In 2015, Annarita Pilotti was named president of the Assocalzaturifici Italiani, the national association that represents the interests of Italian footwear brands. It was an historic decision, as Pilotti is the association’s first ever female president. For Pilotti, it was a prestigious and exciting recognition of the success and significance of Loriblu, the renowned luxury footwear brand of which she is CEO.
The brand’s beginnings
Loriblu was founded by Pilotti’s husband, Graziano Cuccù, in 1974. Cuccù, who is responsible for all of the brand’s designs to this day, had his first major success with the Mignon shoe. Launched in 1978, it sold over 110,000 pairs. The brand continued to grow, developing a strong reputation for quality and design in Italy and beyond. In 1996, Cuccù won the Scarpetta d’Oro award with a standout shoe realised in gold and zircons, cementing Loriblu’s reputation as a brand at the forefront of innovation and luxury in shoe design.
Though Pilotti only officially joined as CEO in 1994, she has been invested in her husband’s business since its inception, and has watched Loriblu grow from a small label into an international brand. The first monobrand boutique opened in 2009 on Rome’s famous Piazza di Spagna, and today Loriblu has 45 standalone stores across the world as well as countless stockists.
A close-knit team
Cuccù remains president, responsible for the design of every collection, while Pilotti as CEO is in charge of sales, marketing and communications. It is, she says, ‘a team effort’, and she takes care to recognise the input of every team member. ‘My husband Graziano coordinates a very close-knit team that thinks and realises each model,’ she explains. ‘With the marketing and sales team, I also offer suggestions on styling, colours, trends or structures that we consider strategically useful. The contribution of everyone and the final shared choice, after a very careful selection, permits the birth of the collection.’
A unique identity
The values on which Loriblu was founded have not changed since the company’s inception: reliability, service, quality, products that are 100% made in Italy, and great style. ‘Over time, our brand has carved out a distinct and unique identity,’ says Pilotti, and it is true that Loriblu has a strong customer base attracted by its signature style. For men, Loriblu offers styles that are classic but modern, while fashion-forward elements add interest. For women, the aesthetic is more individual and vibrant, but retains the classic shapes and lines of great Italian footwear.
An appreciation of major trends is one element that keeps clients coming back to Loriblu time and again; its seasonal collections are always highly fashion-forward. For spring/summer 2017, men should look out for velvet slippers embroidered with various flora and fauna. Standout heels from the women’s collection embrace the bold and juicy colours of the tropics. As well as seasonal collections, Loriblu’s creativity shines in its capsule collections, the avant-garde designs of which have taken inspiration from art, nature and haute couture. The brand also produces exquisite bridal shoes and luxurious groom’s shoes, and for its most exclusive clients it offers made-to-order shoes. These are distinctly opulent and Italian in style and can even be personalised.
Made in Italy
Loriblu produces 15,000 pairs of shoes every day, and every single one of these is crafted in the brand’s workshops in the Marche region, famous for its excellence in footwear. Le Marche is the region of the shoe, says Pilotti. ‘Our region has a history of entrepreneurs, artisans and experienced shoemakers whose roots go back decades,’ she explains. ‘We are not the only footwear district in Italy, but we are certainly the most important.’ Loriblu’s characteristic exemplary quality and attention to detail are made possible by its guarantee that all its footwear is made in Le Marche.
A leader in the field
Loriblu’s well-deserved reputation for great craftsmanship and design means the brand is in a position to collaborate with other leading firms, which has allowed for the creation of its latest big project: the Selene. The revolutionary shoe was created in collaboration with DreamLux, a fibre optics firm which has patented a fabric that glows in the dark, using LED lights. Classically elegant in the day, the Selene pump lights up in the evening, adding a truly unexpected element to any outfit. ‘Selene was the Greek goddess who personified the moon,’ explains Pilotti. ‘She appeared at sunset as the only light in the darkness, romantic and charming.’
A family business
For Pilotti, the proudest achievement so far is the international quality of Loriblu; the brand is known across the world as an ambassador of the high standards signified by the Made in Italy merchandise mark. And yet this success is all the result of something simple and traditional: a family business. Pilotti’s plan for the future is ‘above all to continue to work with passion together with my family. Our sons and daughters are increasingly present in the company. The generational change will be necessary, but I hope that Graziano and I can still be here with the same passion of our first 40 years.’