From Italy to West Vancouver wrapped with love

Are you looking for a warm Italian embrace on long winter nights?

Those with a desire for finer threads will find comfort at Ami boutique in Dundarave, where a new active outdoor cashmere line, Palu, is making its exclusive Vancouver premiere this week.

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Palu’s luxurious base layers, thermal jackets, vest and jackets will come to West Van, technically by way of Bowen Island but there’s no mistaking the Italian quality of the material.

Milanese fashion purveyors Rebecca and Davide Bizzarri moved to Bowen Island in the spring of 2014 and set up a 1,600-square-foot workshop furnished with cutting-edge electronic knitting machines and vintage hand-operated looms brought over from Italy. From their scenic locale on Bowen, mother and son custom knit cosy cashmere sweaters and chic coats in the Old World Italian tradition.

The company’s roots can be traced back to the 1940s in Milan, when Rosa Feroldi found herself an orphan of war and knitting her own clothes in a convent school. Feroldi would later parlay that humbling experience into creating a cashmere fashion business in Milan in the early 1950s, called Artigiani Milanesi.

Professionally defined by her infinite enthusiasm, plus ruthless attention to detail and quality, Feroldi passed on her skill and design flair to her son, Davide.

The manufacturers of Artigiani’s regular knitwear and outerwear are back in Italy, while the custom work is done on Bowen.

Artigiani launched in Europe last year and will be available across Canada and the U.S. next fall.

For now, the Bizzarri family exclusively sells their cashmere clothes to luxury sports boutiques in ski resorts in the Alps, one store in Calgary, and Ami boutique in Dundrave.

For their new outdoor cashmere line, Artigiani employs NanoCashmere (water-repellant cashmere yarn) and CloudTherm (100 per cent raw cashmere insulation) to help keep the wearer warm yet stylish.

Cashmere is nature’s finest insulation fibre, says Rebecca.

“In a revolutionary approach, CloudTherm introduces cashmere as an insulation material, taking the fibre in its raw and natural state, and combining it with a synthetic binding fibre to produce an insulating cashmere wadding,” she adds.

“It offers breathability, thermal insulation, softness and is eco-friendly, with a fantastic warmth-to-weight ratio (meaning no bulk).”

NanoCashmere, meanwhile, repels snow and water droplets; any liquid that lands on the garment beads and rolls off the surface, making it water-resistant. The pure cashmere pieces – base layers and knits – feature Italian spun cashmere purchased from a small family-run mill in Piemonte.

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A model sports the Bonatti Thermal Jacket from the Palu line. photo supplied Artigiani Milanesi

“We have been purchasing yarn from this company for decades … and they have the longest and finest cashmere fibres of utmost quality,” explains Rebecca.”

 Prices for the new Palu line of outdoor knits range from $500 for 100 per cent cashmere base layers to $800- $900 for cashmere thermal jackets.

Those interested in pairing some luxurious knitwear with wine and cheese can RSVP for the Palu launch party at Ami boutique on Thursday, 5-7 p.m., by emailing bonjour@amiboutique.com.

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