When a brand is as renowned for its richly sumptuous cashmere as Loro Piana is—the company has worked with Inner Mongolian goat herders to perfect the fiber for nearly a quarter century—there’s always the risk of being pigeonholed as for winter wardrobes only. So what better way for an over 200-year-old house to flex a new summer collection than by doing something else decidedly new?
Such thinking led the company to invite a select number of guests out to the newly revitalized Caribbean island of St. Barth’s for a weekend to experience la bella stagione the Loro Piana way—and what better reason than to watch Pier Luigi Loro Piana, and the Loro Piana-clad crew of his linen-lined 40 meter boat, the My Song, compete in the annual Bucket Regatta, the 30-year-old invitation-only superyacht race beloved for its camaraderie and non-commercial spirit? (The prize: “Undisputed superyacht sailing bragging rights,” say the organizers, though boat owners’ entry fees also go towards the Help St. Barth Initiative, which aids the island’s continuing recovery in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, and Coral Restoration St. Barth, the association engaged in the restoration and repopulation of the marine reef.)
Loro Piana first started producing clothes to “offer friends and clients the perfect attire to accompany their everyday lives—ordinary and extraordinary,” the company explained in a press release, and “whilst the brand enjoys a reputation for superlative winter fibres and products it has always prided itself on its summer collection,” which one might consider something of an open secret compared to its wintry wares, at least until now. But for the LVMH-owned house—and for their very comfortable customer—summer is really a state of mind. “For today’s international adventurers, there is always summer— with its colors and joyfulness— somewhere,” Loro Piana CEO Fabio d’Angelantonio said. “Loro Piana Summer is an appeal to emotions, combining an Italian notion of effortless elegance with an active move towards light and lightness; from protecting oneself from the elements to welcoming them.”
And in St. Barth’s, at the Loro Piana planned beach parties and boat trips and languid open-air dinners at local favorite restaurants, nature really was all around. “The sea is my element,” Luisa Loro Piana said aboard the Far Niente, a megayacht enlisted to follow her brother in law’s vessel during the regatta, and the company’s latest collection comes replete with an entire linen series made for wearing on deck and off: tunics, caftans, wide-legged drawstring trousers, trapeze-cut tops and espadrilles, all in creamy shades of white. There was slim, striped knitwear, some cable-knit and boxy and trimmed in nautical hues; leather-trimmed separates in shades of khaki and burnt orange; trim suiting; striped sheaths, and pleated skirts; and more city-ready stuff, like a navy tea-length skirt or sleeveless vest dress. A white and pistachio striped knit ensemble, consisting of crop top, ankle-length tube skirt and cardigan was ready for a few varieties of island adventures, as were flowing white silk dresses in traditional silhouettes with stripes in warm peach or russet. Even what may have felt like departures from form were rooted in the house’s ample history: a host of warm weather-ready accessories—an extra-large canvas and leather tote bag and a silk sarong featuring a brown stripe motif—were inspired by the original canvas suitcase the brand’s fabric salesmen once used to transport their wares.
And it wasn’t all just a great excuse for some R&R (or for those East Coast dwellers in attendance to get a tan)—the company’s creation of Storm System, a proprietary treatment that makes cashmere both waterproof and wind resistant, purportedly came from Pier Luigi’s preoccupation with maritime adventures: he calls his boat a “research lab”, and the crew of the My Song wears the company’s linen to compete. “Even in sportswear sometimes you cannot perform as well in man-made fibres,” he told a reporter in 2018. “It’s true that astronauts got to the moon in Kevlar and carbon fibre, and my boat is made in carbon fibre. But I believe you should use man-made fibres when you cannot use other materials. Not because they cost less. It looks cheaper now, but tomorrow to get rid of this fibre it will be very expensive.” This philosophy, the brand explains, is a way of doing things, but it’s also a way of using things—and it’s just the kind of thinking that’s continued to keep Loro Piana leagues ahead of the game, no matter what the temperature outside.