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So Lush

Their collections may not generate fashion hype, but that’s just fine by Loro Piana, Brioni and Agnona. These companies cater to a discriminating customer who values a steady, sophisticated luxe over fickle fashion trends.<br><br>Sergio Loro...

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Their collections may not generate fashion hype, but that’s just fine by Loro Piana, Brioni and Agnona. These companies cater to a discriminating customer who values a steady, sophisticated luxe over fickle fashion trends.

This story first appeared in the October 2, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Sergio Loro Piana need look no farther than to his chic wife, Luisa, for inspiration. She epitomizes the Loro Piana woman, who would rather wrap herself in a two-ply summer cashmere crew than bare all in the micromini numbers that have glossed the runways this week. For spring, the company proves once again why it’s a master of materials: paper-light linen tunics with contrast trim fall gracefully over crisp, cotton pants in cooling blue and lilac stripes. Belted cashmere and silk jackets in a subtle herringbone would work for the polo club or in the city. This season, the company has expanded its accessories collection, and one of the standouts is its Globe Bag — a water-repellent, leather shoulder bag that converts to a tote.

Brioni designer Fabio Piras said he built the spring collection around the idea of “traveling in your head.” Can’t get to the islands for the weekend? No problem: Slip on a belted shantung dress with glass beads done in a floral motif or silk georgette tunics in tropical prints. The Brioni woman can be demure, but when she wants to unleash her inner ceo, she can slip on one of Brioni’s superbly crafted suits — a cropped tailored jacket, for instance, and cuffed, wide-legged trousers.

Ever since Ermenegildo Zegna bought Agnona a few years ago, the mandate has been to expand Agnona’s market presence. But before growing the brand, they tapped Daniela Cattaneo, former editor-in-chief of Spanish Vogue, to streamline and refocus the image of the storied cashmere producer. In her first season as creative director, Cattaneo cleaned house, literally, showing in a stark white showroom dotted only by black-and-white photos of vintage Agnona looks. The pure, refreshing collection, too, was a wash of white and delicate off-whites. Long linen skirts, canvas peacoats and cropped shawl-collar jackets in double cashmere proved that this historic company has a promising future.

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