Caerlee Mills Ltd.-Factory Shop
New president and CEO Massimiliano “Max” Zegna Baruffa plans to bring much needed energy to Scottish cashmere’s most luxurious label. Though the company’s new U.K. postal code–like name—J.J. & H.B. 1788 Cashmere Mills—is a bit of a hurdle, Baruffa’s otherwise spot-on instincts promise to restore luster to the label. While improving efficiency on the one hand, he is working to preserve the intensive handwork required for intarsia, a technique that has always set Ballantyne apart. Elaborate designs of roadsters, butterflies, polo players, and favorite hounds (Baruffa will soon be able to wear on his chest the Weimaraners he raises) are still produced using colored pencil and graph paper before being transferred to looms and handmade by artisans who apprentice for no less than two years. Experienced finishers simply sense how long to wash cashmere—from seven to 45 minutes—to achieve the softest and cleanest fibers. The number of things a computer cannot do may be the ticket to the Scottish cashmere industry’s future.
tours available through select hotels.