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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Laura Lusuardi is design director at Max Mara, which has had a 15-year relationship with the mill. "They use avant-garde research to create wonderful fabrics for us," she says. "They’re also a great overall partner." Case in point: For spring, Lusuardi wanted a drapey jersey. Jackytex delivered with a fabric that could easily drape, suspended from a collar at the neck. "This fabric was a collaborative effort," she says.

Giachi notes the constant need for research and development. "Customers need something new every two months — a design, a finish or a blend," he says. "We serve an exclusive niche market, which means we need to completely concentrate on our product. Jersey is all we do. It’s like a culture that we have to preserve."

Yet he believes that tradition goes hand in hand with daringness, and encourages the industry as a whole to take more chances. "Just because the economy is suffering doesn’t mean we have to," Giachi says. "It’s important that clothing not become unimportant. It’s a challenge, I’m sure, but retailers around the world need to take more risks because in life, if you don’t take risks, you will never succeed." Spoken like a true Italian.

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