Three days ago Mrs. Laura Biagiotti left us all. Another glamorous fashion designer reaching Mr. Versace in clothing angels. I’m Italian, this post is more than deserved.
She was one of the modern Italian fashion artists (the so-called “Cashmere Queen”/ “White Lady”) who contributed to the huge success of the “made-in-Italy” in the last 50 years. Her work in the fashion industry started when she was young at her mother’s atelier in Rome. She was a daughter of art according to her mother who designed the Alitalia uniforms in 1964.
It’s just in 1972 when Laura acquired MacPershon factory in Pisa that she really brought herself on the international fashion “balcony”. She showed her interest in white, semplicity and innovative shapes of cashmere by putting in place runways in China (the first Italian fashion designer doing so) (1988), Russia (1995) and Egypt (1998).
Today her maison, called “The House of Biagiotti” in Rome, is one of the largest fashion houses in Italy. In 2015 the brand celebrated its 50 birthday setting a new partnership with Angelini (production and distribution), which followed the previous one as with Protecter and Gamble. At the end of that year these were the data available on the brand: 16 licenses, 37 male and female collections and 21 workers.
Laura Biagiotti was able to build in parallel two “empires”: one in fashion, as worldwide known, and the other one about real estate businesses, particularly castles (e.g. Castello Marco di Simone di Guidonia, Rome).
At the finance perspective, few data are available: in 2015 Biagiotti Group’s turnover was 4,9 billion euros for a whole turnover about 90 billion ones per year.
The White Lady joined actively the fashion industry revolution in ’80s and ’90s providing the deserved rank to the made in Italy as closed to the main French maisons. Many Italian celebrities (e.g. Nancy Brilli, Carla Fracci and Natasha Stefanenko) weared her masterpieces, on red carpets as well as on films. She got many awards, such as:
- 1992, Woman of the Year, NYC (US);
- 1995, Kinght of Labour by Italian President O.L.Scalfaro;
- 2001, Prix Femmes d’ Europe;
- 2002, Marisia Bellisario Awards and Lifetime Achievement Award, National Council of Italian Fashion. Meanwhile, the Italian post office issued a 41 EUR cent stamp with her name;
- 2004, Laura Biagiotti wrote the chapter about Fashion in the Treccani Encyclopedia. Meanwhile, she got the Lupa Capitolina award by the Rome Mayor, V. Veltroni;
- 2007, Crystal Lion Lifetime Achievemnet – Venice Casino Award
- 2008, Leonardo Award by the Italian President G. Napolitano.
- 2011, the Marco Polo award by Chinese government and the America Award of the ITA-USA Foundation.
Recently it seems her brand was slowly hiddening on the international arena, compared with its huge success during few decades before. Her collections in net-a-porter became accessible to mass, meaning: cheaper, increased sales and sometimes lower quality than during ’80s. My opinion is that the brand was then suffering the strong Chinese competition (even in Tuscany where the italian – Chinese textile district is).
Today her daughter, Lavinia Biagiotti Cigna, already side by side with her mother during the last runways and sitting in the National Council of Italian Fashion, will lead the brand to the future.
I hope the new generation will give LB brand back the old fame re-investing in quality and innovation (as the Cashmire Queen did during her whole life).