MILAN — Italia Independent, the eyewear label founded in 2007 by Lapo Elkann, Andrea Tessitore and Giovanni Accongiagioco, is opening its first flagship here today.
Located in the courtyard of a building on Via Montenapoleone, the 646-square-foot space, designed by Renato Montagner’s Changedesign, features a new store concept. The ceiling is covered with a “cloud” of mirrored lenses and the wood floor shows a crystal inlay unveiling a plastic model of a racetrack with a Fiat 500 car. The range of Italia Independent sunglasses and optical frames are shown on high-tech metallic displays and the counter consists of the table created by Meritalia in collaboration with Elkann for the “Fiat 500 Design Collection.” Separated from the main room by a bronze mirrored wall is also a smaller space dedicated to ophthalmic services. RELATED STORY: Italia Independent Sales Soar >>
Although the store is mainly focused on eyewear, it will offer the limited-edition products realized in collaboration with other brands, such as the men’s down jacket that is part of a co-branded capsule collection recently launched by I-I and Colmar Originals. In addition, I-I chief executive officer Andrea Tessitore said the flagship will always exclusively carry a selection of limited-edition pieces, including bronze velvet sunglasses created for the store’s opening.
I-I also customized the interiors of the bar of Caffè Conti, a restaurant and lounge located in the same courtyard.
“The opening on Via Montenapoleone is a fundamental step for the brand and shows how we do things step by step, respecting the rules driving profitability,” said Tessitore, who founded the label in 2007 along with Elkann and Accongiagioco. “We are proud to be small. In our case, being a small company is not a limit, but it gives us the chance to be daring and different.” Tessitore said that the Milan unit is expected to reach break-even in one year.
In order to grow internationally and push the wholesale business, Tessitore said that the company aims to open flagships in Paris, New York and Miami. “We are looking for high-traffic locations, but not necessarily in the most luxury areas,” he said, citing for example Corso Buenos Aires in Milan, where the company might open a temporary store soon.
I-I has nine other stores in Italy, 36 shops-in-shop and sells its collections to 3,000 opticians and 180 fashion stores around the world.
The company is part of the namesake group, which also controls the Independent Ideas communication agency. In the first nine months of the year, group revenues increased 73.4 percent to 18.4 million euros, or $24.95 million, compared with the same period last year.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast