Luciano Soprani was an anomaly in the world of fashion, having been born in the underprivileged Po region and studied agriculture to continue the family farming tradition. He “suffered atrociously” while doing so, and after a year and a half, he wrote a letter to Max Mara declaring his desire to leave farming for design, though not knowing the first thing about fashion. Surprisingly, he was given an appointment, some paper and pencils, and instructed to make a few sketches. He made forty, and was immediately hired.
Eight years at Max Mara saw him rise from assistant to head designer for Sportmax. He eventually started his own line, as well as designing for Gucci and others. He also tried his hand at costume design, and notably Wild Orchid. Insatiably curious, he travelled around the world, eating crocodile tails in the Amazon and listening to local folk music. He soaked up inspiration for his design from all sources, but remained modest about his professional success. “I don’t sell diamonds”, said the farmer, “ but I don’t pretend to.”