Loretta Caponi Is the Made-in-Italy Brand Preserving the Art of Embroidery

Loretta Caponi

(Image credit: Loretta Caponi)

Feeling fatigued with fast fashion? Allow me to introduce you to a brand that's the antithesis of all things mass market. Loretta Caponi has been dressing Italy's chicest women since 1967, beginning with nightgowns before expanding into ready-to-wear. The family-run brand is notably a champion of the art of embroidery. "Since the beginning, Loretta Caponi has distinguished itself—first in the panorama of sophisticated Florentine craftsmanship and then worldwide—for the refinement of its embroidery," the brand's chief operating officer, Guido Conti Caponi, told Who What Wear. "But it is not only the high level of workmanship that characterizes the brand but also three peculiarities. First, the chain embroidery technique, going back thousands of years, is made partly by hand and partly by machine and has become a hallmark of Loretta Caponi."

Caponi went on to explain how the chain embroidery technique allows you to create infinite shades of colors and very complex patterns—"even full landscapes or gardens in bloom," he said. The versatility of the technique enhances Loretta Caponi's bespoke options, allowing customers to request nearly any pattern they could dream up. Read on for our full interview with the brand's COO.

loretta caponi

(Image credit: Loretta Caponi)

Can you explain how a Loretta Caponi item is made, from conception to finished product?

Our creations have been, for 60 years, made by Italian artisans with fabrics and materials strictly made in Italy. My mother—Ms. Lucia Caponi, creative director of the brand—as an artisan or a sculptor, always starts from the study and research of materials and prints, drawing on her very extensive archive where thousands of exclusive prints and more than 22,000 embroidery designs have been created and collected over time. Once the materials and the embroideries have been decided, our laboratories print the bases of the fabrics so that we can start creating in our workshop the first prototypes.

Why did the brand decide to expand from nightgowns and lingerie into ready-to-wear? 

This decision was, in a way, suggested by some very cool clients of ours who were wearing our home dresses as outerwear and our precious nightgowns in silk with lace intarsia as evening dresses. When I joined my mother at the helm of the family business, we decided to show our garments not only as we were used to but also in a more contemporary way for outdoor use as well. Thanks to the first garment my grandmother created for her first shop in 1967 (the nightgown with the round smocking stitch on the collar and cuffs that now carries her name), this decision translated into immediate success.

loretta caponi atelier

(Image credit: Loretta Caponi)

Where do you see the brand in 10 years?

We are not going to distort the perception of the brand or to overdistribute it because the beauty of what we do is such when it is "exclusive" and not so easily found. Of course, we want to continue expanding but always in a very sustainable way. At the same time, we want to improve the service to the consumer [and] the shopping experience and, above all, start giving visibility to other product categories that until now have remained a bit muted. For example, available only in our bottega or in our boutique in Forte dei Marmi [are] the men's and children's collections. We are already investing and seeing the first successes in our home line, such as the opening of our exclusive shop-in-shop at Harrods in London.

 Can you describe some attributes of the Loretta Caponi customer?

She is certainly a very chic woman looking for uniqueness [and] elegant diversity with cultural depth and interest in craftsmanship. She's a woman who knows herself well, knows what she wants perfectly and what suits her. Our clientele has always been of all ages. Grandmothers sent us their children and grandchildren, and we often dressed all stages of their lives, from the cradle to marriage and beyond.

Shop Our Favorite Loretta Caponi Pieces

Erin Fitzpatrick
Senior News Editor

Erin got her start as a Who What Wear intern over 12 years ago—back when the site only published a single story per day. (Who What Wear has since increased that number twentyfold.) She graduated magna cum laude from USC, which is how she ended up moving to Los Angeles from her hometown of San Diego. In college, she also interned at Refinery29, where she was promoted to editorial assistant and then assistant editor. After nearly three years at R29, she came back to WWW in 2016, where she currently holds the title of senior news editor (as well as the unofficial title of resident royal expert—in case you haven't noticed her numerous Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton stories). She spends her days trying to incorporate her idols, Anna Wintour and Roger Federer, into as many stories as possible. Outside of work, she loves tennis, classic rock, traveling, and smothering her dog with affection.