In April 2020, Luna Rossa will set sail as part of the America’s Cup World Series, as it vies for the world’s oldest trophy in international sport.
The Woolmark Company has worked with Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli to develop high-performance Merino wool garments ideal for the challenging conditions of the America’s Cup.
As the official technical partner, The Woolmark Company has supported the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli product development team to create wool-rich technical garments to be worn by the entire sailing team during training, sailing and offshore activities. This partnership highlights the strong link between the world of sport and the world’s original performance fibre - Merino wool.
"Our physical activity is very demanding in terms of clothing: the garments we wear must be as isothermal, elastic, breathable and water resistant as possible."
“Our physical activity is very demanding in terms of clothing: the garments we wear must be as isothermal, elastic, breathable and water resistant as possible,” says Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team Director Max Sirena. “Well, I discovered on my skin that Merino wool is all this. It really is a performance fibre, and besides that it is also absolutely sustainable and biodegradable. I must say that our new uniforms are a wonderful surprise that makes our body - and our spirit - feel good.”
As the world’s oldest fibre, wool is 100% natural, renewable, biodegradable and is the most reused, recycled apparel fibre on the planet. Moving away from uniforms made from synthetic fibres, the use of wool in the Luna Rossa team uniforms offers a natural solution with reduced environmental impact and will be tested by the best through this technical partnership.
The pinnacle of yachting, the first America’s Cup was contested in 1851 and in its 160+ year history has enchanted the world’s most famous and high-profile personalities and companies.
1851: THE LEGACY BEGINS
The America’s Cup, the pinnacle of yachting, was first contested in 1851 making it the oldest trophy in international sport, predating the modern Olympic Games by 45 years.
1870-1980: AMERICA UNDEFEATED
A 132-year winning stretch saw boats representing America successfully defend the trophy 24 times from 1870 through 1980.
1980: CHALLENGER SERIES
Without a doubt, the America’s Cup is the most difficult trophy in sport to win. In the more than 160 years since that first race off England, only four nations have won. In 1983 the Challenger Selection Series was introduced to develop and identify the strongest possible challenger for the America’s Cup and ensure that they were sufficiently battle-tested through tough competition to beat the Defender.
1983: AUSTRALIA SUCCEEDS
Australia was one of the challenging countries in 1983, and the ‘Men from Down Under’ brought a secret weapon. Australia II sported a boxing Kangaroo flag in the rigging as she was towed out to sea, and under the water, a radically-designed winged keel that gave the 12-Metre Class boat superior speed under most conditions. Australia II became the first successful challenger to lift the trophy from the Americans.
1997: PRADA LAUNCHES CHALLENGE
The Luna Rossa team was created in 1997 by Patrizio Bertelli under the name "Prada Challenge for America's Cup 2000”. At its debut the team immediately won the Challenger Selection Series and went on to challenge the Defender for the America's Cup.
2000: PRADA’S FUTURISTIC UNIFORMS
With understated, futuristic uniforms issued to the sailors on the Prada Challenge, the technical clothing, including custom-made foul-weather gear for heavy-weather days and form-fitting and tri-laminate Lycra-based spray shirts were sported in silver with a distinct red stripe featuring the Prada logo.
2013: LUNA ROSSA CHALLENGER
Luna Rossa subsequently participated in the 2003, 2007 and 2013 editions of America's Cup, qualifying for the final of the Challenger Selection Series three times out of four disputed America's Cup campaigns. The crew’s silver, aerodynamically designed uniforms resembled elegant space suits and visually synced with the beautiful styling of the Luna Rossa boat.
2017: HISTORIC RECORD SURPASSED
In 2017, Luna Rossa launched its sixth challenge in the America's Cup, surpassing Sir Thomas Lipton’s historical record of number of challenges.
2018: UNPRECENDENTED BOAT DESIGN
An exciting new class of boat, the AC75, a foiling monohull, the likes of which had never been seen before was announced along with the title event sponsor Prada, setting the foundations of an exciting event in 2021.
2019: PRADA X WOOLMARK
And just as the technical aspects of the boat have advanced, so too has the sailor’s technical clothing. Tested by the best, the performance benefits of Merino wool will combine with Prada’s iconic aesthetic to give the sailors from Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli the competitive edge.
The Luna Rossa team is the most respected team in the America’s Cup fraternity. It is the only team in the history of America’s Cup to have challenged six times. An extremely competitive and well renowned team, Luna Rossa was the winner of the Challengers’ Selection Series in 2000, was a finalist three times out of four challenges and includes some of the world’s highest talented sailors and designers.
“The partnership between the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli team and The Woolmark Company is based on a shared philosophy, inspired by innovation and technology, as well as research into new materials and social responsibility,” said Prada Group Head of Marketing and Communication Lorenzo Bertelli. “I am certain that having The Woolmark Company as technical partner will add even more prestige to the team.”
THE LUNA ROSSA PRADA CREW
"The America’s Cup has always symbolised the best of the best – from the best boats, to the best crews and now the best fibre."
“The America’s Cup has always symbolised the best of the best - from the best boats, to the best crews and now the best fibre,” explains Stuart McCullough Managing Director The Woolmark Company. “It’s the first time wool will take to the seas on such a large scale and allows us - along with Australia’s 60,000 woolgrowers - to see Australian wool used in such an innovative way.”
Photography: Marco Bertani
Luna Rossa Prada x Woolmark
In 2020, the first regatta of the America’s Cup World Series will take place in Cagliari, Italy. Additional World Series events will be held around the world in the lead up to Auckland, New Zealand, where in early 2021, the Prada Cup will decide the Challenger who will race in the 36th America’s Cup, presented by Prada, scheduled for March 2021.
World's first wind and water resistant wool
Using the latest OptimTM spinning techniques, The Woolmark Company, in partnership with The Nanshan Group, have created a 100% Australian Merino wool fabric that is resistant to both wind and rain. Neulana Protect delivers a unique, high-performance fabric that is ideal for outer-wear apparel.