MILAN — American jewelry brand Ippolita is opening its first boutique in Europe, located on Milan’s luxury shopping street, Via Montenapoleone, which will be officially unveiled today.
“I’m so happy to find my roots here in Italy after creating my brand in the United States,” said Florence-born artist and designer Ippolita Rostagno.
Rostagno founded her brand in the United States, launching her first pieces at Bergdorf Goodman, then grew with a presence in major department stores including Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, and built a cult following through word of mouth ranging from Jennifer Lopez and Kate Hudson to Cameron Diaz and Uma Thurman.
With a background in sculpture, Rostagno developed her first jewelry using slabs of wax pressed onto different parts of her body, then gently hammered and formed into handcrafted gold pieces.
Reflecting his artistic experience and sensibility, the Milan boutique looks more like an exhibition space than a traditional jewelry store. In addition to his own bronze or glass sculptures, the shop features pieces from Rostagno’s personal collection, such as legendary jewelry by the late designer Bruno Martinazzi or French artist Pol Bury.
Covering 1,620 square feet on two levels, the store has an entrance also on Via Bigli, passing through a typical Milanese courtyard of the 19th century Palazzo Gavazzi. Rostagno redesigned the space in collaboration with architect Gianluca Geraci emphasizing a play of lights and curved walls – a magnificent Murano glass chandelier one of the key elements.
The designer insisted there should be no glass between the customer and jewelry displays, in an evolution of the “open sale” retail concept that removes traditional physical barriers, which “don’t do not allow customers to emotionally interact with the jewellery”.
Indeed, touch is a strong sense for Rostagno as she gave WWD a tour of the store, frequently holding the jewelry to assess the lightness and softness of the gold pieces, as well as the beauty of the items on both sides. “The back is just as important as the front,” she said, also emphasizing how the irregularities of the stones and the asymmetrical cuts are qualities in her mind.
Made from 18k gold, the jewelry is designed to be easily worn every day, not just on special occasions, and purchased by women for themselves.
“We see Italy as a key location for the brand’s expansion in Europe,” said Managing Director Alberto D’Agnano. Present in the United States since 1999, the market “has been consolidated”, now allowing “to open up strategically in Italy, with a focus on Milan”.
There are two Ippolita stores, on Madison Avenue in New York and on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, the latter having opened in November 2020.
The brand is also available online, which has seen a dramatic increase in sales throughout the pandemic. Price doesn’t seem to be an issue as one of Ippolita’s bestsellers is a diamond ring that retails for $12,000, Rostagno noted.
A strong supporter of Italian craftsmanship, Rostagno founded Artemest.com in 2014, a marketplace that promotes high-level Italian handicrafts.