Called Sesia, the bag is named after the valley that houses Loro Piana’s headquarters and the river that crosses through it. The river’s sinuous bends and its organic forms of modernist Italian design inspired the curved shapes of the bag, explained Fabio d’Angelantonio, chief executive officer of the company.
“It is very important to enter the handbag category with a design that is in sync with the brand’s aesthetic vocabulary,” said d’Angelantonio in an exclusive interview. The goal, he said, “was to translate the characteristics of the label and its timeless elegance” into a bag that is characterized by “a softness of shapes and grace of design.” He expressed his pride in the end result of the Sesia, which he believes stands out compared with previous Loro Piana bags that were merely “complementary items.”
The Sesia is conceived to telegraph “timeless elegance, Italian design and lifestyle, which have always been part of the Loro Piana tradition. We like to think that the shape will be immediately recognizable. There is harmony and effortless elegance in sync with the brand. Beauty is in the simplicity,” said d’Angelantonio.
Loro Piana has for years taken an understated approach to its ad campaigns and communication, but to launch the Sesia for spring 2021, it is conveying a strong message with the help of photographer David Sims and three women with eclectic personalities: Natalia Vodianova, also known for her philanthropic initiatives; French Djibouti engineer and model Malika Louback, and Chinese actress Tong Liya. “They are international, passionate and committed women and each of them interprets the spirit of Sesia in her own way,” observed d’Angelantonio, noting that all wear the brand’s famed soft knits to further convey the message of touch. They embody the Loro Piana customers, their diversified demographics, who “share a desire for quality.”
Developed over the past two years, a Sesia bag requires 12 days of work, with 11 of those devoted to the selection and processing of the leather, and involves up to 20 craftsmen and technicians. It is designed and produced in-house, the executive remarked.
D’Angelantonio proudly said that materials are “rigorously selected” and include a smooth calfskin fully certified to the highest environmental standards and a grain matte leather, which has a special texture obtained through the combined action of heat and steam, which also acts on the colors, creating a delicate and distinctive effect, as if “evaporated,” said the CEO.
Precious hides such as alligator are also available and d’Angelantonio noted that a made-to-order service is available for personal customization.
All of the lambskin and calfskin used in the Sesia bag is certified according to the standards drawn up by the Leather Working Group, an international nonprofit organization that aims to reduce the environmental impact of the leather industry through the evaluation of aspects of the management of tanneries, such as the traceability of raw materials and the use of chemicals. Seeking quality hides is in line with Loro Piana’s constant research for the best materials, from baby cashmere to the Gift of Kings, which is an exclusive wool with a diameter of just 12 microns.
In addition, the glues used to compose Sesia are water-based and do not contain solvents. D’Angelantonio said producing the Sesia required “stepping up our organization, bringing in new management and skills in-house.”
D’Angelantonio underscored that equal attention was paid to the interior of the bag, with a lining made of a very soft and smooth suede. “Our customers know how important touch is when they appreciate our fabrics and we want this sense to be equally important when they enjoy the bag,” he offered. D’Angelantonio has long believed that touch is the most important sense to fully appreciate the brand.
The Loro Piana crest appears on the bottom right angle in the form of an enamel button in the same shade as the leather. Padlocks and straps, either in matching leather or Suitcase Stripe fabric, allow for additional interpretations.
The color palette is delicate, inspired by the nature found in the Sesia valley, ranging from rose or white, to buttercup yellow — a typical flower of the area — eucalyptus and forest green, burnt orange and navy blue.
The bag will be rolled out with dedicated windows starting this weekend in flagships in cities including Beijing; Shanghai; Dubai; London; Paris; Milan; Geneva; Seoul; New York; Los Angeles, and Hong Kong but will be available globally in Loro Piana stores, which total 182, and on Net-a-porter.
Sesia retails at between 2,500 euros and 4,500 euros, with an average price between 3,000 euros and 3,500 euros. Prices spike up to 25,000 euros or 30,000 euros when alligator and other precious hides are employed.
D’Angelantonio said Loro Piana leverages “a very loyal customer base, who understands the importance of quality,” and that local spending helped throughout the lockdowns as tourist flows ebbed, especially in Europe and the U.S. “We have activated more clienteling, accelerated our digital expansion, presented our products to customers easily cozying up at home,” he said. “We learned a lot over the past year, intensified our launches to satisfy desires of the moment and focused on our storytelling with the goal of gratifying our customers.”
Loro Piana also benefited from “a strong desire to cocoon” at home, seeing “an explosion of interest” in home fabrics and loungewear.
Loro Piana is controlled by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.