Now here’s the thing… how does a simple girl like me find herself in Quarona, Northern Italy, at the LORO PIANA headquarters shaking hands with Pier Luigi Loro Piana !!?? …to start… when I designed my tee-shirt collection in Monaco I knew that I truly wanted to produce my tee-shirts using the very best yarn in the world – the following is how it came to fruition and the wonderful 36hr experience in the arms of Loro Piana.
result – SIRO cashmere luxury tee-shirt collection is produced using 100% LORO PIANA yarn!!!
The Loro Piana family started as wool traders at the beginning of the 19th century.
Franco Loro Piana began exporting fine fabrics in the 1940’s and his 2 sons Sergio and Pier Luigi joined the family company in the 1970’s.
In 2012 the turnover of the company was £700 million, they produce approx 5 million meters of fabric each year!!!
In 2013 LVMH purchased 80% of Loro Piana for £2 billion and the other 20% stayed in the Loro Piana family until this year – 2016, when the 20% will be ‘up for sale’. Mr Matthieu Brisset CEO, has worked for LVMH since 2008 and was appointed to manage the integration, transition and positioning of Loro Piana. Mr Fabio d’Angelantonio, previously from sunglass maker, Luxottica, will take over as CEO of Loro Piana in September 2016 and Mr Brisset will be re-appointed within LVMH.
Sadly, on the 19th December 2013, Sergio Loro Piana died leaving his younger brother Pier Luigi as the ‘frontman’.
Back to my story… I was given an email address by my well connected business partner that triggered my ‘first contact’ followed by an invitation by the CEO, Mr Mattihieu Brisset to visit the Loro Piana Headquaters in Quarona, Northern Italy… WOW!!!
… I drove from Cannes to Quarona in March 2015, I arrived late at night, not really appreciating where I was with only basic directions to the hotel that Loro Piana had booked for me!! The next morning I looked out to find myself in the most beautiful valley in Northern Italy with surrounding snow covered Alps – just like a storybook. Loro Piana sent a car to pick me up to take me to their Headquaters – the LP compound is so huge that most of the town of Quarona works there. I was given the FULL tour – I started in the laboratories where I was shown rough cashmere in huge bags with thorns and thistles still tangled in the hair. From there I looked through a microscope to see the structure of the cashmere hair (wearing a hair net and a white coat), I learned about pilling, I watched huge machines comb, dye and weave the yarn then a robot arm manoeuvre and transport woven fabric to dry. In one area of this HUGE factory sat containers labeled Ralph Lauren, Missoni etc… this truly was an impressive operation and at the forefront of technology. My personal guided tour in the factory lasted 4 hours and I had the privilege of seeing every stage of the LORO PIANA secret steps to such amazing quality! I was then taken to the Loro Piana Interiors studio WOW!! – beautiful rooms showcasing cashmere covered sofas and chairs, curtains, cushions, carpet, everything to furnish your home, super yacht, superjet, superLIFE!. I was also shown the most expensive overcoat in the world – made from Vicuna (a graceful animal from South America). It takes the fleece of 25-30 vicuna to make just one overcoat.
Now time for lunch!! … I was very kindly invited by the Director of European Sales and the English/French regional agent to a wonderful lunch in the centre of Quarona at an authentic, chic Italian restaurant – plenty of prosecco, 6 courses and 3 colours of wine later we headed back to Headquaters.
Before leaving France I received an email to say that the CEO of Loro Piana!! (yes you read that right :)) would like a meeting at 3pm!!! so with excitement i was welcomed by Mr Matthieu Brisset into his office. He was elegant, charming, welcoming and interested in my SIRO cashmere tee-shirt collection and the partnership with Loro Piana. Suddenly there was a knock at the door and I noticed Mr Brisset stand up – so I decided best to follow 😉 ….. in walked Pier Luigi Loro Piana!!!!!! I couldn’t believe it. He walked towards me with hand outstretched, kind smiling eyes, a straight back and with a firm and welcoming handshake i met Mr Pier Luigi Loro Piana… a member of the 200 year old LORO PIANA empire…