Why Loro Piana, the Italian Hyper-Luxury Brand, Has Captured the Moment

Another outfit, a navy overshirt with a pleasantly rounded collar and matching trousers, felt more like off-duty Kendall, complete with cashmere ball cap. These days, enlightened rich guys don’t want to parade around in linen shirts and white jeans like the hapless characters that populate The White Lotus. Instead, they want to sneak through the side entrance in their monochromatic fits, and they want to be unbelievably comfortable while doing so. Which, of course, is where Loro’s expertise comes in. The navy set was made from a type of proprietary Loro Piana merino wool the brand refers to as “The Gift of Kings,” a crease-resistant and breathable fabric sourced from sheep with regal and extraordinarily fine pelts. (The names of these materials alone inspire awe and wonder: The Gift of Kings!) For an outfit that will have an eye-watering price tag, it is highly, almost infuriatingly tasteful, and touching it created a strange sensory dissonance. It looks like a wool shirt jacket, and feels like a baby chinchilla. It is, somehow, waterproof.

The rest of the collection similarly spoke to this strange menswear moment we’re in, where outward flexing is frowned upon but inner pleasure is sacrosanct, where guys buy the things Kendall Roy wears and Lydia Tár represents a north star of poise and taste. (What does it say that our biggest icons of stealth wealth are fictional? Maybe that these clothes are too expensive for real people.) One handsome gray herringbone blazer with a subtle red over stripe was styled with deep blue CashDenim jeans, which are made with a denim-cashmere blend specially developed by Loro Piana in Japan, and which are as comfortable as they sound. A cashmere and wool hand-knit sweater in a milky hue, meanwhile, was a worthy follow-up to a lime green Loro turtleneck that, when worn by Christian Bale in GQ last October, made me question my own sanity. Why was I suddenly doing back-of-the-envelope math on how I could resolve upcoming rent payments with my unseemly desire for a $3,250 sweater?

After decades of preferring to fly under the radar, Loro Piana is starting to embrace being the surprisingly hot brand of the moment. In 2021, the brand collaborated with Japanese streetwear OG Hiroshi Fujiwara of FRGMT on a small capsule collection. And in an ad campaign earlier this month (until relatively recently, Loro Piana didn’t run advertisements or even have a marketing department), Loro Piana declared war on other labels copying the buttery Summer Walks. The slip-ons, once favored exclusively by master-of-the-universe types in Davos and Palm Beach, can now be spotted on guys like Fear Of God designer Jerry Lorenzo, in addition to family office wealth managers. The brash campaign leans all the way into the shoes’ elite associations: “Worn by those who do. Copied by those who don’t.”

It may be more wealth than stealth, but Loro’s new approach seems to be working. In New York during Fashion Week, I saw several people wearing Loro Piana’s $500 ballcaps. Of course, to its most devoted customers, Loro Piana is likely going to remain the ultra-luxe standby it has always been. Earlier this month, at the Gagosian gallery in New York, I spotted two gentlemen swaddled in Loro Piana. Upon closer inspection, it turned out they were gallerist Larry Gagosian and Bernard Arnault, the LVMH majordomo and world’s richest man, who liked wearing Loro Piana sweaters so much he bought 80% of the company in 2013 for $2.6 billion. Succession might be turning up Loro Piana’s cool factor for a new audience, but in real life, there’s a limit to how trendy a brand with such an elevated point of entry can be. And that’s presumably how Loro Piana’s devotees like it.

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