Pollone, IT


Monday morning rolled in with the fog, and it was time to head out to my first appointment.  I made a coffee with the macchinetta on the stove and was feeling very Italian.  I am Italian, but I felt extra Italian.  I loaded the car and began the winding drive to the town of Pollone to visit the Piacenza mill, about an hour and forty five minutes away.  I practiced my "buon giornos ", "ciao bellas", and "molto benes" over and over during the drive to my appointment. I was thrilled with the way the r's rolled off my tongue, but once I arrived at the mill and it was opening night, the words sounded less than effortless. I understand Italian far better than I speak it. 

I reached the front desk at Piacenza and asked for Sabrina.  Lanificio Fratelli Piacenza was founded in 1733, so to say they have perfected the art of construction, quality, and design is an understatement.  It is always inspiring to visit this mill and see the precision and attention to detail with which they operate.  Even though I design a separate collection for myself, it is always enjoyable to get a sneak peak of what the influential fashion houses are currently working on.  Sabrina and I chatted as we climbed the stairs to the second floor; her English is close to perfect.  I love her accent, especially when she says purple.

We entered one of the conference rooms where Sabrina had all of the ingredients for a promising collection splayed out; it was just a matter of finding them. Yarns, color cards, samples, and swatches covered the table which itself was covered by a handsome gray flannel wool with a burgundy windowpane. I began putting colors together, taking photos, and making small sketches. 

First came the brushed cashmere and silk, a style of scarf that I've had for a few years and has always been a good seller.  I sometimes wonder if I should stray from it, but Sabrina says, "Margo, if the pizza is good, keep it on the menu".  That sounded reasonable.  I scrawled a new pattern for the cashmere and silk and selected the yarns.  I decided to also add a lightweight 100% silk scarf with a strong color gradation. I vacillated between a few different combinations but was pleased with what I had settled on. The quality of the fabric was so luxurious, I couldn't make a mistake, I told myself.   
 
In the middle of the design session it started to hail. The only thing I could think about was the dents it was putting in my rental car, for which I had not purchased the comprehensive insurance. I carried on while keeping a keen eye on the white marbles that were slingshotting down into the parking lot.  This was an anxiety ridden disturbance, but I don't like to overthink my designs anyway. That would not be a problem today, the hail urged me to make quick decisions.  

Sabrina finalized the order and I told her I would like them as soon as possible. "Bene" she said, followed by some other things. 

She walked me out and we hugged good bye; I enjoy working with her so much. I then hurriedly crossed the parking lot and checked the car for pock marks. It looked good, and I began the drive to safety just a few miles away, where I could see a sunny break in the clouds.  I knew if I could find that patch of sun, I would be out of the hail and farther into the mountains of Piedmont. There was a quaint trattoria I had eaten at a few years back in the direction of the sun; I couldn't remember the name, or exactly how to get there, but I had the rest of the afternoon to figure it out....


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