As Lineapiù Italia approaches its 40th anniversary celebrations to coincide with the July Pitti Filati yarn fair in Florence, it is with a sense of relief — and resolve.
Seven years ago, the forecast was dismal for the premium Italian yarn spinner. In 2008, seeking protection under Italian bankruptcy law, a government-appointed administrator, Giovanni Grazzini, pointed Lineapiù toward remedial austerity measures until 2010, when Alessandro Bastagli took control with a 56 percent stake.
Since then, Bastagli, president and chief executive officer, has invested $18.5 million to $20 million in Lineapiù, and has strengthened infrastructure at its Capalle-based headquarters northwest of Florence by moving one of its yarn-spinning factories that was damaged by fire — twice in one year — and establishing new production and spinning facilities, each about 3,000 square meters, or 32,291 square feet.
He’s also updated its headquarters, bought new machinery, and founded an historic archive in 2012 that showcases legacy highlights such as 38,000 proprietary yarns and knitwear donated by designers including Azzedine Alaïa, Ferragamo and Giorgio Armani.
Regarding infrastructure, he’s implemented an independent buying system, amplified the creative department, fortified yarn engineering and created a third line of hand-knitted yarns called “Knit Art” in 2014 to round out its top-end Lineapiù and Filclass collections.
Since 2013, despite a thorny economic climate, Lineapiù has turned profitable on sales for 2014 of $48 million, with the same figure estimated for 2015.
“We had a very good 2014, which in terms of turnover gave us about a 10 percent increase,” said Bastagli. “To be able to consolidate in 2014 and 2105 is exceptional — it’s a very good goal to achieve.”
In addition to augmenting high-end research, innovation and creativity, Bastagli believes the key to Lineapiù’s recovery has been the abandonment of the low market and the exploitation of top- level supply gaps such as the striation between high-luxury and luxury through cultivated yarns for top-market clients such as Chanel, Christian Dior, Hermès, Chloé, Givenchy, Marni, Max Mara, Valentino, Roberto Cavalli, Ermanno Scervino and Ralph Lauren.
The ready-to-wear ethic runs deep in the fancy yarn maker’s DNA, founded in 1975 by honorary chairman Giuliano Coppini, its former president and one-time majority stakeholder, who went against the grain of his yarn-spinning colleagues who were churning out basic, low-priced yarns.
“Everyone is looking to the high end of the market,” said Bastagli. “If you have a brand that can support the top quality, that’s where you have to be positioned. If you have a clear nexus to your potential client and they know what can be reliably done with your product, you can succeed and survive.”
On July 1, Lineapiù will note its 40th anniversary with a gala dinner in the Salone dei Cinquecento at Florence’s Palazzo Vecchio, where it will launch a 194-page retrospective book, “Yarns, Lineapiù Italia, 40 Years of Emotion.” The gala runs concurrently with the Pitti Filati 77 yarn trade show from July 1 to 3 at the Fortezza da Basso, where Lineapiù will show the fall 2016 collection, in addition to the 40 best yarns from its four-decade history.