Gustav Klimt’s ‘Portrait of a Lady’ left the patrons and staff at Ricco Oddi modern art gallery in the northern city of Piacenza stunned in 1997. It was a particularly important work of the Austrian symbolist painter, as it was discovered that Klimt had painted the portrait over another one that was previously considered lost. 22 years past when it was miraculously found at the same gallery, but in a hidden cavity in the wall by a gardener. Vanished without a trace, it returned to public view. It’s a remarkably reciprocal story with McLauren. Founded in 1962, it had long been a famous brand originating in knitwear mecca Shetland. Just like Gustav Klimt’s ‘Portrait of a Lady’ in the same decade the 1990s, all traces of their fine handmade creations were lost. Kindred to the portrait’s unexpected return some years later, McLauren appeared after being relaunched by an Italian entrepreneur whose fundamental objective was to be mindful of the brand’s heritage and tradition.
About a 30-minute drive from Brescia, in the tranquil village of Visano, lies the McLauren factory. Today, McLauren’s collections are 100% Made in Italy - where expert hands interpret points, inlays, jacquards and models. Their models are taken from retro garments, which come from their very rich historical archive of designs, stitches, colours and fabrics created in 60 years of work in the specific knitwear sector. At McLauren, skilled custodians of ancient knitting traditions, now in danger of extinction, update the knitwear and redefine the current style, in a contemporary key, creating a perfect combination of retro style with modern taste and appeal.