Discover the homewares brand creating dreamy handmade linens with Italian flair
ONCE MILANO LINEN TABLECLOTH WITH FRINGE, £215 AT ONCEMILANO.COM
Linen: the fabric of the summer, certainly, but there’s a brand which makes the case for using this ancient and brilliantly sustainable fabric year-round, in every room in your home. Founded by friends Allegra Marchiorello and Valeria Piovesana Thompson in 2013, Once Milano has steadily established itself as the go-to homewares brand for understated luxury. From extraordinarily soft bedlinen to tablecloths, bath sheets and loungewear, every piece is handmade in Italy. And the best part? You can ditch the iron. We spoke to Allegra to find out more…
ONCE MILANO FOUNDERS VALERIA PIOVESANA THOMPSON (LEFT) AND ALLEGRA MARCHIORELLO
What are your backgrounds and what inspired you to set up Once Milano?
We both grew up just outside of Venice but met at law school in Strasbourg. Years later, I moved back to my family home with my husband and children. My area in Veneto in North East Italy is very much part of the textile industry so I was always able to find someone to make the items around my home exactly as I wanted them. Valeria would come and visit and she would see the various touches I had made and saw the potential for a wider appeal and a commercial market. That’s how Once Milano was born.
What is the Once Milano ethos?
When I get up in the morning I feel as we all do first thing in the morning. Then I put on my elegantly cut linen Once Milano dressing gown, and I feel more beautiful. These are ‘treats’ that everyone can enjoy; it’s about making the mundane daily routine effortlessly special. It makes you enjoy those everyday moments more – like going to bed, a brief breakfast, a casual dinner. Without wanting to get too philosophical about a napkin, if I make a little more effort with setting the table for breakfast it isn’t superficial – it makes a profound difference to my day.
We want Once Milano to make you feel that your life is being lived beautifully. The items are all designed to be beautiful and practical. We love playing with colour and texture but the reason for all of this thought and effort is that no matter what else is going on in your life, a little touch of beautiful linen can make it feel that little bit better.
A SELECTION OF ONCE MILANO TABLEWARE AND BATH LINEN, ALL AVAILABLE AT ONCEMILANO.COM
Where are your pieces made?
We produce in Veneto and source our raw materials from Veneto and Lombardy. We produce, very locally! The whole reason we can do what we do is because of all the different crafts people and specialists in my area. I can pretty much always narrow it down to one of two people who would have handmade any item a client receives.
How have your experiences in your own homes influenced the way you design your pieces for Once Milano?
A beautiful home is rarely an accident, it requires some thought and effort. Both Valeria and I have children, as well as large extended families. Once Milano items are intended to be enjoyed by everyone, not to mention go in the washing machine and not require ironing. In my opinion, beauty is at its best when it is practical. Our items may look simple, but there is attention to detail and everything has to be right – the quality of the linen, the tone of the colour and the finishing.
PIECES FROM THE ONCE MILANO X PETER PILOTTO COLLABORATION, AVAILABLE AT MATCHESFASHION.COM
What is your advice for creating a a beautiful and inviting home?
I think a beautiful and inviting home is one that is tailored to your moment in life and how you want to enjoy it. A functional home when you have small kids is essential. It doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful as well but I never wanted to be too anxious about my home. In terms of choosing what you live with, I am a great believer in quality over quantity and I don’t feel comfortable in a cluttered room. Personally, I find a home with a few chosen pieces you love is so much more relaxing to be in and enjoy than a crowded room with lots of objects.