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Men'sWeek issue 04/25/2013

The impetus behind Ippolita’s first men’s collection was to create jewelry for the guy who wasn’t being served by the current market.

This story first appeared in the April 25, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Ippolita chief executive officer Joe Cavalcante and founder and designer Ippolita Rostagno — who both found the majority of men’s offerings either too chunky or too “rock ’n’ roll” — are looking to address this void with the brand’s premiere 25-piece collection that hit stores in mid-May. In addition to its store that opened on Madison Avenue in New York last September and, the line will be carried at Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman.

“We are thinking a ‘Mad Men’ [feel], a cleaner look for men’s jewelry and that really isn’t out there on the market. We saw the need for more tailored, sophisticated fine jewelry for men,” Cavalcante told WWD. He noted that this was also the thinking that precipitated the original women’s and overall brand launch by Rostagno in 1999.

Containing a mix of 18-karat gold and sterling silver, prices range from $195 for a hammered silver ring to $3,995 for a gold link bracelet. There are thin leather wrap bracelets with toggle or hook closures that retail from $295 to $995, as well as chain-link bracelets in varying sizes. Cuff links are a key component of the line, and styles range from a $325 minimal silver wavy disc all the way to $3,495 for a pair containing the brand’s signature Lollipop gemstones — rutilated hematite, cognac citrine, brown shell or mother of pearl — set in 18-karat gold with pavé diamonds.

Rostagno explained that men connect with stories, and they’ve historically gravitated towards timepieces because there’s always a story about the mechanisms. For her, this element of “design interest” was integral when developing the collection, meaning that each piece has some characteristic worth investigating or talking about.

“A detail some of the pieces have is black diamonds on the side so that they are kind of hidden. It’s a little moment of discovery. Men want something decorative, but not in your face. They appreciate that there are diamonds, but you sort of have to look and discover them. It feels more sophisticated.”

Cavalcante projects that men’s will eventually comprise 10 percent of the overall business.