Not being very au fait with haute couture, I have to confess the first time I heard of the Italian top end brand Luisa Spagnoli was when I was invited to attend the official opening of their first UK store in London’s fashionable Piccadilly, yards from Fortnum and Mason and the Ritz. I could have named Versace, Gucci, even Fendi (because a cousin of mine is obsessed with the brand and has paid an eye-watering sum for one of their handbags!) but I found myself learning something new.
Luisa Spagnoli founded the company in 1928 in the beautiful Italian town of Perrugia and her great niece is still currently very involved with it. Until recently stores were only located in Italy, but now they’re branching out, having opened in Palo Alto on the west coast of the States and now in Central London.
So lured by the prospect of champagne (which turned out to be Prosecco, of course) and canapés, and a beautiful gift, I mingled with aficionados of fashion and fashion bloggers and gazed with some envy on the merchandise. Everything on display really was rather lovely and beautifully arranged, colour-wise rather than by garment type, and many items were simple and ‘ordinary’ enough to be classed as ‘everyday’ wear. The quality was superb and the designs simple but imaginative enough to be just that little bit different. With the exception of shoes, Luisa Spagnoli offers clothes, bags, (I’ll have to tell my cousin!) and jewellery for a chic coordinated look with considerable flair. I asked myself which market it was aiming at, and wondered whether it might attract more the visitor to London than the resident.
Prices certainly were high (certainly higher than anything I would contemplate spending) but not beyond the limits of well-remunerated younger professionals. Despite gloomy economic forecasts both here and around much of the world, there s
till seems a market for high-end fashion, and as such, Luisa Spagnoli certainly deserves to do well in their new location.
And the beautiful gift I was promised? It turned out to be a lovely silk scarf, rather old-school but feeling very luxurious. I’ve worn it a couple of times already – it does add a ‘je ne sais quoi’ to jeans!
Jeannette Nelson, our versatile critic, willing to attend all kinds of events to provide varied interesting features for In Balance Magazine