La Perla (clothing)
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Number of locations
|Silvio Scaglia (Chairman) Julia Haart (Creative Director)|
|Products||Lingerie, beachwear, sleepwear, ready-to-wear, accessories|
La Perla is an Italian luxury lifestyle company owned by German entrepreneur Lars Windhorst through Sapinda Group. Historically a lingerie brand, La Perla has expanded into lifestyle offerings including beachwear, sleepwear, bags, shoes and ready-to-wear.
Founded by couturière Ada Masotti in Bologna in 1954, La Perla is one of few historical fashion houses with a woman founder. Ada Masotti was trained as a corset-maker, and went on to redefine lingerie as a fashion accessory.
- 1 History
- 2 Products
- 3 People
- 4 Boutiques
- 5 Publications
- 6 Campaigns
- 7 References
- 8 External links
La Perla was founded by master corsetmaker Ada Masotti in 1954 in Bologna, Italy, where the tradition of silk factories and textile manufacturing dates back to the 17th Century. While working in a local atelier, she was given the nickname “golden scissors” for her exacting cutting and tailoring abilities. Over time, Ada Masotti adapted her corset expertise to different kinds of lingerie, inventing styles and redefining how lingerie was considered and worn.
The company name was inspired by a box lined in red velvet, similar to a jeweler’s case, in which the first collections were carried. With its perfect roundness, the pearl (la perla in Italian) was seen as a symbol of harmony, luxury and femininity.
The Masotti family redefined lingerie as a clothing accessory. Ada Masotti would drape fabric directly on the female body, achieving expert awareness of line and movement. Beginning in the 1950s, when female silhouettes were accentuated in fashion, Ada Masotti sought materials from Italian and international production such as Leavers lace woven on Calais looms, called Dentelle de Calais, and tulle embroidered in northern Italy and Switzerland.
To adapt to the bright fashion statements of the 1960s, La Perla launched a lingerie line based on colorful, floral and checked patterns alongside the more traditional white, black and nude. In the 1970s, La Perla introduced the silk jersey triangle bra, which allowed for free-flowing movement and reflected fashion’s preference for a smaller bust. In 1978, La Perla launched its stretch lace sets, echoing the fashion of the day with its clinging dresses and natural flowing lines.
During the underwear boom that characterized the 1980s fashion scene the company started its international expansion under the guidance of Alberto Masotti, the founder's son. Alberto Masotti’s wife, Olga Masotti, was hired by Ada Masotti as a designer in 1972. Her work included a number of innovative pieces. In 1983 La Perla introduced the under-jacket, a lingerie item designed to be visible under the suiting of the era.
Ada Masotti also created La Perla Maison, a collection featuring a range of garments in pure silk satin with embroidered inserts and frastaglio finishing, employing a technique that to this day is carried out by hand by the artisans of the La Perla atelier. In 1994 La Perla launched the Sculpture bra that introduced a new way of thinking about underwear: elegance was no longer the exclusive prerogative of materials like lace and tulle, but represented by creations with harmonious styling, made of smooth and soft fabrics.
To celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2004, La Perla put together a collection made with Valenciennes lace, produced on ancient mechanic looms of Calais, the most important Leavers lace centre in the world.
In 2006 actor Daniel Craig wore in the 007 Casino Royale movie a pair of Grigioperla swimming trunks and this garment became a favourite in the La Perla boutiques worldwide. In 2012 Christie’s organized a special auction celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first Bond film and the La Perla trunks were sold for £44,450.
La Perla launched the Cage Bustier in 2007 worn by Victoria Beckham in the video of “Headlines", the Spice Girls' reunion song. A capsule Cage collection was later launched, including the Cage top which received critical acclaim when worn by Beyoncé for her 2014 Grammy Awards performance.
In 2011 La Perla began a collaboration with French couturier Jean Paul Gaultier. That same year, La Perla entered the shapewear sector with ShapeCouture, which featured distinctive tailored cuts, tulle inserts and openwork finishes.
Acquisition and relaunch
In June 2013 Italian entrepreneur Silvio Scaglia and Pacific Global Management purchased La Perla at auction. Following the acquisition, the company was relaunched with a new development strategy. In the same year, La Perla launched the Made to Measure line, available in La Perla's major flagship stores. The service is dedicated to a select few exclusive creations, which become one-of-a-kind as they are made to measure, sewn by hand, personalized with an embroidered monogram, and made precious by embroidery in gold thread. The creations are only available by order.
La Perla’s first Atelier collection showed during Couture Fashion Week in Paris in 2015, the brand’s first runway show in Paris. The designs for the collection took more than 14 months to sew by hand. The show was staged at the Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild and the pieces displayed at the La Perla boutique in Paris on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Top supermodels Naomi Campbell, Isabeli Fontana, Natasha Poly, and Lindsey Wixson joined Spring/Summer 2015 campaign stars Izabel Goulart, Sigrid Agren, and Ming Xi amongst the international models in the catwalk show.
La Perla lingerie is known for its corsetry and detailing. Founder Ada Masotti's motto was: "Never compromise on quality and innovation". La Perla’s notable technique and materials include frastaglio appliqué technique, Leavers lace and embroidered tulle.
La Perla produces sleepwear with the same materials and colours of its lingerie collections.
La Perla announced that the Ready-to-Wear collection under the Creative Direction of Julia Haart focuses on the essentials of women’s wardrobes, incorporating 62 years of knowledge of the female form into the construction of suiting and shirting for women. La Perla celebrated the arrival of the first collection of newly appointed Artistic Director Julia Haart at Selfridges, London.
In 1985, the company extended its production to men's underwear and beachwear. In June 2014, La Perla held the first menswear catwalk show at Pitti Uomo in Florence, presenting the new concept men's loungewear and Beachwear collection. The collection included raffia robes, kimono-inspired gilets, and slim-cut swimming trunks.
Bags and shoes
The company also produces accessories lines. Current Creative Director Julia Haart has been designing shoes and bags collection since Spring/Summer 2016.
The company expanded into perfume with their first fragrance, named simply La Perla, in 1986. A fragrance for men, named Grigioperla, was released in 1993. The bottles were created by designer Pierre Dinand.
The company was led by founder Ada Masotti from 1954 to 1981. Her son Alberto Masotti, who, after earning a degree in Medicine from the University of Bologna decided to completely dedicate himself to the family business, led the company from 1981 to 2007. In October 2008, La Perla was sold to JH Partners, a San Francisco-based private equity firm established in 1986 and focused on investments in services companies and luxury brands.
In June 2013 entrepreneur Silvio Scaglia and Pacific Global Management purchased La Perla at auction for €69 million ($90 million). Pacific Global Management (PGM) also includes Elite Model Management and Women Management. Following the acquisition, the company was relaunched with a development strategy aimed at consolidating the identity of the brand. In February 2018 Sapinda Group of Lars Windhorst acquired La Perla.
Julia Haart was appointed Creative Director of La Perla in 2016, after working with the brand on accessories collaborations for two seasons. Haart's first collection, for Spring/Summer 2017, will present La Perla's women’s ready-to-wear offering. Haart developed her eponymous shoe label on the principle that sexy heels can be comfortable, a design-focused philosophy that translated to lingerie and womenswear with La Perla.
La Perla sells its collections through a network of more than 150 flagship boutiques, both owned and franchised, in major cities around the world. The first La Perla boutiques opened internationally in 1991. It also has a presence in the main department stores and specialized shops.
In 2014, Italian architecture studio Baciocchi Associati, who did interiors for Miu Miu and Prada boutiques, redesigned the interiors concept for La Perla global flagships. The new design concept was adopted in the existing flagship stores such as the historic boutiques of Sloane Street in London, via Montenapoleone in Milan and Madison Avenue in New York City as well as new boutiques such as the five-storey building in Old Bond Street in London, the boutique in Russell Street in Hong Kong and the building in Aoyama, Tokyo.
In 1997, collaborations with Italian photographer Marino Parisotto resulted in the publication of a photographic volume, Senso, portraying new La Perla styles. Senso was dedicated to the world of corsetry seen through the female gaze.
In 2012, Rizzoli New York City published La Perla. Lingerie & Desire, the first monographic book dedicated to the brand and its evolution over almost sixty years. Some chapters are dedicated to the history of the La Perla products, marketing (the origins, the 1960s, the 1970s, the 1980s and the 1990s) and advertorial images, while others are linked to symbolic aesthetic concepts such as Black, White, Body, Inspirations, Precious and Eros.
The Spring/Summer 2014 campaign, shot by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott with art direction by Fabien Baron and styling by Ludivine Poiblanc, featured models Cara Delevingne, Liu Wen and Malgosia Bela. The three supermodels were chosen to represent the many facets of a woman's world — the guiding concept of the new La Perla advertising campaign for their Spring/Summer 2014 season.
Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott under the artistic direction of Fabien Baron returned for the Fall/Winter 2014 campaign, whilst supermodels Mariacarla Boscono and Daria Strokous joined Spring/Summer 2014 protagonist Liu Wen. The campaign began with the debut of the new La Perla Made to Measure collection and the premiere of the exclusive backstage film.
The Fall/Winter 2015 campaign marked the fourth consecutive season that La Perla teamed up with photographers Alas and Piggott as well as artistic director Baron. Top models Liu Wen, Natasha Poly and Isabeli Fontana appeared in the campaign wearing black lace.
Spring/Summer 2016 introduced Italian model Mariacarla Boscono for the campaign, joining veterans Natasha Poly and Liu Wen.
The 2017 campaign featured Kendall Jenner, causing some controversy due to Jenner having to cancel a previously scheduled appearance as a Victoria's Secret model due to her new affiliation with La Perla.
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