Laura (1943). A designer and entrepreneur, she has brought a romantic and feminine element into Italian fashion, expressed through the most refined materials like cashmere, linen and taffeta. Laura has followed in the footsteps of her mother Delia, the owner of a famous atelier in Rome in the 1960s. From her she inherited good taste and a knowledge of the world of fashion and French haute couture which at the time were the point of reference of every elegant woman. After her studies in archaeology, which fed her other great passion, and a period of working with Schuberth, Barocco, Litrico and others, she joined her mother in the running of the atelier. Understanding the potential of the emerging luxury prêt-à-porter, in 1965, together with Gianni Cigna, she founded Biagiotti Export, a company which manufactured and exported the high-fashion creations of Rome. In 1972 she entered the knitwear sector directly, acquiring MacPherson of Pisa, a prestigious company specialized in the production of cashmere items. The possibilities offered by cashmere, until then used only for very classic pieces in the English tradition, fascinated young Laura and prompted her to use it as one of the principal materials on which to base the research for her future Collections. The début of her first Collection occurred that same year: a few pieces which revolved around a white jacket that could be transformed by accessories and worn from morning to evening. It was the beginning of a deep love for white, the color which became at that time another distinctive feature of her work. The designer creates for women like herself rather than for the abstract creatures of the runway. She believes in fashion that is easy-to-wear, in clothes for those who want to keep being themselves. During the 1980s her style became more refined and settled. Her cashmere pieces were innovative and sophisticated, and experimented with solutions never tried before, so much so that the New York Times gave her the title “Queen of Cashmere.” Her doll’s dresses, trapezoidal in shape, cut in linen or taffeta, repeat their success season after season. The white linens, embroidered like grandmother’s linen, became very new and elegant solutions for modern life. In 1980 she acquired and restored to its old splendor Marco Simone’s castle in Guidonia, in the countryside near Rome, where she established her home and her business. The relaxing atmosphere of the castle, its peace, the serene family life with her daughter Lavinia and her husband Gianni Cigna (who died prematurely in 1996), blended together in an incessant activity that allowed the designer to attain important goals. She has several records: she was the first Italian designer invited to present a Collection in China, in 1988; the first invited to the Kremlin, in 1995; and the first to Cairo, in 1998. She has received many awards: Cavaliere del Lavoro in 1995; Woman of the Year in New York in 1992; and the Marco Polo award in 1993. Her love for art, for culture, and for her hometown have made Laura Biagiotti a sophisticated patron of the arts. Through the Foundation Biagiotti Cigna, established in memory of her husband, she gave 170 paintings by the Futurist artist Giacomo Balla to the city of Rome, sponsored the reconstruction of the curtain of the opera house La Fenice in Venice, and did the same for the restoration of Michelangelo’s staircase on the Campidoglio in Rome on the occasion of the Jubilee for the year 2000.
Everything proceeds according to tradition: her beloved cashmere, the adored color white, the experimentation with materials, and the cultivated quotations; these are the main elements in every Collection of this lady who, in 2002, celebrated 20 years of militancy in fashion. At a presentation on her birthday, she showed cashmere washed at a temperature of 100úC and felted to the point of looking like a luxury plush sweatshirt. Laura-land, in other words, the world of Laura Biagiotti: small great inventions, like the souvenir print of Summer 2003 with lace-trimmed inlays of old postcards. This was not by chance, because the Italian Postal Service issued more than two million stamps with the names and styles of various Italian designers, including hers. Standing at her side was her daughter Lavinia, her valuable collaborator and the one responsible for the Laura Biagiotti Roma line, as well as for the Winter 2003-2004 presentation, which was inspired by the Russian theater. Suggestions presented also in a masculine way, a vagabond man with emptiness in his heart.
The designer resigns her position as vice president of the Chamber of Fashion. The board of directors rejects her resignation because of “the importance and high quality of her contribution to the association.”
Twelve years after the début of Roma comes the launch of Emotion, a new fragrance created by Biagiotti and her daughter, Lavinia Cigna.
Biagiotti, by now a regular on the Chinese runways, presents her styles along with various Italian, French, Dutch and Chinese designers on Tienanmen Square in Beijing, for the first time after the tragic events of 1989. An agreement is reached with the Mafrat Group for the production and marketing of accessories and eye glasses, as well as girl’s shoes under the Dolls brand.
On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of its founding, Laura Biagiotti maintains her post as president of the Comitato Leonardo, an association concerned with safeguarding and promoting Italian style throughout the world.
Zarin and Matrioska bags are Biagiotti’s new accessories for the Autumn-Winter season, inspired by the Russia of the Czars, modular and studded with semi-precious stones, in suede, soft leather, antique leather, and with fur trim.