Andrea Provvidenza of Lodental
There is something about tradition, Andrea Provvidenza tells as he takes us on a tour of his home in Rome. He’s carefully maintained and restored the 1970s interiors – including fabulous geometric wallpaper – in the home where he grew up. For Provvidenza, founder of the outwear loden coat brand Lodental, tradition is something that is too important to ignore.
Several years back, Provvidenza was gifted by his father several tailor shirts along with decades-old loden coats and cape in 2012. The gorgeous wool coats were in perfect condition and were the impetus for Provvidenza to bring loden to the 21st century in 2012. Using top quality loden wool from the 140-year-old Austrian fabric house Leichtfried, Provvidenza reimagined in loden coats in new as well as classic styles and vibrant colours.
Loden is the original essential high performance fabric
“There is a great potential to bring to back to the essentials, to bring new life with the
“classico rivisitato”, share Provvidenza. And loden is probably the best essential fabric- and the original.
A centuries-old wool fabric, Loden originated in the Alpine region of Tyrol, Austria to provide warmth and keep dry in the extreme winters. The word itself comes from the middle German word lode which means “coarse woollen cloth”, while the thick wool came from mountain sheep. The earthy green cloth was a high performance and highly resistant, worn exclusively (and thanks to Emperor’s edict) by peasants until the 19th century in winter as well as summer with light cloth blouses. In the early 1800s, the Habsburg Archduke Johann, brother of Emperor Franz II fell in love with the fabric and vaulted it to mode noblesse.
The years following prove that Loden lasts a lifetime for its quality and style. By the 20th century, it was alla moda in Italy, where almost everyone’s nonno wore the cappotto verde (no-frills single-breasted green coat). And the distinct green became so popular that Pantone brought it into its rainbow with loden green (Pantone 18-0422 X).
“In Italy, the name Loden is so iconic that you don’t need to say anything.,” says Loden who peruses second hand stores in search of loden to be used for inspiration. “I have to communicate to the people my age who used to cringe at Loden hand-me-downs that Loden is something more, something that has so much history.”
Today’s modern Loden is made from 100% merino wool and comes in different weights for the different styles, making it incredibly versatile while maintaining its warmth, and resistance to water and wind. Provvidenza works with Leichtfried to reinterpret traditional loden styles, like the cape or duffle coat, with not-so-traditional colours. In fact, Provvidenza’s palette is a celebration of complimentary colour.
Providenza handpicks colours and fabrics with Josef, the fifth generation of Austria’s Licthfried, and all of his creations are made by Neapolitan tailors. Tradition mixed with a little Roman creativity makes Loden all about rejuvenation.
“If you look back on the last 30 years, dusty heritage brands like Burberry’s and Moncler were refreshed and renewed for a 21st century wearer. I thought about that with loden. I wanted to celebrate this natural material in a very forward thinking way.”
What started out as a technicolor homage to his father’s coat has become a pioneer. Along with beautiful pret-a-porter and bespoke coats, Provvidenza has brought Lodental into London’s Chiltern Firehouse and de rigueur to the bellboys’ and staff’s uniforms are Lodental coats and capes.
And for Provvidenza, Lodental is much more than a stylish cover for your shoulders. A walk around Provvidenza house and you’ll find loden-covered pillows and divans, loden blankets and of course, loden coats.
ISSIMO x Lodental
As with so many aspects of living la dolce vita, there is an art to creating the Italian table that mixes presentation and visual appeal to intrigue the guest’s eye and appetite with a heartfelt sense of togetherness. The close-knit sense of hospitality, an essential aspect of Italian culture, is extended throughout each element of the table setting. Each component plays an important role, from the place settings to the flatware, dishware, glassware and fabric design.
“ISSIMO is the soul of MarieLouise, she created her own world of incredible friends and the legacy of Italy together. She is revamping and promoting the Italian manufacturer,” tells Provvidenza who shares that the collaboration was a natural fit.
“Lodental is ISSIMO. It has respect for sartorial cuts and models. It is joyful through the colours. The fabrics are top level and beautiful, and the cuts are perfectissimo. It has a meaning and history.’
Lodental has achieved and gone beyond what Providenza considers the ISSIMO 5 qualities: heritage tradition, contemporaneity, aesthetics, fun and storytelling.