Loretta Caponi hones in on US market with Nordstrom, plans Harrod's shop-in-shop
As the modern world becomes more digital, there is a comfort in goods made with the tradition of artisanal skills and savoir-faire of bygone eras.
Enter Loretta Caponi, the Florence-based business known for its exquisite, handcrafted sleepwear and linens. Now today, seven years since its founder passed away, her daughter Lucia and grandson Guido are taking the brand into the future while retaining its sartorial roots. FashionNetwork.com spoke to Guido Caponi, COO, as the family-run company pushes further into the American market, highlighted by a collection with a major retailer.
Launching later this month at Nordstrom is a nine-piece collection consisting of styles from sleepwear, daywear, and bridal options; the latter often means more casual styles for post-wedding dancing or a beach wedding, for instance. Loretta Caponi draws upon its 20,000-plus-strong embroidery design archives to reimagine classic stitching techniques such as the catenella stitch—"little chain" in Italian— that dates to the 80s, marking the handcrafted collection. The Seattle-based retailer will carry the collection in six of its store locations, which was discovered by fashion director Rickie de Sole, who, according to Caponi, was watching the collection for several seasons.
The retailer is also pleased to have scored the unique partnership.
"We are thrilled to have Loretta Caponi launching at Nordstrom just in time for summer. The Florentine luxury label brings an air of romanticism that elevates a summer wardrobe with beautiful, handcrafted embroidery and breezy noble textiles. I can't wait for our customers to get their hands on such a special collection," de Sole told FashionNetwork.com via email.
The brand is also working on a special shop-in-shop with Harrod's that should bow in June.
"When I came on board in 2015 after my grandmother died, I had two goals. The first was a shop-in-shop in at Harrod's, which is on the way; this partnership focuses on home and bed linens. Another one is a freestanding store in New York, but first, we are focusing on wholesale. The Americans appreciate European craftsmanship; they are fascinated by the history and heritage of it as you don't have the same here," said Caponi in an interview in New York, where the COO was in town in April to further promote the brand.
"The dream to open a store in New York is perhaps to do with a partner, someone we can trust with our brand who knows the market here," he added.
Since coming on board after a career with Ermanno Scervino, the younger Caponi has increased the production from about 300 pieces per collection drop sold exclusively through private orders to about 5000-6000 pieces currently sold privately through the brand's Florence atelier-slash-retail space and wholesale clients. With nearly 70 accounts globally, 20 are in the United States. Other stores include Capital in Charlotte, North Carolina; several Aerin stores; Canary in Dallas; Flora and Henri in Seattle; French + Italian, Boston; La Garconne in New York; Over the Moon in Charleston; The Avenue in Houston.
Considering the handmade nature of this product, it's no easy feat.
"Preserving craft is easier said than done and needs to be introduced early to promote these artisan crafts. Each year we train at least one young person in the embroidery technique to help keep the craft alive," he explained. His first three years on the job were spent cultivating relationships with craftspeople to increase production for a wholesale business. The brand is "100 percent 'Made in Italy, primarily Tuscany," according to the COO.
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