FLORENCE | INTERVIEW, DELPHINE CORNUT | Directrice Artistique de MALO Cashmere

For 40 years MALO has maintained its essential values in the luxury field and in the cult of beauty.

Founded in Florence in 1972, it soon became a leading manufacturer of high-end cashmere knitwear.

From the noble materials, unique and valuable garments come to life confirming the rigorous attention placed on quality, tradition, experimentation with new techniques and processes.

The original headquarters are located in Florence, where the management, style and design studio, as well as production, quality control, warehouse and logistics departments can be found.

The lighter and more refined garments are produced in Piacenza, whereas the showroom is based in Milan.

Many have been working for MALO for decades bringing their know-how. Among the fashion designers: Tommaso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi, Alessandro Dell’Acqua, Saverio Palatella… just to mention a few.

Alongside cashmere, the brand has consolidated other product lines that include accessories, leather goods, licenses for homewear and childrenswear.

At MODE DIPLOMATIQUE, We believe that fashion can be a private luxury not just for the red carpet or special occasions.

As Sergio and Pier Luigi Loro Piana, the brothers who head Italian cashmere clothier Loro Piana SpA, have agreed this week to sell 80 percent of the family-owned company to LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA, MALO, started in Florence in 1972 by brothers Alfredo and Giacomo Canessa remains the last independent bastion in l’artegiano italiano of cashmere & knitting€. Something to be proud of as much as the clothes themselves.

MALO Tricot Srl was started by brothers Giacomo and Alfredo Canessa in 1972 in Florence. The company relocated in 1973 to Campi Bisenzio in the province of Florence in Tuscany, where cashmere production commenced. During the 70s and 80s the company became nationally known.

In 1980, MALO Tricot became MALO Spa and the company expanded beyond its initial regional boundaries to open a showroom in Milan. In 1984 MALO USA Inc was opened in New York to distribute knitwear products in the United States. In 1988, Malo Spa acquired the knitting mill Velley Spa of Alessandria and Abor Srl of Piacenza as part of a campaign of further expansion.

In 1989 MALO Spa changed its name to Mac (Manufacturing Associate Cashmere). From the 90s onwards, the company’s strategy focused on increasing exports, through the opening of sales offices in strategic markets (New York, Düsseldorf, Paris, Tokyo) and the growth of flagship stores to promote the brand.

In 1994, Mac announced the acquisition of national competitor MGM Malima. In 1999 MALO joined the Itierre group from Molise (IT Holding Group), of which it remained a part until its split after the crash of IT Holding.[4] In October 2010, MALO was acquired by Evanthe (part of the Italian group Exa S.r.l.).

We sat down with its creative director DELPHINE CORNUT to discuss the Fall Winter 2013 2014 and her taste in ideas of fashion ..as part of sculpting the new vision of MALO for our era.

The first thing that I want to discuss is how MALO works. The Italian craftmanship heritage, per se. Can you talk about how MALO embraces the “Italy in Made”?

Since its founding in 1972, MALO has always been strongly committed to quality. Quality materials. Quality style. Quality finishings. “Made in Italy” enables exceptional trackability, from the textiles woven in Italy to the dyeing, from the design to the knitting — from start to finish, our models are crafted in Italy with particular attention to detail.

MALO clothes address both genders; male and female. Is this an answer to the catwalk stereotype or an attempt to address a new asexual audience?

The two collections complement each other and create a dialogue, so both sexes can swap pieces and raid each other’s closets!

Delphine, you are specifically the creative designer for MALO’s womenswear. How do you create a collection serving aspirational ladies and mademoiselles?

By looking around me, trying to capture the current mood, and identifying what is enduring about MALO’s style and what changes according to the seasons. For me, fashion is an attempt to determine what is permanent and what is fleeting, what is serious and what is light, what is sophisticated and what is casual.

What is the philosophy upon which your collections are based? Who are the women buying MALO?

For me, it is not a question of philosophy, but of style. The MALO woman has her own style, whatever her philosophy. Women who wear MALO must feel even more free to think whatever they want, to philosophize sometimes, but to live always.

Palazzo” pant in stretch wool with bird’s eye pattern, Cashmere scarf cardigan with silk georgette, Girocollo ampio’s, jumpsuits, Knit and leather caps and gloves..What is the MALO Fall-Winter 2013-2014 story? The colour schemes are mostly “Bleu Blanc Paris” and monochromatic. What does this mean for you?

This season, I was very inspired by the 1920s. I tried to capture the modern spirit of that era and rework it into new and contemporary volumes. I wanted to convey in certain pieces the original and slightly extravagant aspect of that period. They’re called the “crazy years” and rightly so.

Overall, MALO’ collections have an urban feel. Is the city part of your field of inspiration? What are your inspirations and influences?

The city has always been a great source of inspiration for me. In the city everything is possible and everything comes together; the city is a diverse blend of experiences and cultures. Cities are of course nothing more than architecture, and architecture has certainly been one of my strongest influences.

Founded in Florence in 1972, Malo became a leading manufacturer of high-end cashmere in high-end know-how knitwear. Besides that, what is the secret to MALO’s success?

MALO’s identity lies not only in working with rare and precious materials, but also in conceiving them, structuring them , patiently constructing them to bring out the best in those who wear them. MALO’s secret is its love for quality craftsmanship without compromise, whether in terms of style or materials.