Wednesday, 11 July : Rosita and Paola have a company in Prato, an old town near to Florence. They produce our Gold Label. The company is a studio which does more than manufacture and dispatch but helps from the start of the collection, e.g. helping us source and develop fabrics and yarns and we work step by step with them through our assistants, sending emails and patterns and samples to be copied.
It is obviously efficient for Andreas and me to go there personally for a few days. We get so much done face to face.
We have worked with these two women for around 20 years and they have become our dear friends.
We arranged to work either side of the weekend and to visit Lucca together on the weekend. By the time we left on Tuesday evening we had made so many of the small decisions that pin down a collection and I now feel that I have grasped the identity of the collection.
Paola comes from Lucca and though it is only a half hour drive from Prato I had never visited. We all stayed in an apartment in Palazzo Pfanner belonging to a friend of Paola’s brother, Alfredo, who still lives in Lucca.
Lucca was once the capital of Tuscany until in the 15th century Florence took control. Lucca is the only medieval town preserved intact because it is enclosed and protected by a great wall built in the 16th and 17th centuries. For this reason, many Lucchesi have settled the world, looking for wider horizons and work. In the 1970’s Prince Charles made a documentary and since then the tourists have come but the town stays sleepy nevertheless.
Lucca sits in the middle of a flat area (once marsh), surrounded by the Tuscan hills. Many English have come to live in the palaces and houses in the countryside between the city walls and the hills.
It really was beautiful. Paola guided us through the narrow streets, against the old walls of the houses. She showed us her old school and house. The churches’ interiors did not beautify themselves with added pomp and splendour; it is the church itself which is important, the experience of entering the church itself - the sparse clarity, would be difficult to convey in a photograph. Andreas, who has loved churches since he was a tiny boy, had never seen the like before; he described them as “shockingly elegant”. You’re going to have to go and see them for yourself.
Tuesday, 12 July: When we left Prato the temperature was 36 degrees. When we got home the weeks of rain still continued and we had to put on the central heating. In America, this year has been the hottest on record since records began in the 19th century and in the last 12 years, 10 have been the hottest on record worldwide.
The Met Office says that climate change may be the cause of the extreme weather conditions. If climate change may be the cause, why aren’t we doing something about it? If we don’t, then the catastrophe we face will be unprecedented. The only other event of such devastating consequence that people can think of is when the dinosaurs disappeared. It’s time to call the bluff: all politicians are criminals and too cowardly to face reality, especially the creep, Obama; deceiving us for their own political ends which is to service the corporations which are carving up our planet using taxpayers money.
We do not have a democracy – elected governments do not care for the people who elected them: we have a plutocracy and the plutocrats are maniacs.