Last season the spinning division of Loro Piana introduced a yarn which brought together silk and steel. This season, in a range destined for summer 2002, the company has replaced the steel with copper and is now experimenting with the idea of marrying copper and cashmere. But blends of metallic yarns with noble natural fibres are only one of the innovative new directions in which this always influential Italian house is moving. In the same range Loro Piana offers a chunky cotton yarn encapsulated in a polyurethane 'jacket'; a knop embellished pure silk finished to give a linen-like handle; and a yarn for the knitwear trade processed entirely from paper.