MILAN — When Pineider, the historic Italian paper and pen company, asked Rebecca Moses to create a lifestyle collection for the centuries-old brand, the designer wanted to do much more than just flatware and cashmere throws. She wanted to translate the art of writing into the art of living, and she succeeded this week when the new Pineider flagship was unveiled here.
This story first appeared in the October 2, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
In a little less than three months, Moses converted the store into an eclectic, airy boutique than seems more like an elegant town house than a retail space. Every floor is done up as though a family — albeit a very chic family — lived there. “We wanted to create little rooms, little niches, where people could come and touch and really feel the products,” Moses said during a walk-through of the store on the Via Manzoni.
Feel you will. There are some 500 products, such as leather-bound photo albums trimmed in guinea feathers, burled wood boxes, wicker and leather baskets, leather bucket bags with contrast trim and hand-etched glass vases. The store offers a bit of everything and everything in it is for sale, including the furniture. “This wasn’t about fashion,” said Moses, who has become a darling among retailers for her colorful knits. “It’s broad scope. I wanted to preserve the tradition of Pineider but move it forward and make it modern.”
Moses worked with architect Luca Piatti to render what she called a “very human space” that’s part Art Deco and part English country. From the window displays — a woman in a white-paper wedding dress and a man writing at a desk — to the third-floor men’s bedroom, the store subtly connects Pineider’s precious papers to Moses’ welcoming vision of life.
A winding staircase leads to the second-floor sitting-dining area, decorated with light green, velvet tufted slipper chairs and a white-washed wood table. Colorful glass snifters, seashell topiaries and vintage lithographs complete the room. Off the corner is the woman’s boudoir, replete with a mirrored vanity table, pink velvet chaise longue and leather and feather slippers. You could just see Marlene Dietrich stretched out there sipping champagne.
The Milan store is the first in a series of rollouts of Pineider’s new retail concept. Openings are slated in Florence and Turin later this month, and on October 26, Moses will make a personal appearance at Bergdorf Goodman in New York to officially launch the home collection.
Moses has a five-year contract with Pineider’s parent company, the Hopa Group, but industry sources say Hopa is looking to make the relationship permanent. A source close to Moses said Hopa is in talks to buy Moses’ eponymous company. The designer owns 49 percent of it, and the Italian manufacturer Herno owns the remainder.