They share a passion for flying, and that's how quickly they reached an agreement, "on the fly".
On the one hand, Sergio Loro Piana, patron of the cashmere clothing company of the same name looking to enter into the high-end of the eyeglass world, and on the other, Gianni Vetrini, CEO and partner of the Teramo-based Barberini company which had in its pocket the most advanced glass sunglass lenses in the world. «We created them specially for the 2008 World Gliding Championships in Rieti. Unfortunately, my pilot didn't win, so I was unable to launch this avant-garde technology in grand style».
Something that can be intuited from the name of the lenses themselves, N.P.E.L.P., acronym for Neodymium, Praseodymium, Erbium and Loro Piana. The first three are so-called "rare earths", chemical substances which, when introduced into the fusing of glass, are able to "regulate" and lessen the colors arriving at the pupil. But that's not all. These lenses are in optic glass («we remain the only Italian company which makes them and the only one in the world to have all manufacturing phases in-house, following last year's acquisition of the German company, Schott»), a completely natural raw material that only diamonds can scratch.
Another feature of the prototype presented by Vetrini to Loro Piana?"who wanted a completely green product?"is that the frames of My Sunglasses are in celluloid, made completely by hand and polished manually using wax and cotton pads. In addition, the lenses are polarized, which means they block 99.9% of reflected light.
All this is the basis of the exclusiveness of this product sold only in the 135 Loro Piana stores at 800 euros a pair, but it also means a new patent for Barberini. In which is condensed the entire philosophy of the company's founder, Pietro Barberini who, despite the arrival of resins in the 1980s, never gave up producing sunglasses out of glass. «We must thank above all Giorgio Armani for this,» says Vetrini, «because he was the first designer who wanted glass as the symbol of the quality of his sunglasses.»
In fact, Barberini produces for multinational optical companies, including Luxottica, Safilo, Vuarnet, Serengeti and Maui Jim. Last year, in total, 7 million pairs of lenses left the Silvi factory. «Our turnover was 62 million euros, plus Schott's 18 million,» Vetrini stresses, «while this year we expect to exceed 95 million. We have 415 employees in Italy and an additional 120 in Germany who work over four shifts, including Saturday and Sunday.»
The German company has become, in fact, a laboratory for innovation for the entire group which is constantly in search of innovative products. To once again take flight.