VENICE — Silvio Campara certainly thinks big. And as often happens with individuals with grand ambitions, he’s also focused on trying to anticipate the future.
As a result, the chief executive officer of Golden Goose, who was in Venice on Monday to celebrate the brand’s 20th anniversary with its first big event since it was founded, wanted to disrupt the traditional retail experience in one of his most established meccas, Milan’s Golden Triangle.
Golden Goose has just opened its first outpost in the city’s luxury shopping area, occupying a corner unit that previously housed the Alexander McQueen flagship.
“We never really wanted to open there because our brand philosophy has always been kind of against the idea of fashion establishment, so when we got this opportunity we started thinking about creating something very different from a traditional shop,” Campara said during an interview in the garden of a luxury hotel facing the Venetian lagoon. “After inventing the concept of co-creation of products, we wanted to take a further step, considering the fact that today brands can succeed where politics and [regional legislation] are failing: they actually have the opportunity to highlight and embed those values people want to stand for, above and beyond the mere idea of product.”
From this perspective, Golden Goose opened at the corner of Via Verri and Via San Pietro all’Orto the first Golden TV, which Campara described as “a place to create conversations.” In the CEO’s vision, the concept of building a conversation with consumers is replacing that of communicating to the public, and “at the same time, customization is going to be replaced by personalization, as an act of empowering the consumer to create following one’s own emotions.”
Golden TV, whose name refers “to MTV, an icon of the ’90s that had a profound impact on several generations transporting people in different dimensions,” as Campara explained, doesn’t only feature areas dedicated to customization with artisans at the disposal of consumers to create their own pieces — from sneakers to biker jackets — but it is also a hub for content creation.
In particular, the Dream Wall, a technologically advanced interactive station, will give consumers the chance to digitally conceive their own one-of-a-kind pieces before turning the virtual project into physical products thanks to the artisans. Enhancing the experience, the co-creation process is filmed and sent to consumers, who can share the films through their devices.
At the same time, they also have access to the Your Story, Our Story recording station where they can document their journey with the brand, creating exclusive filmed content they can share on their social media. “Golden Goose’s success has been built by word-of-mouth and this is a way of digitalizing the word-of-mouth,” Campara explained.
Golden TV, which spans over two floors connected by the original staircase designed by Alexander McQueen for the store — a plaque in his memory has been placed inside the shop — for the first time carries all the brand’s categories in a space that celebrates both artisanal tradition and the label’s industrial inspiration.
Along with Golden Goose’s popular sneakers, which are all handmade and require between four and five hours to be completed — Golden TV offers a wide ready-to-wear offering, along with new categories, including sunglasses and fragrances.
Instead of developing licensees, Campara decided to rely on partners to create the new products. For sunglasses, Golden Goose teamed with a Verona-based start-up that realized high-end acetate frames that can be personalized with engravings on the temples. For fragrances, the brand collaborated with Italian specialist ICR to realize scents that come in a glass packaging that can be reused as flower vases. Each unit is bottled inside the store for a unique shopping experience.
The link between history and the future guided the conception of “From Venice to Venice,” the event held Monday evening in the Italian city in conjunction with the Venice Film Festival, which connected Golden Goose’s original inspiration rooted in a street aesthetic influenced by Venice Beach’s skater world with the eternal appeal of a city like Venice.
Installing an impressive skate bowl on a raft just offshore from Venice’s San Giorgio island, the brand invited Californian skater Cory Juneau, who last month won the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games, to stage a special performance to the tune of electronic music played by DJ Brina Knauss. Juneau participated at the Olympics wearing a pair of Golden Goose sneakers.
“One of the great things about this collaboration with Cory is that it was him coming to us asking to do some sort of partnership, since he is obsessed with Golden Goose,” Campara said. “We love his spirit, it’s very in line with our brand’s philosophy.”
A 22-year-old from San Diego, Juneau had the chance to travel to Italy for the first time thanks to Golden Goose. “I’m so excited since this is one of the most beautiful places on earth,” said the skater, who will make a quick stop in Milan before heading to New York. Juneau described as “surreal” the experience of winning a medal at the Olympics. “Skating originated in San Diego, the city where I was born, and I’m so proud to bring a medal home,” he admitted, adding that even if “I’ll skate for the rest of my life,” he is also keen to experiment in different fields, including filming and art.
After Juneau’s spectacular performance at the skate bowl, which will be relocated to Marghera, a stone’s throw from Venice with the ambition of creating Italy’s biggest skating hub, Golden Goose hosted a dinner at one of Venice’s oldest palaces, Ca’ da Mosto, which was bought by one of the brand’s founders, Alessandro Gallo, who is currently converting it into a hotel.
In addition to the dinner, there was a live acoustic performance by Bulgarian princess and rising musician Mafalda, who in April released her latest EP, “Bailando Sin Sentido.” Mafalda, who lives between Madrid and New York, revealed she will perform at the international music festival Primavera Sound in Barcelona next summer.