Can you imagine a university literature student becoming one of the most famous Italian fashion designers in the world? This is the story of Laura Biagiotti, the “Queen of Cashmere”.
Laura Biagiotti was studying at the university of Rome, dreaming of eventually working in archeology, when she started helping out her mother in her dressmaking business. The company produced high- fashion clothes for such designers as Barocco, Schuberth, Capucci, Heinz Riva and Litrico. But Laura Biagiotti wanted to create a collection with her own name on it, so in 1965 she made a deal with an experienced designer, Angelo Tarlazzi, to produce ready-to-wear clothes for women.
The first line, shown in 1972, was very successful. She used a very special yarn to create her revolutionary new garments - cashmere. She was generous in its use, and the warm, enveloping dresses, sweaters, and cardigans were welcomed by women, especially those living in colder climates. Biagiotti was soon dubbed "Queen of Cashmere" by The New York Times. It's true to say that cashmere, along with her devotion to elegant simplicity, was the key to her success.
Taking the meaning of “ready-to-wear” literally, Laura Biagiotti was determined to produce flattering, comfortable clothes for women. She soon gained legions of devoted followers thanks to her soft tailoring and loose-fitting dresses distinguished by their tiny pleats, top-stitching, and ajoureè work. Every Biagiotti collection includes a series of comfortable "baby doll" dresses, and pants often have elasticated waists.
Biagiotti is known for trying on designs herself, and insisting that her collaborators also try them on, standing, sitting, and walking, until she is sure that each and every model is practical and comfortable. These principles apply to every collection she creates.
Her men's range, Laura Biagiotti Uomo, was launched in 1987 and famous Italian actor Gabriel Garko became its ambassador. For children she launched Laura Biagiotti Junior (now Laura Biagiotti Dolls, in collaboration with Trudi): and it's clear that her philosophy is to get as close to kids as possible, creating a child- friendly world. And Biagotti also catered for larger ladies, creating her Laura- Più line.
it was a natural progression for Biagiotti to turn her attention to accessories and now there are Laura Biagiotti sunglasses, whose distinctive shapes have graced the faces of many famous women including Italian actress Sabrina Ferilli, as well as bags, shoes, underwear, home accessories and perfumes, Roma being the most well-known.
Laura Biagiotti's career has been marked with a huge number of awards and prizes, given to her not only by fashion organizations and representatives, but also by government authorities. In 1995 she was honored by the Italian ex President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro with the Knights of Labour award, for her contribution in helping make Italian fashion famous worldwide.
She had already received the Woman of the Year award in New York in 1992, and the Marco Polo Award in Beijing in 1993, for being the first Italian designer to present a collection in China, thus bringing the Italian fashion industry to the other side of the world. In February, 1995, at the invitation of the Russian government, she staged a fashion show, the first ever, in the hallowed halls of the Kremlin. Thirty-eight Russian models alongside some of the world's top models paraded down the runway to a rapturous reception. This brought her another prize presented by Ksenia Gorbaciova, the granddaughter of President Mikhail Gorbaciov. And last January, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano bestowed on her the Leonardo Award, the first time in history it had been given to a woman.
For over 30 years the Laura Biagiotti brand has been in expansion, with an estimated corporation stock of about three million Euros for the whole group. Now the empire is in the hands of Lavinia Biagiotti Cigna, Biagiotti's daughter, who was made vice- president of the Biagiotti Group in 2005. She had joined the family company back in the Nineties, bringing a breath of fresh air to the fashion house.
The group entered into the arena of world sports in 2000 and swimmers, F1 champions and golf players are just some of the sport celebrities wearing Biagiotti.
Laura Biagiotti has undoubtedly had a huge influence on the history of the Italian fashion design and industry, but she's not just a businesswoman. Devoted to her family, Biagiotti has managed to combine work and home life by basing her headquarters in the 15th-century Castello Marco Simone, a former medieval fortress located 17 kilometers from Rome. Its four towers form the famous Biagiotti logo. Concerned with environmental issues as well as social and political matters, she has always been involved in charity events and donations. This former archaeology student turned fashion designer is a glowing example to all of us, showing that anything in life is possible with enough passion, courage and determination.