MILAN — LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton may have snapped up a majority stake in Loro Piana last year, but it’s business as usual at the Italian firm’s vertically integrated Piedmont manufacturing sites.
Known for its luxurious cashmere, wool and fine textiles — used in both its own line and to supply other high-end manufacturers — Loro Piana dates back six generations and was expanded significantly by current deputy chairman Pier Luigi Loro Piana and his late brother, Sergio.
Since the LVMH acquisition, Loro Piana has seen an uptick in requests to visit its historic factory in Quarona, nestled beneath green slopes by the Sesia River, about 56 miles northeast of Turin. The company also opens the doors of other key sites in its manufacturing chain, including Pettinatura di Verrone and its directly operated plant in Ghemme.
About 68 employees work at Pettinatura di Verrone, which specializes in the washing and treating of ultrafine animal fibers so that they are free of dirt and natural oils. Gruppo Schneider bought the business in 1989, and in 2012, Loro Piana, Marzotto and Ermenegildo Zegna became stakeholders, each with a 15 percent share, in a move to preserve the region’s tradition in woolens. The site is accredited by the International Association of Wool Textile Laboratories.
The Loro Piana operation in Ghemme employs a few dozen workers, focused on combing washed, sometimes already dyed, fibers so they run in a uniform direction and can be made into yarn. The team also then tests the resistance and quality of individual yarns.
By the time it reaches Quarona, the yarn is ready to be transformed into fabric — and to undergo a merciless quality-control process, with each yard of cloth inspected for rogue threads or stubborn balls of fiber. While Loro Piana continues to invest in up-to-date machinery, 54 sharp-eyed seamstresses on the site are split between two eight-hour shifts, focused exclusively on mending and perfecting cloth before it is sent onward to be finished.
As the raw materials move down the production line, Loro Piana tracks every transformation, and can work backward to identify any problems at the source.
At the Milano Unica trade fair in September, Pier Luigi Loro Piana told WWD that while he could not disclose financial figures due to LVMH policy, he was “satisfied” with his company’s growth and did not foresee changes in strategy. “The path is not to change paths,” he noted.