MILAN — During an informal lunch at Cova, this city’s oldest and quaintest cafe, designer Laura Biagiotti presented her latest project, "Dolls," an apparel collection dedicated to little girls, and toasted the 30th anniversary of her...
MILAN — During an informal lunch at Cova, this city’s oldest and quaintest cafe, designer Laura Biagiotti presented her latest project, "Dolls," an apparel collection dedicated to little girls, and toasted the 30th anniversary of her namesake company.
Dolls spotlights cashmere knitwear, hand-stitched embroideries and high tech outerwear for girls between the ages of 2 and 14. The line is produced under a five-year licensing agreement with Mafrat, the Putignano-based children’s wear manufacturer. The line is projected to have sales of $4 million per season in the first year. The first collection will debut for fall-winter 2003.
Based in Southern Italy, Mafrat reported $15 million in sales last year. It employs 150 people and boasts a network of 1,400 points of sale in Italy alone.
At the same time, the Rome-based designer seized the occasion to address her three decades in fashion, saying, "It’s been a profound and exhilarating professional and human experience."
Biagiotti, who has been dubbed the "Queen of Cashmere," started her fashion adventure in 1972. After studying Christian archeology at the Sapienza University in Rome, the 59-year-old designer tried her hand at fashion in her mother’s small atelier.
"I realized that I had a creative message to express that was sort of suffocated by my studies," said Biagiotti, who works and lives in a 15th century castle called Marco Simone on the outskirts of Rome.
Throughout her career, the designer has stuck to three constants: cashmere knitwear, white and softly tailored feminine silhouettes.
"White for me is more than a color, it’s a way of interpreting and living in the contemporary world. It’s also the color of positive energy and of the fairies," said Biagiotti.
As for cashmere, Biagiotti defines it as the fiber closest to the sky. "After all, the goats live on the Tibetan and Mongolian plains that are located at 4,000 meters," she added.
Biagiotti also praises cashmere’s ecological qualities — as spring breezes in, the goats automatically shed their heavy winter fleece by rubbing against bushes. "Like a book or a painting, cashmere is something you cling to because it defies fashion trends," said Biagiotti.In 2001, company sales, including licenses, topped $200 million, including sales at Biagiotti’s four freestanding boutiques in Milan, New York, Rome and Venice.
A forerunner in discovering new markets, Biagiotti flew to Peking, now Beijing, in 1988 before many of her peers. There she staged a fashion show with 30 Chinese models, who sashayed down the runway wearing 125 exquisitely embroidered cashmere and silk looks for day and night.
In 1995 she crossed the border to Russia where she was invited to put up a fashion show-parade, representing Italian style and culture, in Moscow’s Kremlin.
Her husband and business partner, Gianni Cigna, died in 1997. Their daughter, Lavinia, supports her mother on many fronts: at social events, in the public relations area and as a designer for the younger Roma ready-to-wear line, which was launched in 1998.
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye
Did you know: @carlychaikin of "Mr. Robot" has been painting for about a decade? The actress, who plays Darlene on the show, is a self-taught artist who lists Salvador Dalí and Chuck Close as some of her idols. Chaikin told WWD that painting is a form of meditation for her — A much-needed one given the intensity of "Mr. Robot." See a piece Chaikin is working on at WWD.com (📷: @jilliansollazzo) #wwdeye