Luxury and Performance: Carlo Barbera Wool

Luciano Barbera has been called one of the most elegant men in the world. He, of course, uses his own fabric to create his suits. The Carlo Barbera mill, named for his father, is owned by Kiton, one of the world’s finest tailoring houses. We at Leviner Wood are very proud to carry the exclusive Carlo Barbera fabrics. They have to be seen and felt to be truly appreciated. Please call Larry today to schedule a viewing of some of the most beautiful fabrics you’ve ever seen. These will sell out fast!

For more about the house, we’ve pulled the following from a New York Times article written in 2010 by David Segal. Enjoy…

“THIS tradition is finita,” says Luciano Barbera, as he opens the door to an underground warehouse. Dozens of large wooden boxes are stacked to the ceiling, containing nearly 80 tons of colorful thread, wound in spools and idling like sunbathers at a beach, absorbing moisture in a cavernous room kept naturally cool and humid by a creek that burbles under the floor.

“I call it a spa for yarn,” explains Mr. Barbera, a lean and regal 72-year-old, who is dressed in a style that could be described as aristo-casual: white linen button-down shirt, brown herringbone pants and brown leather shoes. He is giving a quick tour of the Carlo Barbera mill, named for his 99-year-old father, and destined to be run by two or three of Luciano’s sons.

Mr. Barbera calls wool a living fiber, and he does not mean this metaphorically. After yarn is dyed here, it rests in the spa for as long as six months, recuperating until 20 percent of its weight is water. Then the material undergoes a 15-step process, which Mr. Barbera will not detail, other than to magisterially summarize it as “the nobilization of the fabric.”

Any shortcuts, he says, would harm the fabric’s “performance.”

Wait, performance?

“Yes, performance,” he says in an accent both purring and professorial. “If your suit is not performing well, it’s like being in a car where you can feel every little bump in the road. If a suit is performing well, it’s as though you drive right over the bumps and you feel nothing.”

And thus the paradox.

As insiders of the fashion world will confirm, the bolts of wool and cashmere produced at this mill can indeed be described as high performance, among the finest in the world, sold to dozens of luxury brands like Armani, Zegna and Ralph Lauren.

Continue reading the main story  in The New York Times.

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