EQUILINE’s head apparel designer Antonella Lauretti is recognized following the company’s seasonal fashion show for the Fall/Winter 2018-2019 Collection alongside assistant designers Elena Piran, Francesca Grimes, and Neiva Scattolin and the EQUILINE models.
At the EQUILINE headquarters in Trebaseleghe, Italy, it’s known as the secret lair. In fact, there’s a sign taped to the room’s entrance that strongly suggests you do not disturb. Head designer Antonella Lauretti’s office is the top-secret origin of every piece of clothing, horse wear, and dog blanket to ever be released by EQUILINE. The quiet genius behind “The Dress Code” has been with the company since its inception nearly 30 years ago.
Lauretti is constantly at work. Her collections are put together months in advance and kept under lock and key until their reveal at EQUILINE’s seasonal fashion shows and subsequent releases across the globe. Each fabric, color, technology, and stitch is purposeful with strategic meaning. Countless sketches of her creations are positioned on designer mood boards around her workspace, all categorized by lifestyle.
At the recent EQUILINE winter meetings, Lauretti temporarily put to a halt her closed-door policy and welcomed EQUILINE America inside for an exclusive interview. Get to know EQUILINE’s fashion mastermind in a very special installment of our “Get To Know” series:
EQUILINE America: Where did you get your start in the field of fashion design?
Antonella Lauretti: I went to design school in Venice (Italy), where I learned how to sketch by hand. The next step was to master computer design. I started out designing beachwear. That was the first collection I did. Then, I designed for track and fútbol, and 20 years ago, I began work on the first collection for equestrian wear at EQUILINE.
EA: How did you get involved with EQUILINE?
AL: The first time I worked with [EQUILINE owner Paolo Marchetto], I was a freelancer. For two years, we collaborated, and then we decided to work together in the EQUILINE building. I’ve been here ever since.
EA: What goes into designing a new collection for EQUILINE?
AL: It’s not easy! There are many, many, many steps. We start with a meeting with our area agent to get an idea of the different items that are most needed—competition jackets, breeches, soft shell products, and any other new requests the agents are getting from customers. Then, we start to research some ideas. We go to visit Paris Première Vision (a global event for fashion professionals, held twice each year for three days in Paris, France) to research fabrics and new colors. To promote new technologies in the fabric, it’s also important to know all the sporting and activity trends. Pitti Immagine (a series of events that promotes the fashion industry in Italy) for fashion, is the most important fair in Italy. Then, we start to put some ideas—a piece of fabric, a new color card—and start to design a new idea or new concept for the collection. We prepare sketches, and we put the collection on our design boards and start to discuss with Mr. Marchetto and with our area manager and choose the items for the collection. We seek out a good supplier in order to have the best quality and workmanship for the garments, and then we start to prepare the fashion show, the workbook, and all the items needed to have in the show room and start the campaign. The entire process takes six months, and we start far in advance.
EA: How many items will you design for each collection?
AL: There are typically 100 items in each new collection, more or less. We start with double the designs—the design binder will be twice in size—and I narrow it down from there!
EA: You just finished the Fall/Winter Collection for 2018-2019. What is your favorite product from this collection that EQULINE America customers can get excited about?
AL: It’s not easy to choose just one, but I love the Kate outerwear jacket. I think it’s a good combination of technical fabric and good quality. I also love the stitching inside, and it’s completely waterproof. Also, the sleeves are a special shape. The top is a little bit longer on top and a little bit shorter on the backside, so it allows for a greater freedom of movement in the hand.
EA: What do you love most about your job?
AL: I love everything about my job. Every part of my work is rewarding.
EA: Do you ride as well?
AL: I stopped riding 20 years ago and restarted recently—two months ago. I need to improve step by step, but I think it’s possible to begin to compete again in the jumper ring!
EA: Tell us about your team.
AL: It’s a fantastic team. I work with Elena Piran, Francesca Grimes, and Neiva Scattolin. I prefer to work with women, because it’s easier, because it’s a different kind of intelligence from a man. These women are very smart!
EA: What’s next for you?
AL: We are currently working on the new summer collection for 2019. It will be a very, very new collection in terms of design. It’s not easy to say what will be the next bestseller or new trend, but it will be a mix of glamour, neo-classic, and contemporary styles. The contemporary pieces will have more color, the neo-classic will introduce some soft, pastel colors, and the glamour pieces will be very special with a ‘wow’ factor.
Lauretti, shown with assistants Piran and Grimes, are most often found hard at work in Lauretti’s office, which is surrounded by fashion pieces, textiles, and designer mood boards littered with sketches.