Olivier Strelli was born in 1946 in Kinshasa, Belgian Congo as Nissim Israel, the son of Italian and Greek Jews from the island of Rhodes who had migrated there in the early 20th century. After the Congolese Independence, Strelli’s family ended up in Belgium where Olivier studied textile design in Tournai. Based in Brussels from 1974, he created a line of off-the-peg male fashions and later opened his own boutiques. His first full-line collection was shown in the Paris fashion shows of 1980.
From then on he put Belgium on the fashion map and famous clients since have included the Rolling Stones, Brigitte Bardot, Stevie Wonder, many tv presenters and several members of the Belgian royal family. The yellow coat worn by Queen Paola during the coronation of her husband King Albert II in 1993 was a Strelli original. Later he also designed uniforms for the Belgian railway staff, for the air hostesses of the former Belgian national airline Sabena and for the French national football team “Les Bleus” during their Euro 2004 campaign.
The wide range of fashion related Strelli accessories includes men shoes and sneakers, for which The Velvet Factory became the exclusive licensee in the year 2000.