Nothing beats visiting a new city as the guest of a local and my three days in Torino, Italy with the very talented Marta Scarampi were too much fun. Marta invited me to Torino to co-design a capsule collection of capes for her beautiful brand I could not be more excited and honored by this opportunity. I first learned of MS almost two years ago, and I’ve loved getting to know the founders and philosophy behind this special brand. Between touring the mills where she sources her beautiful fabrics, to afternoons working in the atelier, to taking a break from the summer heat at Pepino (Marta’s favorite gelato spot) it was wonderful to blend a bit of work and play.
Torino was Italy’s first capital and is still Italy’s center of both innovation and conscious living, giving birth to the slow food and slow fashion movements. The Marta Scarampi brand was founded by Italian sisters Lucia and Marta Scarampi as an extension of the elegant city they grew up in. “In Torino you don’t need to search for great beauty, you just walk around and notice it immediately: the facades of the houses, the impeccable details, the enchanting courtyards as well as the historical gates, cafes & shops. We are committed to sharing that sense of elegance.” Just linger at a sidewalk cafe for a few minutes and you’ll see what they mean, Torino women have an effortlessness to them and this city is one of my favorite places to people watch.
We started the trip with a visit to Vasino Fabrics, one of Marta’s favorite mills which is run by a childhood friend Giovanni and his father. Marta had been sending me fabric swatches and discussing designs over FaceTime for several weeks leading up to this trip and now we just needed to finalize fabrics and create the samples. I loved leafing through Vasino’s archives (bound in massive books) for inspiration, and ended up selecting a plaid boucle inspired by a vintage Chanel fabric from the 80s. One exceptionally talented member of the Vasino team is in charge of reverse engineering the fabrics and often burns a corner of the sample to determine its fiber content so they can recreate it. Fascinating! With arms full of yardage we returned to Marta’s atelier. The showroom is tucked in a beautiful courtyard and we wandered in and got to work, placing patterns, deciding trims, button color and placement, pockets and more. Then, while Marta’s head seamstress Guilia got to work, we wandered out to take in the sights and stop for a gelato (at Pepino) and espresso (Mulafsano). Cocktails at Fico and dinner at Fra Diavolo were a fun way to end the day.
The next day was devoted to designing a blazer and cape combo using the archival boucle. In between fittings I popped out for a little vintage shopping at Elenab Vintage and Tratamenti Anlitario, where I had the loveliest conversation with the shop owner via google translate. Italians never fail to impress me with their warmth and hospitality, I just love this country so much.
Our second night in Torino we toured the original Eataly before heading up to Casa Vicina, a Michelin-starred restaurant on the top floor of sustainable shopping destination called the Green Pea. Chef Claudio Vicina invited us into the kitchen to learn to make agnolotti del plin, a local form of pasta, before sitting down to a spectacular dinner with countless courses (2 pastas, 3 desserts, but the bagna cauda da bere was a standout!)
On our final day in Torino we hopped in the car and drove out to Le Langhe, a wine region best known for barolo and barbaresco. We spent the day at Fontanafredda, an estate purchased by Victor Emmanuel II (the first king of Italy) who was instrumental in popularizing barolo. It was also the king’s favorite place to meet his favorite mistress, complete with secret tunnels that allowed him to sneak to her room undetected! We wandered through those very tunnels during our cellar tour, which was the perfect midday escape from the heat. A two hour lunch and another excursion into the kitchen at Guido Ristorante to watch the chef make the world’s most perfect gelato (see my Instagram highlight for the video!) rounded out our time in Le Langhe. When we left the winery I thought I wouldn’t need another meal for days, but Marta’s father had an incredible feast waiting for us when we got home, including my new favorite – lard with sea salt on toast (not joking!)
There is so much more to share and reveal about this collection but we started the project early this summer as we want to make sure you can receive your cape by early fall. A big part of Marta’s mission is to reduce waste as much as possible, so pre-ordering the cape allows Marta to purchase the exact amount of fabric that is needed to fulfill the orders.
Like all Marta Scarampi capes, our special collection pieces will be made by hand and shipped directly to you from Torino, Italy. Here’s a sneak peek of the first cape from the collection and be sure to sign up to be the first to see the rest of the collection and receive notifications of our August launch here.