Recent acquisitions at Loro Piana have led me into a deeper investigation of the brand. Expect a full-length piece on its history, production and craft sometime next year.

In the meantime, the good people at LP sent me over the look book of images for Spring/Summer 2010. I’ve often picked this up in the store in previous seasons, as they have a good eye for colour combinations and layering. It is a little, professional glimpse into the ‘How Italians Dress at the Weekend’ aesthetic that so much of the Anglo-Saxon world aspires to.

(Indeed, one of my favourite-ever fashion shoots was one with just that title in the Spring/Summer 2009 edition of US Esquire’s Big Black Book – those that got the issue, you know what I mean.)

The first picture I have highlighted here is very simple. Pale grey/green, unlined linen/cashmere jacket, grey silk/cashmere cardigan with hounds-tooth detail, cream silk shirt and white cotton trousers. Plus brown suede belt and shoes, and white linen handkerchief. Very light and summery, only to be worn on a bright day.

But I love the use of different greys – particularly the touch of green in the jacket – and the way the simplicity of tone makes the whole outfit crisp. The cardigan suggests a waistcoat (and as such looks far better with the jacket than without) and the brown suede provides perfectly neutral shadow, sucking light in.

Wearing both white shirt and trousers is dangerous – if worn on their own they can wash you out or make you look like a hospital orderly. Here the cardigan, belt and jacket break them up enough.

The second image I have chosen succeeds in the same way. The peach of the jacket, cream of the cardigan and khaki of the trousers are all from the same colour wheel – each with more or less saturation, more or less brightness. So the simple, summery shades work together well. And as before the shirt and handkerchief are bright accents, while the belt and shoes are deep shadow.

There is little difference in the materials, save that the jacket is linen and silk, and the shirt is now linen.

My final choice demonstrates the power of adding one bright tone to the outfit. The burnt orange cardigan is connected to the creams that surround it, while being far brighter and stronger. Take away the cardigan in your mind’s eye and the outfit is bleached and lifeless. It needs that colour to bring it to life (as well as to separate the shirt and trousers, as before).

The tricky thing about wearing bright colours like this, of course, is that if you are ever too hot to wear the jacket the orange is too strong on its own, cheap even. So when layering, make sure the layers are thin.

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matt

More, please.

Arctic Penguin

I agree with Matt – where can we see more of these photos? Will it require subscribing ourselves to their printed magazine? In my area it’s difficult to get publishers to ship internationally, even for paid subscriptions… (S. Korea, where a copy of the NY Times will run you 12USD)

Schizo0223

Hi!
I’ve been reading your blog for awhile…since I read your writing for “The Rake.”

I’m glad you’re high-lighting one of my favorite casual wear brands.

They are excellent for traveling and for business trips as they can do double duty on extended trips as casual and semi-formal business situations.
The designs are not too trendy and the quality is very good so it is an excellent investment…and in my opinion quite a bargain in the long-run.

I’ve been wearing my Horsey jacket (just like the one you bought) since I was in college and I still wear it out on weekends.
Infact, my whole family has bought one ever since!

John Rowbie

Hi Simon,

Excellent Blog.

My experience with LP has been a bit mixed. I think their trousers are great however, their jackets, in my opinion, are not well tailored and lack shape. I find this incredibly disappointing as they have some very beautiful and interesting cloths. I recently purchased a beautiful LP cloth from the Bond St store which I gave to my own tailor who made me a wonderful jacket for not much more than the rack price.

However, I will admit to buying a green/grey overcoat at Biscester Villiage in November following your article, reduced from £1800 to £880 and it was perfectly cut, with a well defined nip in the waist.

initials CG

Simon,

this is a great post. I never could figure the brit obsession with Italian dressing when it has always been the Italians obsessed with british dressing.

Let’s forget fashion for a moment, the first picture you show is wonderful but you should point out one serious detail: those buttons on the sweatervest make or break the look. Change those buttons to a midgrey and the whole look crashes. His dark hair and complexion require an echo in what he wears…the black belt showing through and the buttons make it work.

Loro Piana, like many other in Italy can market anything. They’ve had Leonardo as interior decorators! Most old timers tell me their inspiration was the British weekend look!