perfect chivalry. No profanity would be ever uttered in public spaces. Bragging and showing off was left to arrivistes with no class or pedigree. No need to say that employing bodyguards or PR assistants would be totally out of the question.

Yet most of them were very generous with their friends and attendants. And they were capable of big gestures. Like that time when Gunther Sachs, who became the third husband of Brigitte Bardot two months after meeting her, showered her home with thousands of roses from a helicopter the day after seeing her for the first time.

All of the playboys were very keen on sports, usually the more dangerous and expensive the better. Rubirosa has been a passionate polo player and car racer throughout his whole life; Sachs dived and bobsledded; Gianni Agnelli skied and went sailing; Baby Pignattari piloted the airplanes of his own airline company; and so on. And all of them with no exception adored fine fast cars and usually drove them at breath-taking speed.


This passion for adventurous sports played a big part in their success with the fair sex, since on one hand it gave them naturally athletic and sleekly silhouettes and on the other hand it confirmed their brave and macho attitude. And while none of them did really obsessed over their looks, a true gentleman felt that it was somehow a duty of his not to “let himself go” so not to make the beautiful ladies they escorted look bad.

That’s also why a good wardrobe was another essential part of the playboy lifestyle: always impeccably tailored, exquisite, classical pieces that could sometime display a slight accent of unconventionality, but only as long as the overall impression stayed classy and tasteful. No slovenly nor flashy nor bling clothes would ever been considered an acceptable option by those gentlemen.

In general, their whole public personas were characterized by a well-mannered understatement. Something we can define as “quiet luxury”. And that is exactly the philosophy inspiring all the RUBIROSA collections, as a bond with the style of the greatest playboy of all times, whom the brand is named after.


The people featured in this story are not associated with and do not endorse RUBIROSA or the products shown


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