A bird’s eye view of the landscape of Mantua might seem like Venice’ s one. The city is surrounded by three artificial lakes through it flows the river Mincio. Driving into the city makes a huge impression, especially at dawn or late evening, when the city is in the mist and street lights are barely visible. We drove into town in the morning, when the mist had already fallen.
The Italian Capital of Culture 2016 makes you fall in love at first sight. Thanks to these views you start to getting your bag packed and book a ticket to Italy.
Headquarters and factory of Lubiam are part of the history of this city, even though the factory is located in the center of the new city’s part. At the time of its construction these areas were considered as a suburbs of Mantua.
Our visit in the factory begin from office part which hallways are filled with paintings by Feruccio Bologniesi, the Mantua’s naive painter and sculptor. The factory showroom is not only a place of presentations of new collections, but also of artistic meetings. In 1987 the Bianchi family bought an impressive painting called “La cacciata dell’invitato indegno”, which returned to his homeland after it was sold in 1627, to the English king Karol I. The author of this work is Fra’ Semplice da Verona – monk Semplice (Simple) from Verona.
The office part is strict. The furnishing of each room is basically limited to desk, computer, papers and maybe two or three cabinets. This kind of minimalism helps to stay focused on work, and Lubiam has it more and more.
Italian clothing brands have to constantly fight for publicity. For many years now, the presence only on domestic market is no longer sufficient. Nowadays the Italian brands compete with each other on foreign markets. Lubiam is becoming more and more present and expansive in United States, Sweden, Russia and Spain. The brand keeps strengthening its position in France, Japan, Switzerland, Canada and in Benelux countries as well.
The factory is composed of some halls and studios spread over two levels.
Lubiam is an acronym from Luigi Bianchi Mantova, founder of the brand. In 1911 brought to light “Primaria Sartoria Luigi Bianchi – Confezione Uomo e abiti e tailleur per Signora”, a store of men’s and women’s clothing and tailoring services, the first step to modern company.
Lubiam is one of the few Italian companies still in hand of founder’s family. The company is managed by Guiliano Bianchi sons – Edgardo Bianchi Jr, Giovanni and Gabrielle and cousin, Andrea Benedini. We had an opportunity to have a long conversation with Andrea – we were lucky to meet someone from management team, beacuse family lifestyle means luggage packing and unpacking. Developing the company requires a lot of sacrifices. Today Mantova, tomorrow Hamburg, and in 3 days a flight to Corea – that was a Andrea Benedini schedule for the next week.
L.B.M. 1911 is one of the most characteristic and deserved of attention brand in men’s fashion. It’s informal line with lightweight jackets. You find a jackets with knitted and crossbred effect, overdyed with a delicate and handmade procedure, melange wool with boucle or 3D effect – special dying gives them a vintage features. Exceptional treatments in the fabrication process require a complex operations, much more complicated than in standard production. Lubiam is one of the leaders in this sector, that’s why I wanted to get some more detailed informations about steps of production. However, the detailed steps of fabrication are strictly confidential business secrets.
As I was told in the design office, they can’t reveal too much about it, because if the chef shared secrets of his most famous recipes, in the profession would be ruined.
L.B.M. 1911 was created for younger clients who reject a traditional classic style. Nowadays this distinction is no longer actual. The jackets with soft shoulders, unconstructed and unlined are an ordinary products in the clothing stores. This kind of jacket is becoming a standard in the polish stores but it’s not the only factor that influences on choosing a jacket. In case of Lubiam and L.B.M. 1911 line the obvious thing is originality – you see it through fabrics, their weaving and coloring, which are often difficult to define.
Patterns are dominated by checks: Prince of Wales, classic chess board, tartan, madras, Windowpane. In the winter collections there are some well known patterns as Herringbone and Houndstooth. Lubiam is “bowing down before” English input into the men’s fashion. A lot of jackets have microstructure, loop knit fabrics.
Spring – Summer collection 2017 is inspired by colors of nature – dominated by sandy shades, different shades of gray, blue and brown. There are also bright colors – white and cream. In the collection you’ ll see jacquard fabrics, microwaves, which give the impression of 3D fabrics. We have melange of wool, cotton, flax, mohair and silk. Some new product is ultralight denim jackets in various shades of indygo.
One of the most exciting moments is the beginning, working on jacket models and dressmaking patterns. I don’t know how they do that but every jacket in 48 size and drop 7 or 8 fits me perfectly. It fits me beautifully on the shoulders like some bespoke order. The sleeves length adequate, the same story with jacket length. That’s a big advantage of this brand – a thing like jacket loses a lot of its beauty if does not fulfil the most practical condition of clothes – a perfect fitting. My stature is quite simply to fit but I’ve had a lot of problems trying to find a good jacket in stores. Paying such a big attention to keeping a right proportions is a result of historical line of Lubiam, Luigi Bianchi Mantova Sartoria, and well developed Made to Measure service.
L.B.M. 1911 changed my perception about the jacket. Now I can’t imagine not having some well fitted jackets in my wardrobe.
The beginning of production is dedicated to matching some elements of cloth each other and their machine cutting. A smaller elements require more precise, handmade sewing and finishing. Those rules apply also to collar, pockets and lining. Hand made finishing also include etichette and brand labels sewing. A factory has a lot of space dedicated to final steps of production like ironing and shaping. After the last corrections and quality control, products are sent to warehouse, which is fully automated.
There is no country where Lubiam doesn’t make its trunk show. Ultimately it was in South Corea. Lubiam offers its MTM service in 3 lines: Luigi Bianchi Mantova Sartoria, Luigi Bianchi Mantova Flirt and Lubiam 1911 Cerimonia. Recently the brand has developed MTM in L.B.M 1911, which requires additional innovations in production and logistic part. A MTM office is located on the ground floor, in administration part of the building. At this office works Demetrio Cogliandro, International Director responsible for MTM service.
It’s a historic place. I was an office of Luigi Bianchi, founder of company. Windows overlook the small playground, which it’s not there by accident. In 2009 the company received the award Family – Work (Premio Famiglia – Lavoro) for family – friendly policies, beside the factory there is a nursery and kindergarten.
L.B.M. 1911 opened its first flagship in prestigious Via della Spiga 30, belonged to famous Golden Quadrilateral (Quadrilatero d’Oro), Milan shopping centre. Vintage interior decorating elements blend with latest cutting – edge design. There are two levels, full of green and glass construction. The opening took place in June 2015. Unfortunately, we could only admire it from the outside because they slammed the door in our faces. It was too late….