The ISSIMO Cashmere Essentials Capsule Is Born
The creative process takes shape differently for each creator. For our Creative Director & Founder Marie-Louise, inspiration comes from her environment; the streets of Rome, architecture, colors, friends, and a touch of instinct. This fall Marie-Louise dreamed up a new ISSIMO cashmere collection, a capsule of pieces that would be made from the very best Italian cashmere, inspired by the colors of her city and iconic architectural details that she grew up surrounded by.
Marie-Louise takes us through the creative process, from initial thought to execution, behind our much loved ISSIMO cashmere collection.
Why did you decide to create a cashmere collection for ISSIMO?
You know what they say, ‘necessity is the mother of invention’, and I suffer the cold desperately. So it was necessary for me to create a collection for the colder season, and naturally I wanted to use cashmere, because I absolutely love it (who doesn’t?); the soft material is one of the most valuable natural products. It is incredibly cozy, silky to the touch and doesn’t have the itchy quality of wool but still provides insulating warmth.
I wanted the ISSIMO community to have a nice luxurious selection for the cooler months, something of extreme high quality that is fun and makes them smile without needing to go to the big brands and pay so much for a name.
Why is cashmere an important Italian fabric?
Italy is a traditional center of excellence when it comes to spinning and knitting cashmere and everyone knows that Italians do it best (I am a little biased). Everyone looks for the big brands and the “Made in Italy” tag when looking for top quality cashmere. Italy’s spinning and knitting techniques make all the difference and draws a clear line that all cashmere is not created equal.
What does ‘Made in Italy’ mean to you?
High quality and timelessness both in the design and the product.
The collection is indeed fun – tell us a little more about the pieces we can find on ISSIMO
We started making the cashmere beanie hats last winter, a classic item that is unisex and versatile and very warm. But I also wanted to have a warm, cozy sweater, and I love turtlenecks, so we designed one where the collar stays up (I have a pet peeve with turtlenecks that flop). Then we added the cashmere trousers. I thought it was a great idea given the fact that everyone was staying in due to the pandemic. We wanted the whole super comfortable cashmere look, which one can obviously buy separately and wear out. This year we also added the Pantheon Blankets – nothing says cozy at home like a cashmere blanket! And the design is oh so Roman!
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I am always travelling around, walking around and I am inspired by everything around me: architecture, colors, shapes, etc..
How do you go from the initial idea to ready-to buy?
Once the idea was born, we hunted for the best quality cashmere makers and got lots of samples. We visited different cashmere makers who actually make garments for the big brands, and told them what we are looking for – we described the style, the length, the fit, the overall characteristics. They then made samples for us, and we selected the best.
How long does the process take?
Approximately a couple of months.
Do you have a favorite piece?
I would say the ISSIMO beanies (they are super warm) and the ISSIMO turtleneck: it is a classic and timeless piece. It can be paired with really big earrings or some fabulous jewelry; it could look really chic, yet it is sporty and you can wear it with jeans or black pants or a skirt. It is super warm, super cozy and you get the top quality cashmere without paying the extra name of a very big brand.
What was the inspiration behind the ISSIMO turtleneck?
I love discreet and elegant pieces. Even if something is casual I like to keep it elegant. I love old Celine by Phoebe Filo – she was an inspiration and her style was elegant and understated.
How did you choose the color palette for the turtlenecks?
The palette of colors is very Roman: burnt orange, browns – which you see a lot around the city. They are unusual colors, but also classic.
How does the cashmere collection represent the ISSIMO Brand?
It is completely quality driven – it is the highest quality cashmere we could find, it’s relaxed casual yet chic, and understated.
What is your favorite part of the creative process?
I get really excited with ideas in general. It’s that moment at the beginning that is really exciting. My favorite part is when I get the idea.
Who are you designing for when you create a collection?
I am designing for everyone looking for high quality product, a timeless design and an understated elegance.