Loretta Caponi specializes in ultra-stylish bespoke and ready-to-wear night dresses, gowns and pyjamas for an elite clientele
Many of Loretta Caponi’s clients have been loyal to the brand for generations, but customers also come in off the street to the company’s bottega (or atelier) in Florence, drawn by the elegant window displays. There they enter a world that harks back to an earlier era of retail, where clothes were made to measure and clients ordered entire wardrobes from their favourite atelier.
“It’s a timeless place with antique furniture arranged around a generous space, all decorated with frescoes,” says Guido Conti Caponi, Chief Operating Officer at Loretta Caponi. The design is inspired by the brand’s earliest days, when his grandmother opened the first bottega in the late 1960s. She was a seamstress who started at the age of nine and worked her way up, making bespoke pieces for the wives of artists and poets, who she met through her painter husband.
She was soon making night dresses and home wear for Italy’s jet set, designing one-off pieces for the likes of Jane Fonda and Queen Paola of Belgium. “We are serving the third generation of the same families that my grandmother made clothes for,” says Guido. “It’s not just a relationship of selling and buying, it’s much more than that.”
The brand creates bespoke homewear for many of the world’s royal and aristocratic families, designing embroidered tablecloths, cushion covers and bedding for their mansions, palaces and yachts. Orders often come in for special occasions, such as a Wimbledon-themed tablecloth for a 24-guest dinner, complete with embroidered tennis balls and rackets.
On one side of the salon, past a small courtyard that resembles a winter garden and a living room featuring a fireplace, is the workshop, where clients can watch their pieces come together in the hands of skilled seamstresses. Another floor down is the archive which houses more than 20,000 designs.
Loretta Caponi has drawn on its heritage to create a ready-to-wear collection, which launched in 2017 to celebrate its 50th anniversary, with Loretta’s daughter Lucia leading the creative direction. The exclusive brand is more accessible to everyday shoppers, but the personalized quality of its bespoke designs survives. Loretta Caponi has created unique pieces across the decades and continues to grace many of the world’s most elite households.