Transforming Tradition

NEW YORK — Italians love life. They revel in good times, from daily two-hour feasts to month-long holidays each August. They’re justly...

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"Fashion changes every month," says Nicola. "There used to be two collections a year. Now, we build on the collection every month with the use of a new yarn or the introduction of a new design or texture." The firm produces exclusively in Italy, either at its main site equipped with 50 looms and four warp machines, or at a contracted off-site facility, where large-volume orders for basics can be filled in as little as two weeks.

"Boggio Casero always manages to combine creativity and quality, which isn’t always easy," says Michael Kors, a customer since the Eighties. "They are flexible and open to new ideas, which is a dream for a designer."

Dana Buchman, who has worked with the mill for four years, echoes Kors’ praise. "They do the best novelties in Biella," she says.


East of Biella and just north of Milan lies picturesque Como, a fabric center for centuries, and where Antonio Ratti opened his silk mill in 1945. The firm, which last year did $130 million, has since moved beyond printing on silk-only bases to include pure cottons and linens; silk blends, and polyester, rayon and nylon, mostly in blends.

Known for its brilliantly colored graphic prints, Ratti is a longtime designer favorite, and worked with Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Miu Miu, Cacharel, Ferré and Valentino for spring. "Antonio Ratti wrote the history of silks," says Donatella Versace, who is a loyal customer, as was her brother Gianni. "He is a legend in the textile industry." For spring, Donatella used the mill’s sunflower and Pop Art–inspired prints.

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana are also long-time customers, and for spring selected Art-Deco motifs — cherubs, cameos and kissing couples. "Ratti captures ideas and executes them perfectly, all while depicting the most intricate and specific of designs," says Dolce. "They understand the Dolce & Gabbana sensibility and design aesthetic, embracing vivid color and glamour."

When Antonio passed away earlier this year, his daughter, Donatella, took over as chairman and managing director. She maintains that strong customer relations lie at the heart of Ratti’s success. "While we have our own ideas," she says, "we must also interpret what our customers are thinking and help them to preserve their own identity."

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