I absolutely adore a good menswear-inspired, cotton button-down. I’m constantly on the hunt for new ones to add to my collection. Some of my most iconic fashion references include women like Diana Ross, Lauren Hutton, Sade, Angelica Houston, Jackie O, Lauren Bacall, Jane Birkin, Bianca Jagger and Jenna Lyons serving up serious amounts of inspiration in the evergreen wardrobe essential. Their timeless style has guided me in countless outfit decisions. Their contribution to modern dressing has had a global influence, and I constantly see many of the women that I shoot embrace menswear-inspired shirts in new and surprising ways. One of my recent favourites is the shirt worn back to front.
Always on my radar, I love the fact that over the past few seasons more brands have returned to, or are using cotton shirting fabrics not only for traditional shirts, but also for gorgeous statement tops, dresses, swimsuits, and even chic pajamas that are dreamed up for style adventures that play out during the day. Driven by how important the button-down and its numerous variations has become in women’s closets, the Albini Group, industry leader in cotton shirting fabrics, has expanded their offering, creating Albini Donna, a collection dedicated to women.
Founded in 1876, the Albini Group is a family lead business with its headquarters in Bergamo, Italy. For the past five generations, the Albini Group has made it its mission to create high-quality cotton fabric through constant research, design, innovation and expertise. This is a constant mission that guides all facets of its impressive 140-year-old enterprise.
I visited the head offices and factory in Bergamo a few times to prepare for this piece, and was impressed not only with the vast range of fabrics in the Albini archives as well as the sprawling facilities, but also with the company’s commitment to ethics and sustainability.
The extremely organized factory setting is a clear example of the intricate processes that go into producing the Albini fabrics. From, the machines that dye the threads, to the massive looms where they are woven, to the stations where the finished fabric is hand-examined for quality, the care that goes into realizing every inch of material is evident.
Some of the Albini Group policies that impress me the most are related to the values placed on people and the company’s directives aimed at sustaining the environment. The group emphasizes a strong interest in gender equality, multiculturalism and the family. Of nearly 1,400 employees worldwide, 49% are women with the presence of women in Italy at more than 60%. The Group also reports the presence of 27 different nationalities. In terms of sustainability, the Group is committed to the use of environmentally friendly production processes and alternative sources of energy, such as photovoltaic plants and wind farms. It has also reduced energy and water consumption and CO2 emissions through the installation of specially developed equipment.
Leader in the industry for menswear cotton shirting fabrics, with the Albini Donna Collection, the Albini Group is now focused on supplying designers with gorgeous fabrics that enhance the closets and lives of today’s modern woman. Women like you and me, who are on the go and are required to navigate intense days filled with family, work, various appointments, leisure activities and cultural engagements. As I mentioned above, the borrowed-from-the-boys, cotton button-down has evolved ten-fold over the years and now includes countless different variations of the original style. To achieve those styles, the Albini group are constantly developing new fabrications that allow that off-the-shoulder top to sit just perfectly, that maxi-dress to flow dreamily in the wind, and those culottes to scream “chicness heading your way” as they are worn down charming streets. Join me in discovering Albini Donna.
It all starts with a swatch of Albini Donna fabric.
In this image shot in the Albini Group archives, I wear a button-down made exclusively for this shoot with Albini Donna cotton fabric.
In this image shot in front of Bergamo Alto city wall, I wear a pair of culottes made from Albini Donna striped fabric.
In this image in front of the Tresoldi bakery in Bergamo Alta, I wear a robe made exclusively for this shoot from Albini Donna fabric.
Here I am touring around Bergamo Alta with a Vintage style Bianchi bicycle. My top is by Le Sarte Pettegole made from Albini Donna fabric.
In this snap I sit with one of the Albini group designers Fabrizio Merelli. I’m wearing a Ermanno Scervino tuxedo-inspired shirt made from Albini Donna fabric.
Would it be vain to say that I feel like a dream in this Thierry Colson dress in front of Santa Maria Maggiore? The dress is made from Albini Donna fabric.
Taking care of business in a Sara Roka skirt and a button-down by Le Sarte Pettegole, both made with Albini Donna fabric.
Aperol spritz time is always a good time at Casual of Bergamo Alta! Especially paired with this pretty asymmetric shoulder Sara Roka top made with Albini Donna fabric.
One of the most chic pieces of apparel ever imagined, the formal shirt dress as interpreted by Rossella Jardini in Albini Donna gingham.
Here’s a closer look at the Albini Donna fabrics featured in this post:
Images by Eleonora Adani.
Make-up by Manuel Montanari.
A special thank you to all of the Albini Group team.