Under the esteemed patronage of H.H. Sheikha Lateefa bint Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Loro Piana inaugurated an immersive installation in the spectacular sky garden of Dubai Opera House, devoted to the world’s most beautiful wool, which the luxury Italian house is most famous for.
The focus of the installation is The Gift of Kings® wool, a rare treasure that is the outcome of a time-honoured quest for excellence, which sees Loro Piana working directly with leading breeders in Australia and New Zealand, supporting their intensive efforts to produce ever finer fibre. Measuring only around 12 microns in diameter, the Gift of Kings® is only available in tiny quantities – a precious, extremely refined selection of the wool produced every year.
Resembling a dreamy, ethereal cloud, the sculptural installation conceals secret chambers that offer visitors a glimpse into the secrets of this incredible wool, and its journey from raw fibre to woven fabric. Paying tribute to the wonders of the natural world, cascading waterfalls and soft rain showers evoked the feather light purity of the world’s finest Merino, Loro Piana’s pride and joy.
The initiative is rooted in Loro Piana’s high-end tradition of excellence, as Fabio d’Angelantonio, the company’s CEO says: “The Gift of Kings® is an ongoing journey for excellence for Loro Piana, and we are honoured to embark on its next expression, under the patronage of H.H. Sheikha Lateefa bint Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Above all, The Gift of Kings® is a declaration of our deep respect for the natural world and the beauty that comes from it – a value that has led us to this collaboration with the celebrated artist eL Seed.”
The World Record Bale
Exclusively for Dubai, the installation presents the very pinnacle of excellence in the world of wool. To reward and incentivize the leading woolgrowers in Australia and New Zealand, Loro Piana has created a special award for the finest wool produced each year: The Record Bale award. And once every so often, that wool breaks all previous records for fineness, earning it the coveted title of World Record Bale. Between the 8th and 10th of November, members of the public will have the chance to admire the current world record holder in its raw wool state at the installation, open from 11am to 11pm every day at the Dubai Opera Garden, directly in front of the iconic Dubai Opera. This wool was produced in 2014 by Robert and Pamela Sandlant in Australia and measures only 10.3 microns in diameter – finer than most cashmere. An incredible achievement, in a journey of excellence that with the support of Loro Piana has seen the world record for wool fineness honed by an astounding three microns in just 20 years.
Loro Piana rightly celebrates each World Record Bale with special traditions. Each record holder is carefully preserved in its raw wool form until the time a new world record is made. When that happens, it is ready to be spun and woven into fabric: a single 150 metre bolt.
To celebrate this collaboration Loro Piana commissioned a site-specific work from internationally renowned Tunisian artist eL Seed, who as previous guest artist at Tashkeel, enjoyed a two-year residency in Dubai. eL Seed’s art has been shown on the walls of many cities around the world including Paris, New York, Jeddah and Melbourne and Dubai. eL Seed created a unique artwork that envelopes The Gift Of Kings, installation, as if it were a gift, wrapped in the most precious of artistic sentiments. The Artist, who creates captivating and intricate compositions of traditional Arabic calligraphy fused with contemporary street art, was inspired by a poem, written by Alfonso X: ruler of thirteenth-century Spain, who played a pivotal role in the history of Merino wool. This combination of ancient craft and modern vision resonates perfectly with Loro Piana’s philosophy, blending unique heritage, superlative workmanship and innovative textile technology.