Since the beginning of the 19th century, the Loro Piana family worked as wool merchants in Italy. Sourcing the finest wool fabrics in all of Italy and crafting them into the finest clothing.
Through six generations Loro Piana has continued to produce luxury goods using the world’s nest, raw materials. Today the house can source its raw products from all around the world, ensuring that they have the best quality possible. These treasures are then crafted in Italy to produce clothing that moulds to the body and offers complete comfort for the wearing. Loro Piana is about touch. There is no way to truly describe the sensation of its products through words, which is why they invite all of their customers to their stores to embark on a sensory experience, discovering the world’s nest wool and cashmere.
Leading this unique brand today is Fabio d’Angelantonio. An admitted customer of the brand d’Angelantonio has observed and loved Loro Piana for many years. He understands the legacy of this brand and the importance of preserving its unique treasures. Here, d’Angelantonio shares some of the special traits that make Loro Piana so unique and how he plans to move forward with the brand after this time of crisis.
What does Italy mean to you personally?
For me, Italy quintessentially embodies the joy for life, a fantastic mix of beauty (art and country), savoir-vivre (lifestyle and food) and creativity (fashion and design).
Tell us more about the importance of “Made in Italy”.
I believe Italy offers a mix of creativity and savoir-faire, as well as artisanal craftsmanship, which is truly unique.
How do you think the values and culture of Italy are reflected through Loro Piana?
Loro Piana’s DNA is very closely linked to many core Italian values. Excellence, casual elegance, savoir-faire and family traditions: these are deeply rooted in our brand identity. Not to mention our strong link with nature, the carefree joie-de-vivre and of course, not taking ourselves too seriously.
Loro Piana is a brand with a rich legacy that dates back to 1924, what is the part of Loro Piana’s story that inspires you most?
Before becoming the CEO I was first a client. I have been with Loro Piana professionally since 2016, but I’ve been a client for over 20 years. I’ll never forget when I was a student and there still weren’t any Loro Piana owned stores. I was so passionate about the brand and the fabrics that I would go in my car from Rome and head directly to the factory store in Quarona to buy them.
I believe Loro Piana is an extraordinary brand, capable of combining in a completely natural way three, singular dimensions: Firstly, Sensorial immersion, touching unique high-quality natural fibres (our excellences) that are the result of passion, research and know-how that has been handed down for six generations. Beauty and excellence stem from the natural raw materials. Secondly; an effortless and timeless elegance which interprets the product (and its details, see the pockets) as a solution for the needs of a cosmopolitan, sophisticated and discerning clients’ everyday life. Lifestyles evolve and so the products that we propose season after season and generation after generation interpret this evolution, yet remaining faithful to our values. And thirdly, the deep understanding of a sophisticated and discerning cosmopolitan consumer, who appreciates excellent manners and service.
In every crisis, there is always an opportunity – what is something positive that will come out of this situation we are currently facing?
First of all, for years we have heard of globalization but perhaps we have never felt the meaning of “the butterfly effect” as much as we are currently experiencing it. We are all connected in this large global community where geographical distances, cultural and philosophical differences and regional and religious boundaries are dated notions that no longer seem relevant. While we are distant and we cannot meet and shake hands, we have never been closer. If we want to move forward in this hyper-connected and globalised world, we need to increase trust in one another, whether that means individuals, corporations, institutions, or countries. We need to share information and heighten co-operation, institute global agreements and nd common ground for exchanges in business, technology, science, healthcare and education. In some ways, companies have already learned this lesson better than anyone – yet never has this truth been as clear as it is today on so many levels.
Secondly, this crisis quickly changed our relationship with easy to use technology, we adapted quickly and are grateful for these tools that I believe are here to stay. And this is good news. For years we’ve discussed e-learning or working from home, and now in just a few short weeks it’s all become a reality. It’s a giant pilot project, albeit an unexpected acceleration, which otherwise would have never occurred, and which will prove beneficial in the future. When all this will be over we will nd ourselves masters of tools, abilities and habits that we will be more than able to handle.
Tell us about the spring/summer 2020 collection.
Feeling, not showing is the essence of the Loro Piana ethos. The way a garment feels to touch and on the body, the perfect balance of noble fibres and easy shapes conveys an idea of comfort that is the ultimate expression of understated nonchalance. Each piece is meant to become one with the wearer, suggesting harmony between the self and the environment, and an “en plein” airway of living style. Spring Summer 2020 is all about the easy side of elegance but more of a quiet form of personal indulgence, with pieces for both city dressing and also more relaxed leisure time. It’s a collection very much focused on sight and touch and comfort: A soft deconstructed summer suit for example, or a delicate supple summer knit in cashmere linen mix. Soft is ultimately the Loro Piana byword for summer.
Why is the Loro Piana Cashmere so unique and special?
Loro Piana sources its Cashmere from Outer and Inner Mongolia, where long winters reach extreme levels of cold, transforming into very hot and dry summers when rain is rare, and water and food are scarce. The Capra hircus goats have adapted to thrive in these extreme conditions developing a special fleece made up of two layers: the outermost layer – formed of protective, coarse hair – and hiding underneath, an exceptionally soft underfleece. The goats shed their insulating underfleece naturally in June when the weather becomes milder: this is what we call Cashmere. The herders gather the fibres from the goats in harmony with the natural cycle of life – and in complete respect of these beautiful, resilient animals that manage to survive in one of the harshest climates on earth.
The uniqueness of Loro Piana Cashmere also depends on human relationships. We think of it as a collaboration in the name of excellence: solid, mutually beneficial and long-term partnerships with a small number of herders who we visit regularly to check the quality of their production. Our herders are keen to keep their exclusive and privileged relationships with Loro Piana as they feel they belong to an exclusive club devoted to producing the nest fibres destined for the very top of the market. They trust us and we trust them because we are continuously working together in the name of absolute quality.
Over six generations of experience in the textile industry have established uncompromising standards in sourcing, quality manufacturing and retailing, combined with the impulse to evolve respectfully in the world. The company is recognised for unrivalled savoir-faire in crafting the nest raw materials into fabrics of rare quality. In the end, the real secret of Cashmere remains the same: the incredible fineness and softness of the raw material.
I also invite you – to better understand what I mean – to see our docu lm ‘Cashmere – The Origin of a Secret’, the first documentary in a trilogy directed at the invitation of Loro Piana by Luc Jacquet, ecologist and Academy Award-winning director for the ‘March of the Penguins’. ‘Cashmere – The Origin of a Secret’ paints a portrait of enduring harmonies, intense harshness and sublime softness – excellences found in extremes. Drawing on a fascination with the delicate symbiosis between humans, animals and the environment, this is the first time Luc Jacquet has filmed a human experience of living in a world, which is constantly challenged by the vicissitudes of nature.
What would you tell us about the “The Gift of Kings”
Once traded by the Phoenicians, the Merino is the very oldest breed of sheep. In the 8th Century, the Moors introduced Merinos to Spain, where the sheep soon attracted the attention of the Spanish sovereigns, aristocracy and clergy. By the 18th Century, the Spanish kings were presenting the animals as royal gifts – Merino wool became known as the ‘gift of kings’. Three centuries later, The Gift of Kings® is the name Loro Piana gives to the elegant clothing crafted from the world’s finest wool.
The Gift of Kings® wool is the outcome of a tireless quest for excellence, and Loro Piana’s enduring passion for the most exquisite natural fibres. Working closely with leading woolgrowers in Australia and New Zealand for many years, Loro Piana encourages and supports the production of this ever-finer fibre. To celebrate the immense effort that goes into producing this unique wool, each year Loro Piana rewards the finest fibre with the Record Bale Award, and occasionally, through hard work and perseverance, this fibre breaks all known world records for wool fineness, becoming the World Record Bale.
The Gift Of Kings® takes wool to an exceptional level of fineness and quality. Measuring approximately 12 microns, this extra-special wool is ner than cashmere, as light as vicuña and available in extremely limited quantities – about 3,000 kilos a year compared to the 500 million kilos of fibre overall auctioned annually in Australia and New Zealand. To turn it into yarn, Loro Piana had to devise new equipment and techniques to preserve the precious qualities and integrity of the fibres.
To what extent do you believe that brands should invest in offering more experiential moments with their customers? And how is that applied at Loro Piana?
Experiential moments are very important for customers of luxury brands. One can only appreciate quality if the experience delivers quality itself. In today’s retail world, where each day is increasingly frenetic and transactional, our customers find in our stores an oasis of calm and good manners.
Tell us about Loro Piana and sustainability.
Loro Piana is sustainable by DNA. We deal with gifts from nature of which we appreciate both the privilege and its responsibility. When we buy cashmere in Mongolia we have to think about selecting the best quality this year, but we also have to ensure that there will be the right conditions to have it again in 5 to 10 years.
Sustainability for Loro Piana has a strong foundation in the past before the term “Sustainability” even existed. For decades, sustainability has meant responsibility, first for the environment and for the communities where we operate, from the regions where we source our raw materials to Italy where we spin, weave and transform them into our precious products. This commitment has always gone hand in hand with our obsessive search for quality, as we believe that the excellence of our products needs to reflect the excellence of our environmental practices and our relationship with people and communities. Our in-the- eld presence in Peru and our role in Vicuna conservation in the last twenty years as well as our effort to preserve quality cashmere in Inner Mongolia (China) resulting in better animal welfare and reduced pressure on land, are the shining examples of our commitment to nature
With this heritage as a foundation, today we believe that companies like ours have to take their responsibility through their value chain. For this reason, our sustainability direction includes four priority areas:
- Aiming for carbon neutrality in our operations;
- Improving products in the entire life cycle, from raw materials to end of life;
- Taking responsibility for animals, our main source of raw materials;
- Caring for people and communities, including our suppliers.
We believe that sustainability is not an absolute concept, but rather a journey that allows us to integrate our values, such as integrity, respect and responsibility, into our way of doing business. In the best interest of our brand, of the environment and current and future generations.
When this entire situation is over, what is the first thing that you will do?
Hug my friends!
Where in Italy do you like to travel?
To a beautiful small Island in Sicily called Salina, it is heaven on earth.
What is the motto you are living by during this time?
Take one day at the time, the situation is constantly evolving and the excellent decisions made a few weeks ago may need to be changed today.
How are you spending your quarantine days at home?
While in quarantine mode I read, cook, play cards with my family and of course, I work. I try to talk daily with as many colleagues as I can at Loro Piana both in Italy and worldwide.
What’s your favourite Italian phrase?
“La felicità é nelle piccole cose,” which means “happiness lies in small things.”
How would you describe Italy in one word?
Joy for life… I know, it’s not one word!