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MILAN — Italia Independent is set to hit the Alps.
This story first appeared in the December 8, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Following the opening of two doors in the beach holiday destinations of Alassio and Alessandria, Italy, the brand, founded by Fiat scion Lapo Elkann, is unveiling a boutique in chic Italian ski resort Courmayeur today.
Located on Via Roma, the picturesque town’s luxury shopping street, the one-story, 753-square-foot store was designed by Italia Independent’s longtime collaborator Renato Montagner. Innovative elements, such as glossy gold chairs and a table inspired by the original model of the Fiat 500 car, are paired with traditional alpine details, including wooden beams and white painted hatchets, which are used as hangers. In line with the spirit of the location, there is also a metal and fireproof-fabric changing room in the shape of a camping tent.
“When we open a new store, we want to respect the specific location and interact with it,” said Andrea Tessitore, co-founder and chief executive officer of Italia Independent. “As we do for our other two boutiques, we will create specific products — simple but instantly recognizable.”
The boutique will carry the entire range of Italia Independent products, from frames and helmets to apparel and accessories, including the new “Velvet Unique Edition” project, realized in collaboration with ToyWatch. Italia Independent and the Milan-based watchmaker joined forces to create a limited edition of 1,007 velvet boxes containing a pair of Italia Independent sunglasses and a ToyWatch timepiece, both in China blue velvet with silver details. The “Velvet Unique Edition” will be available in both brands’ boutiques and in selected opticians and fashion stores at a price of 247 euros, or $333 at the current exchange rate.
According to Tessitore, Italia Independent doubled its sales in 2011, generating 6 million euros, or $8 million, in wholesale revenues, with an earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization increase of between 10 and 15 percent.
Next year the company will unveil corners in 15 independent opticians, carrying a range of Italia Independent accessories, along with the frames.
In addition, among the brand’s goals, Tessitore mentioned a parallel development of both e-commerce and brick-and-mortar stores. “There is an incredible interest around the brand, and we aim to strengthen our international presence,” he said. “We plan to open a small store in New York within the first semester of 2012.” The company is also looking for a location in Milan.