MILAN — Aesop is taking the next step in its retail expansion in Italy. After opening the first Italian store in September in Milan’s Brera district, the Australian natural beauty brand, which was founded in Melbourne in 1987, has opened its second retail space in Milan in January.
Located in Via Meravigli 18, across from the historic Pasticceria Marchesi pastry shop, in which Prada took a majority stake in 2014, the nearly 376-square-foot space offers the brand’s complete range of hair-, skin- and body-care products. The interior concept was conceived in collaboration with Milanese design firm Dimore Studio, also behind the design of Boglioli’s Milan store and showroom, as well as Aesop’s Paris store in Saint-Sulpice.
As the brand’s first Milan location, the second store’s interior also pays homage to its neighborhood, using materials that are still common in shops in the area, such as shiny teal-colored subway tiles, gray linoleum-covered floors, yellow corner shelves and green product display cabinets. Two large disks with brass rods illuminate the space, which also features a stainless steel sink, a reference to traditional sinks used for food preparation.
“We design a project around the store, but at the same time we let it evolve, depending on what we find,” said Matteo Martignoni, country manager of Aesop, adding that the second store is a love declaration to Milan itself, “marrying intellectual references with inspiration from metropolitan environments.”
Instead of opening the second store in a new city, Aesop wanted to strengthen its presence in Milan, after the Brera store exceeded expectations, but also has its eyes on the Eternal City. “We are definitely looking at Rome as the next step in geographical development for Italy,” Martignoni said, adding that the company is scouting for a location close to Piazza di Spagna and plans to open in the first semester, followed by a second store before the end of the year.
Martignoni believes that after strengthening Milan and Rome, other cities will pop up on the radar, but also does not exclude the option of a third store in Milan. “Considering that Paris has seven stores and London nine stores, it makes sense,” he said.
He added that this could be on the brand’s agenda in the next two years, which is also open to a more unconventional retail space inside a museum or interior design project. “In New York, in Williamsburg [in Brooklyn], we opened a space inside ‘The Invisible Dog Art Center,’ and in the beginning it was meant to be a pop-up store for three months, but now it’s a permanent retail surface,” he noted.
Apart from its retail expansion, Aesop also has a new product launch in the pipeline, which will drop in May or June. The brand is introducing a revisit of its Petitgrain Body Gel with a new packaging and formula that contains fresh green oil extracts and is meant to be used after intense sun sessions.