“I consider this a laboratory to understand customers’ needs and it’s also a test for the launch of an innovative retail format, which is expected to be reproduced in both the stores we will open in the future and the corners and shops-in-shop developed by our international clients, especially in Asia,” said Fabio Gatto, who acquired Ballantyne from Charme Investments SCA fund last year. The operation was valued at 6 million euros, or about $6.7 billion at average exchange.
The 538-square-foot store, which doesn’t feature shopping windows, shows sophisticated decor with corduroy combined with glass and steel.
“The store will not only carry our collections but we will also develop exclusive partnerships with companies which are considered excellences in their businesses,” said Gatto, who, for the opening, teamed with Officina Profumo – Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella. The Florence-based luxurious beauty brand created a co-branded customized rose-based fragrance.
For the inauguration of the Milanese store, Ballantyne manufactured the Heritage Edition capsule collection. This will include intarsia sweaters — a twin-set for women and a men’s crew neck — where the brand’s iconic argyle motif is matched with images of roses and a fox.
Gatto also said that Ballantyne’s signature cashmere sweaters will come with special packaging including shampoo to wash the garment, as well as a comb to brush it.
“If this experiment is successful, we will start to replicate this retail model in the most important cities, including Rome, London and Paris,” said Gatto, who also pointed at Japan and Korea, as well as Russia and Germany, as the most important markets for the brand.
Ballantyne knitwear collections retail from 250 euros, or $280 at current exchange.