The world of Rubelli

Rubelli's elegant Milan HQ in the neoclassical Palazzo Greppi on Via San Maurilio. 

Rubelli's elegant Milan HQ in the neoclassical Palazzo Greppi on Via San Maurilio. 

Last week I spent two days in Milan immersed in the world of high end fabrics with Rubelli. The family-run Venetian textiles company was established in 1889 and is now run by fifth-generation Nicolò Rubelli.

I was there as part of a European press trip including British, French and German journalists for a party at the new showroom at via Fatebenefratelli, 9 and to visit the Rubelli mill in Cucciago, Como. The mill was bought in 1985 and has 28 (incredibly loud) jacquard machines producing over half a million metres of fabric a year. 

There are a few 18th century hand looms still in operation, but on a very limited basis with only one highly skilled - and irreplaceable - weaver. To the untrained eye the difference between hand and machine-made fabrics is hard to spot, but I'm told it's all in the feel.

The Italians have their priorities right. First food, then business. 

The Italians have their priorities right. First food, then business. 

We were given a presentation of the 2016 Rubelli Collection. High points: metallic yarns, velvety textures, bold florals in contemporary colours.

We were given a presentation of the 2016 Rubelli Collection. High points: metallic yarns, velvety textures, bold florals in contemporary colours.

Taking notes.

Taking notes.

The incredibly ornate Duomo di Milano.

The incredibly ornate Duomo di Milano.

They know how to shop in Milan, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.

They know how to shop in Milan, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.

Party at the Rubelli showroom.

Party at the Rubelli showroom.

Stunning yellows and greys: bold florals + contemporary colours.

Stunning yellows and greys: bold florals + contemporary colours.

This bucket chair is part of the new Rubelli furniture collection. 

This bucket chair is part of the new Rubelli furniture collection. 

Behind the scenes at the mill - take your pick from thousands of yarns.

Behind the scenes at the mill - take your pick from thousands of yarns.

The large and loud jacquard machines.

The large and loud jacquard machines.

The stuff of nightmares.

The stuff of nightmares.

Intricate machine-made patterns.

Intricate machine-made patterns.

From the machine age...

From the machine age...

... to the 18th century. Rubelli's last-remaining hand-loomer. 

... to the 18th century. Rubelli's last-remaining hand-loomer. 

The wonderful old fashioned jacquard pattern cards.

The wonderful old fashioned jacquard pattern cards.

Rubelli did the curtains for the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, an epic undertaking which was two years in development as they had to blend in fire retardant yarns with spun gold. 

Rubelli did the curtains for the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, an epic undertaking which was two years in development as they had to blend in fire retardant yarns with spun gold. 

The trip ended as it had begun, with food. Lunch at the fabulous Ristorante Alice.  I love Italians.  

The trip ended as it had begun, with food. Lunch at the fabulous Ristorante Alice

I love Italians.