Fabric of life: Loretta Caponi’s lasting legacy

Rocco Forte Hotels

From precocious child to household name, Italian designer and embroidery legend Loretta Caponi’s story is truly remarkable. Guido Conti Caponi, Chief Operating Officer at her eponymous fashion house, is devoted to continuing his grandmother’s legacy.

‘It was Loretta’s dream to celebrate the art of embroidery and needlework’. The warm admiration with which Guido speaks of his grandmother is just as you’d expect from the heir of a family-run business. ‘My mother Lucia is her legacy,’ he continues, ‘Her elegance, her forward-thinking, her style is the natural evolution of my grandmother’s. Their works were - and still are - always grounded in our DNA, but I am excited to try new ideas.’

Loretta and Lucia always aimed for the best quality of fabrics, embroideries, laces and the execution of each garment. Guido intends to drive the company sustainably into the future without compromising its founding principles: ‘We work hard to improve the execution of our creations, respecting and elevating our values, and to keep up with the time we live in. Our family’s goal is to keep expanding the business, to make it a little more international, totally in respect of the quality and exclusivity of our products, which is everything to us’.

This fine balance between revering tradition and blazing a trail makes Loretta Caponi the ideal partner for Rocco Forte Hotels’ Creative Director of Food, Fulvio Pierangelini, whose philosophy centres on cooking authentic local produce to perfection. The Florentine brand’s table linens, hand-embroidered using the centuries-old ‘spolvero’ technique, will complement Fulvio’s spring menu at Hotel Savoy’s Irene Restaurant.

Sewing Success

The eldest of four children from a humble Italian family, Loretta’s talent for embroidering was discovered at the age of nine. Selling her first commission aged 14, she went on to open her flagship store in Borgo Ognissanti, Florence, in 1967. What started as a labour of love would become a phenomenal commercial success, with Loretta hailed Italy’s Queen of Embroidery:

‘My grandmother created long-sleeved nightgowns with smocked embroidery and ruffled necklines in the highest quality organic cottons, linens and silks, during a period dominated by synthetic fabrics. These designs, featured in the first store window, were an instant sell-out. They’re now one of the best sellers of the brand’s ready-to-wear collections.’

Weaving Generations Together

Guido now proudly runs the family workshop alongside his mother Lucia and looking back at his early years in the business, he speaks fondly of an intergenerational dynamic that will resonate with many of us:

Straight after highschool, I worked in the warehouse, reorganising the archive of prints and fabrics. I found some leftover printed fabrics and had the idea of creating a swimwear line inspired by the Positano swimsuit of the 60s; a dive into the Dolce Vita. I explained the idea to my mother, who said no - later admitting it was because she wanted me to first go to university. Then I went to my grandmother, who said yes - in a low tone of voice - even giving me some archive laces designed with different jungle animals to appliqué onto each swimsuit.’ 

Today, Guido says the brand often looks to nature for inspiration: ‘The blossoming season is the awakening of life and creativity, starting with soft tones of greens and then exploding with all the joyful colours of nature’. A picture synonymous with Fulvio Pierangelini’s description of his spring menu as ‘pale greens (broad beans, peas, asparagus), white (ricotta and naïve cheeses), and the colours of strawberries and March truffles’.


Guests of Irene Restaurant can look forward to a feast for all senses in the heart of Florence. For reservations, please contact the team via irenefirenze@roccofortehotels.com.  

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