Loro Piana to Receive International Brand of the Year Award at WWD x Saudi Fashion Awards – WWD

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MILAN — Loro Piana is marking its centennial this year — but the Italian luxury brand is showing no signs of aging.

Because of the brand’s growth and being one of the pillars of the “quiet luxury” trend, Loro Piana will receive the International Brand of the Year Award on June 6 in Riyadh during the WWD x Saudi Fashion Awards gala presented by the Saudi Fashion Commission in collaboration with WWD.

The Loro Piana family began trading wool and fine textiles at the beginning of the 19th century in Trivero, in northern Italy. Pietro Loro Piana founded the company as a wool mill in 1924 in the country’s Quarona. In the mid-1940s, Franco Loro Piana started exporting precious textiles outside of Italy, an activity further developed by his sons Sergio and Pier Luigi in the 1970s, when they started helming the firm and expanding into luxury retail operations. LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton acquired a majority stake in the company in 2013, further developing its business over the years.

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The brand is helmed by chief executive officer Damien Bertrand, who joined the company in November 2021 from Christian Dior Couture in Paris, where he was managing director. 

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Bertrand has seen expansion of the brand across retail and categories, while maintaining its luxury ethos. Here, some of Loro Piana’s most recent initiatives and highlights:

In February, the company unveiled its fall 2024 collection in Milan, expanding its offer in new and versatile directions, including statement jewelry and eveningwear — cue an allover sequin dress in silk georgette — and raising the bar yet again in its search for superior textile quality.

The brand’s “fiori di cardo” flower symbol — representing the thistle used historically as a tool to raise and brush cashmere in its factory — was turned into golden pins that closed jacket collars. The styling tip nodded to the way the late Sergio Loro Piana used to store jackets in his wardrobe, with the lapels closed and pinned to maintain the softness of the fold.

Fabrics ranged from cashmere and vicuña to cheviot, CashDenim and the exclusive “Pecora Nera” naturally dark wool sourced in New Zealand. The Sopra Visso wool sourced in Italy’s Sibillini Mountains was used in sophisticated yet rustic cropped jackets and ladylike pencil skirts.

For men, there were double-breasted tuxedos and plush shearling coats, field jackets, unstructured blazers and roomy overshirts.

Loro Piana Fall 2024 Ready-to-Wear Collection at Milan Fashion Week

Loro Piana Fall 2024 Ready-to-Wear Collection at Milan Fashion Week

Courtesy of Loro Piana

The Loro Piana Record Bale leads to superior quality, contends deputy chairman Pier Luigi Loro Piana, whose  passion and commitment have driven the brand to reward and secure the finest wool in the world. The annual Record Bale Award, which he established in 1997, has been leading to increasingly finer Merino wool fibers. 

The award was once again bestowed in February and Pier Luigi Loro Piana, who holds the role of deputy chairman, said at the time that the recognition was “never about simply setting a record, it was instrumental in proving that we could evolve and improve the fibers to reach superior quality.”

The award was bestowed to two farms, one in Australia and one in New Zealand. The Australian farm, Pyrenees Park, with Pamela, Robert and Bradley Sandlant, secured a new World Record Bale with a Merino wool fiber of only 10.2 microns, surpassing the 2013 record of 10.3 microns. A micron is the unit of measurement of the fineness of a fiber equivalent to one-thousandth of a millimeter. For context, a human hair measures 80 microns.

The award ceremonies have been held around the world, from New York and Tokyo to Los Angeles, Rome, Milan and, most recently, in London. 

This ever-finer wool can only be obtained from the shearing of a selection of unique Merino sheep raised by expert breeders, explained Loro Piana, “keeping under control the process of selection of the animals for years in a scientific way. These are long-term programs, it takes two or three generations of sheep and require constancy and long-term vision.”

The World Record Bale is preciously stored in a glass container at the Loro Piana Quarona factory in Italy’s Piedmont region, until the record is beaten. The previous bale of 10.3 microns can be now put in production.

The precious Record Bale garments are differentiated with a special label that documents their traceability, from the year the animal was shorn, to its origin, to the fiber’s micron. The company has vertically integrated manufacturing facilities.

Through the Record Bale competition, Loro Piana has created the Gift of Kings, ultrafine wool. The name is inspired by the Spanish royal family’s practice of gifting pairs of Merino sheep to other monarchs to honor these relationships. In the second half of the 18th century, the animals were taken to New Zealand and Australia, where the habitat proved ideal.

Loro Piana

The Loro Piana Record Bale.

courtesy of Loro Piana

The company held the eighth edition of the Loro Piana Knit Design Award in May, hinging on the theme of “Fast Forward Heritage,” and the reinterpretation of knitwear.

Students Pierre Sauvageot and Björn Backes from the École Duperré Paris, tutored by Professor François-Xavier Herody, won the award — a gleaming silver ribbon-like trophy — for their project. Titled “Cavalieri, a History of Innovation,” it reinterpreted the armor of ancient knights with the use of Loro Piana cashmere yarns blended with iron threads, maintaining softness while adding structure, thus combining the natural fiber’s legacy with modernity in using the metal thread and the knitted armor’s contemporary design.

The winners were short-listed from a panel of eight applicants hailing from international fashion and designs schools such as Italy’s Accademia Costume e Moda; the Fashion Institute of Technology; the Institut Français de la Mode, and Tokyo’s Bunka Fashion College, among others.

The participating students were able to visit Loro Piana factories to discover production processes and stores and the winners received a scholarship, a contract to work for the company and the opportunity to develop their samples with help from the house’s research and development team. The final products will be showcased at the upcoming edition of textile trade show Pitti Filati, to be held in Florence from June 25 to 27.

The Loro Piana Knit Design Award was established in 2016 to reward talented students from leading design schools around the world who have been tasked with infusing innovation into the brand’s signature yarns, which include, among others, the Cashmere 2/27, Coarsehair, Supercashmere, registered Royal, Wish and Clan textiles, Sopravisso and Equilibrio.

Pierre Sauvageot and Björn Backes, the winners of the Loro Piana 2024 Knit Design Award.

Pierre Sauvageot and Björn Backes, the winners of the 2024 Loro Piana Knit Design Award.

Courtesy of Loro Piana

In April, Loro Piana celebrated the work and vision of legendary Milanese architect and designer Cini Boeri on the centenary of her birth. “A Tribute to Cini Boeri” was installed at Loro Piana’s Milan sprawling headquarters at Cortile della Seta during the city’s Salone del Mobile, displaying Boeri’s iconic pieces upholstered in the Italian luxury brand’s most exclusive interiors fabrics.

The pieces, produced by Arflex, were installed in collaboration with Archivio Cini Boeri.

Some of her signature designs — including the Pecorelle [sheep] sofas and armchairs and the Bobo and Boborelax armchairs — were revisited in Loro Piana’s precious fabrics. The Botolo high and low three-legged chairs appeared in the brand’s cashmere and silk Cashfur in a special caramel color in a limited edition of 100 pieces.

This is a three-year project, with the patronage of the Triennale Milano museum, which will stage a retrospective on Cini Boeri in 2026. The Loro Piana Interiors division was launched in 2006, initially only aimed at professionals in the sector but now also open to end consumers. It is also present in the yachting and aviation industries and in the hospitality area.

Last year Loro Piana Interiors introduced a project in a collaboration with Argentinian designer and artist Cristián Mohaded, called “Apacheta,” inspired by the Andean tradition.

A look at the Loro Piana Interiors collection previewing at Salone del Mobile 2024.

A look at the Loro Piana Interiors collection previewing at Salone del Mobile 2024.

Daniele Mango/WWD

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