Straight from helming the Grande Orazio on opening day of last year’s Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvous, Pier Luigi Loro Piana breezed into a Virgin Gorda yacht club looking elegant and unruffled. No surprise. The then 64-year-old deputy chairman of the Italian luxury-goods house Loro Piana was wearing his brand’s signature polo shirt, Bermuda shorts, and red Storm System jacket, which had been tested by his sailing team to ensure it would stay wrinkle free in wind and water.
For over 20 years, the company has been a pioneer in the development of high-performance textiles, including a new fabric called the Race: Super 130 Tasmanian merino wool twisted with a fine silk filament. It yields a lightweight material that is resilient and wrinkle resistant. “The latest fabrics are designed to have no memory,” says Loro Piana, “which makes them wrinkle free after a day on the high seas.”
He recently developed a series of fabrics ideally suited to boat interiors, which entailed his trying out a new lotus-flower-fiber fabric on his sailing yacht My Song. “My boat is my laboratory,” he says. If successful, the fabric—which is softer than linen but resembles raw silk—will become part of the company’s growing home division, and a permanent fixture on the deputy chairman’s boats.