By Caroline Biggs

Published on June 8, 2015

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Photography by Brittany Ambridge

domino gets schooled in the fashioning of fine Italian bedding.

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cream of the crop

For more than a century, Pratesi has served as the gold standard of elite linens. In 1906, Remigio Pratesi set up shop in the Tuscan town of Vinci, creating exquisitely handmade bedclothes by reclaiming time-honored traditions of tailoring and embroidery. Today, the company has a global reputation, with brick-and-mortar shops located throughout the world. From the beginning, Pratesi has been a family business. And now, three generations later, Remigio’s great-grandson Federico and his wife, Gaia, oversee the company’s creative headquarters outside Florence. There, a devoted staff of designers, weavers, and embroiderers crafts linens like haute couture—by hand, and with a level of care that’s not of this century. “Our in-house artists operate with the full support of our family,” says Gaia. “When I work with them, it’s very clear to me what our company’s greatest asset is.”

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the process

Gaia Pratesi gives us a guided tour!

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1

The process begins in Pratesi’s Creation Department, where the components of each pattern are hand-sketched and painted by designers such as Lucilla.

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2

Those illustrations are then artfully pieced together to create unique designs.

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3

Next, individual silk screens are created for each color represented in a design. When printing begins, every screen is meticulously registered by the millimeter (by Fabio, head of the printing department) to ensure consistency.

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4

During the screen-printing process, colors are applied by hand, one at a time.

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5

Once each color is printed and has dried, the fabric is carefully checked, yard by yard, for textural flaws or defects.

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6

Once each color is printed and has dried, the fabric is carefully checked, yard by yard, for textural flaws or defects.

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7

Other pieces are scalloped by Ornella, who wears protective iron gloves while operating the cutting machine.

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8

Next, each piece is finished according to design specifications. In some cases, the fabric is meticulously embroidered.

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9

Here, Donata (an artisanal tulle cutter) trims lace with a laser.

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10

Finally, the finished designs are ironed by hand and readied for Pratesi’s discerning clientele.

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Vivaio sham

, pratesi.com