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Loretta Caponi: Luxury For All
Posted by richard | October 28, 2013
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That headline is probably a bit misleading. Loretta Caponi, the famed Italian maker of tailored lingerie and hand-embroidered linens, isn’t heading downmarket with a diffusion line for Target or some such silliness.

What’s newsworthy, though, is that after resisting the siren song of e-commerce and other modern contrivances for years, the Caponi brand is at last making its heirloom pieces available to anyone with a credit card via a new online boutique.

The move into e-commerce shatters one of the barriers that made it difficult to acquire Caponi‘s precious garments without first taking a trip to the family’s ravishing atelier in Florence (below), which has been drawing royalty and well-heeled tourists for nearly 50 years.

Alas, the other barrier — price — will still dampen the democratization of this most aristocratic of brands.

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The Caponi family actually joined the internet revolution last year (!) with a Facebook page and Instagram account, in a strategic effort to reach out to younger consumers who may not be familiar with its legacy.

“Who could have ever imagined that I would have been able to sell my unique and customized lingerie, as well as my embroidered bedding, online?” Loretta said in what must be the year’s most charming press release.

Umm, well it’s not really that difficult, but the thought of the Caponi clan struggling to adapt to new marketing realities simply underscores the old-world, artisanal sensibility that the brand is renowned for.

Loretta, now in her 80s, began creating hand-embroidered pieces when she was 14 and opened her first shop in 1967. Over the years, the Caponi name became synonymous with its VIP clientele list, which included Kennedys and Rockefellers, Prince Ranier and Princess Diana, and every A-list celebrity with a platinum card.

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Loretta, left, with daughter Lucia in their Florence atelier.

Today, the family is adjusting to new global economic realities, with an established client base among the oil-rich elites of the Middle East, and is expressly hoping its online presence will reach the free-spending nouveau riche of India and Africa.

The Caponi house is perhaps best known for its embroidered bed and table linens, but its lingerie, sleepwear and apparel collections offer the same timeless luxury. Long, flowing robes and artistic negligées with bold graphic designs that still evoke the Italian new wave of the 1950s and 60s are the Caponi trademarks. Their buttery satin PJs are legendary, although if you ask me, it’s their contemporary take on men’s silk nightwear that elevates the Caponi name above all others.

To this day, everything is hand-stitched, which helps account for the prices in Caponi‘s seasonal collections, the most recent of which is shown below.

We haven’t said much about the stratospheric cost of these items, since it feels a bit too common to discuss such vulgar matters when dealing with one of the world’s most artistic and legendary brands.

Suffice it to say that if you’re looking for a $5,000 christening dress so your baby isn’t outdone by Prince George, this is your place to shop. This is bedwear for the 1% — but even they will surely appreciate the offer of free international shipping!

The photo gallery below shows the lingerie and nightwear collections from Loretta Caponi‘s autumn-winter range. Long may she reign!

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