Allegra Marchiorello - ONCE MILANO
Once Milano has gained a reputation as the 'go-to' Lifestyle label for understated luxury. With an unwavering dedication to quality, the label ensures the highest attention to detail is paid to every piece. The focus is on traditional craftsmanship and in creating effortless & luxurious timeless pure linen pieces ensuring that there is purpose to each and every item. We talk to co-founder and creative director Allegra Marchiorello about the brand, it's aethos and how to bring a touch of Italy into our own homes.
“As Italians we’re very committed to bringing manufacturing back to Italy and ensuring that our heritage and extraordinary craftsmanship doesn’t disappear.” Allegra Marchiorello
STIL: Allegra, you and Valeria met 20 years ago whilst both studying law, but it wasn’t until 2012 that you put your careers aside to launch Once Milano. Can you share with us the journey that led to Once Milano?
AM: Valeria and I grew up in the Veneto region, before meeting in Strasbourg while both studying Law. I was the first to return to living in the region but we both shared a very strong appreciation for that particular way of home life that we had missed while living abroad. In 2012 Once Milano was born out of the desire to develop a brand that could export beautiful linen items beyond Italy and with it, a touch of this way of life.
STIL: Once Milano products are entirely created in Italy. Hand-dyed, hand-cut and hand-sewn. The dedication to quality is second to none. Allegra, how does an idea become a new collection and what is your design philosophy?
AM: It’s actually a very natural process. Beauty is not hard to find in Italy. You are surrounded by gems…in Architecture, Art, Design. Just by living here, you absorb much of what is needed to develop a beautiful product.
But personally, travelling is even more essential to the process: new places, different cultures and lifestyles are key for bringing in new ideas.
STIL: Your reputation is for effortless, luxurious and timeless pieces - for keeping things simple yet unique and with a 'less is more' philosophy - from where does your continued inspiration come?
AM: I find inspiration in everything around me, be it nature, art, movies, design…and from there I try to develop pieces that are useful, functional, and long lasting.
In terms of choosing what you live with, I am a great believer in quality over quantity and I don’t feel comfortable in a cluttered room.
STIL: Tell us about the Pyjamas - what makes them the perfect pair?
AM: The pyjamas, like many items from OM, are designed to be beautiful and practical at the same time. You would never want to take them off…and if you chose the right colour, you really don’t need to!
STIL: What home and lifestyle trends do you love most right now?
AM: I am in love with décor that mixes material in their most basic/raw form: brass, marble, and fabric. In particular, I find the use of these materials by Vincenzo De Cortiis very unique. He is my favourite interior designer at the moment.
STIL: What is the one piece of Once Milano that everyone should own?
AM: I cannot travel without my colourful linen pochette and weekend bag… they are the easiest match for almost any summer outfit!
STIL: Can you share with us any future plans for Once Milano?
AM: We have put many plans on hold during Covid and now we have so much on our plate!
To begin with…our comfortable clothing items are being included in a small collection for sunny holidays: our ‘Sun Collection’ will be out from the beginning of next year.
And we are also launching a Christmas Gift Box that includes perfumes for the linen. These are especially made for Once Milano with natural herbs by a company located in the mountains of the Veneto region (www.hobepergh.com )
STIL: How do you start your day?
AM: I start my day feeling as we all do first thing in the morning. Then I put on my elegantly cut linen Once Milano dressing gown, and it makes me feel ready for a good coffee and a good day!
STIL: Where was the last ‘place’ you discovered?
AM: I travelled around Mexico just before Covid and discovered places of incredible tradition and beauty…a church in San Juan Chamula in Chiapas was the one place that struck me the most.
STIL: What country have you always dreamed of travelling to?
AM: Vietnam and Japan, nature, and organised chaos.
STIL: Can I ask you which book you would read again?
AM: Marguerite Yourcenar ‘Memoirs of Hadrian’…I could just read it again and again and again.....
Allegra Marchiorello and her creations inspire me towards a touch of Italy in my own home. I dream of the tasselled bath towels in my bathroom - my breakfast table dressed with a luxurious linen runner and napkins. ( They require no ironing! ) Once Milano has a reputation for exquisite Italian simplicity and it affords us a chance to have a touch of the chic and understated Italian way of life.