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MILAN — Rodo’s first boutique opens today in Milan with a cocktail gathering that kicks off fashion week events.
This story first appeared in the February 22, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
With its magnolia eco-leather padded walls, herringbone wood floors and a suspended crystal staircase, the store is a sleek backdrop for Rodo’s handmade and artfully crafted bags and shoes. “It’s the perfect window to contextualize our product and what we’ve always desired,” said chief executive officer Gianni Dori of the venue, located in Milan’s central Corso Matteotti, a stone’s throw away from Via Montenapoleone.
His father, Romualdo Dori, whose initial syllables form the brand’s moniker, founded the company in 1956, and Rodo continues to pride itself in the artisanal quality of its products, made in Italy’s Marche region. The brand’s precious metal or crystal embellished clutches and sandals have been spotted on celebrities including Kate Winslet, Cate Blanchett, Beyoncé Knowles and Jessica Alba.
“It’s fundamental for the store to exalt the exclusive quality and manual craftsmanship of our products,” explained Dori.
The opening takes place as Rodo posted 26 percent growth in revenues last year, reaching 9 million euros, or $12.5 million at average exchange rates. Despite the challenging economy in Italy, Dori said it was essential for an Italian company to have exposure in a city as relevant in fashion as Milan. The executive said he was “very positive and confident” about future prospects. The company is negotiating the opening of stores in Shanghai and Beijing by the end of the year, and plans to invest in additional banners in Asia over the next three years, in countries such as Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam.
For the opening of the Milan boutique, Rodo redesigned a 1971 handbag to create 15 limited edition Milano bags in shiny kidskin and golden handles that retail for 790 euros, or $1,044 at current exchange.
The family-owned brand, originally known for its wicker baskets, is designed by Dori’s brother, Maurizio, who is now assisted by his daughter Martina.