“Being a fashion designer is like taking vows,” Laura Biagiotti told The Associated Press in 1987. “It becomes your religion for life.”
That’s exactly the way Laura Biagiotti had envisioned and lived her whole life since the very beginning of her long career in the fashion system.
Right after joining her parents’ dressmaking studio, where her mother, Delia Biagiotti, designed the uniforms for Alitalia employees, she started her eponymous fashion house, presenting her very first collection in 1972 featuring what back then was still an uncommon material: cashmere. Those precious and fine wool fibers would later on become her trademark and the reason why she earned the nickname “the queen of cashmere.”
She was a well educated and determined woman who worked very hard and succesfully faced the many hidden challenges of the fashion industry. She told an interviewer in 1981 that “a woman designer faces the same odds as a woman trying to get a job as a 747 pilot.”
Often she used to recall how small was her first collection which showcased models wearing the same white jacket three times, with two skirts and a dress because she had not made enough pieces. This obliged choice inadvertently suggested the concept of an interchangeble wardrobe approach suitable for a modern working woman who needed new pieces of attire that could transition from day to evening. That was indeed a big invention step in her brand design which started to be conceived as seasonless, practical and comfortable, addressable to different sizes at once. These values were epitomized by the iconic “Bambola” dress, a tent or baby-doll shape model, which season after season since 1974 was reinterpreted as a Laura Biagiotti femininity’s vision staple.
Along with the luxurious knits, she developed a passion for other quality textiles like linen in white color, which simbolically many mourners wore also to her funeral. “It was the famous journalist Diana Vreeland, a true fashion guru, to tell her one day: why don’t you always wear white?” That’s how she made it her signature tone and brought her understated yet elegant fashions on the global runways.
She was deeply proud of her national heritage and declared “I’m convinced that the true gold mine in our country is the ‘Made in Italy’ label”. That’s how in 1988, Laura Biagiotti became the first Italian designer to present a fashion show in China and in the same spirit, in 1995, she championed the Made-in-Italy logo even at the Kremlin.
As a woman in a profession dominated by men, she was a true pioneering entrepreneur and a clever designer who constantly understood the everchanging needs of the real women and managed to bring her clothes to enter any international market. Although she was highly creative, she was often very modest, defining her creations as simply dresses “for when you want to be yourself”.
Her collections were exactly this and even more. That’s why her forgiving and delicate style will be greatly missed. Thank you Laura.