Next week’s Ryder Cup won’t just mark the debut of six new faces on the European team, it will also be a first appearance in the match for Loro Piana.
The Italian clothing brand will kit out Darren Clarke’s side, taking over from Glenmuir as the ‘official supplier’ to the European team for the next two matches. Glenmuir had clothed the team for 14 successive matches stretching back to 1987 before the association came to what the Glenmuir MD Mikhel Ruia described as ‘a natural end’ following the 2014 match at Gleneagles, just 60 miles from the company’s Lanark base.
That left the door ajar for a new clothing supplier, with Loro Piana announced as Glenmuir’s successor ahead of the French Open this summer.
Loro Piana's Antoine Arnault, European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke, and Pascal Grizot, president of Ryder Cup France, unveiling Loro Piana as Europe's new official clothing supplier earlier this summer
Based in the Sesia Valley in the Piedmont region of north-west Italy, at the foot of the Alps, Loro Piana was founded on April 4, 1924, by Pietro Loro Piana. It remained a family-run business until 2013 when it became part of the French multi-national luxury goods conglomerate, LVMH, headquartered in Paris.
All of its clothing is made in Italy from ‘the best and finest raw materials in the world… and clearly express the timelessness and understated elegance of a certain Italian lifestyle’.
If you’re wondering why you haven’t heard of the brand before now, it’s probably because it hasn’t got that large a profile in the golfing world, certainly not compared with the likes of Nike, adidas and Under Armour, or even the likes of Ralph Lauren or Hugo Boss.
All that, though, could change with next week’s Ryder Cup match at Hazeltine.
Speaking to bunkered.co.uk, company chairman Antoine Arnault said: “We already produce a line of golf clothing and accessories for leisure time, but this collaboration with the Ryder Cup’s European team is exciting.
“We decided to marry our profound knowledge of technical fabrics with something that looks fresh and stylish on the course - without relinquishing Loro Piana’s signature exceptional quality, of course!”
Negotiations for Loro Piana to replace Glenmuir began in July 2015 before the company got the ‘green light’ that September. It subsequently set to work on designs for the team, which were finalised at the start of this year.
“Supplying the European team as a whole is very important to us,” added Arnault. “We are all about that team spirit mentality, the singular involvement of all parts moving together.”
He added that European captain Darren Clarke had been very involved in the design of his team’s outfits. “He was extremely clear from the very beginning on what he wanted,” said Arnault. “Something clean, beautiful and very Italian.”
The company plans to roll out a range of clothing developed from its Ryder Cup line at the beginning of 2017. “All of our styles are classically elegant, all tone on tone, yet also waterproof and wind resistant,” added Arnault. “The quest for beauty and uncompromising quality through excellent craftsmanship has also been our philosophy.
“We target golfers that appreciate and recognise our quality. Our excellence is all in the details. All in all, these are quite different from golf items normally available on the market.”