Courtesy of Faraone Mennella
The questions came quickly following the death of jeweler Roberto Faraone Mennella, from cancer, at 48 years old. “Are you going to close? How are you going to continue? And they came, says Amedeo Scognamiglio, his partner in life and business, “from everyone. And I understand. I always wanted Roberto to be at the center of the brand and in the spotlight, but we worked it all together. The case could continue, but how?
Faraone Mennella, the jewelry brand childhood friends established together in 2001, was a collaboration that would create some of the most recognized pieces of the era, including the famous Stella gold link earrings. through Sex and the city. The brand has a few stores around the world, all designed by Roberto, but the store at the heart of the story is Via Fuorlovado in Capri.
The island is where the two men, known to many in jewelry circles as “the boys,” held their annual July 4th party and spent time with their fiercely loyal customers. “Seeing Roberto and Amedeo in Capri was like seeing friends with whom you pick up where you left off, no matter how much time has passed,” says philanthropist and entrepreneur Hope Smith. “We were going for morning hikes, swimming in the sea, taking boats to unfamiliar restaurants.” Hospitality was as important as aesthetics.
But the aesthetic, in the jewelry and store design, was strong and clear: a palette of pale grays and whites, a tasteful chandelier, and jewelry, both yellow gold and colorful cabochons, displayed with love in circular display cases. “I was afraid to change anything, for sentimental reasons,” Scognamiglio says. “But during the confinement, I spent time with our friend the architect Marialaura Rossiello Irvine, who had had an experience similar to the death of her husband. At first, she too was afraid to touch Roberto’s work, but she knew that if we didn’t, it would turn into a mausoleum. If I were to continue, it would have to be an evolution. It couldn’t stop the moment Roberto died.
The duo worked together to keep Faraone Mennella’s spirit alive while allowing her to grow. The pale gray details have turned to light blue. Rossiello Irvine has designed a new mosaic reminiscent of the Amalfi Coast trails to use everywhere. In many ways, the changes are subtle, with the exception of one: the light installation in the window. “My dream
was to make the iconic Stella earring, ”says Scognamiglio,“ so Marialaura said, ‘Let’s make it a giant light. ”
According to Scognamiglio, two days before his death, his partner was wondering if people really understood what they had done with the jewelry. “For some reason, he felt like no one had noticed him. It’s my way of making him understand that it didn’t happen, ”he says. “We made some unique pieces, million dollar tiaras and necklaces, but maybe we were hesitant to express our heart. This earring made us who we are. I still see women walking on Capri with the Stella earrings and necklace they bought years ago.
And the jewelry will keep coming. Scognamiglio will focus on their iconic gold coins and use the treasure trove of designs left by Roberto to create new ones. A documentary is also in the works to tell their story, which features a series of chance encounters – with Neiman Marcus, with Patricia Field – that don’t seem possible in today’s environment. There will also be a party in Capri. Full Disclosure: I’ll be there, wearing the Stella earrings that I bought 15 years ago from Nina Griscom’s store on Lexington Avenue and put on soon after to have dinner with “the boys.” .
You see, there’s a quote from me about Roberto in the store window in Capri. I hope that one day you can come and read it.
This story appears in the November 2021 issue of City Country.
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