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.