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Rome’s coolest concept stores


Retail in Rome is being revitalised by a new wave of distinctly 21st-century concept stores. Hannah Lewis reveals some of the best

Hannah Lewis,

From emperors to artists, Rome has been home to some of the most important figures in history, and plays host to some of the world’s most striking architecture thanks to its rich cultural history. What makes the Italian capital all the more remarkable is that its phenomenal heritage exists happily alongside a truly contemporary cosmopolitan buzz. While the city’s history remains intact in the classical piazzas, the sprawling boulevards and extraordinary buildings, a current and progressive Rome is thriving – with fashion at the forefront.

New beginnings

Mikiway, an inviting, spacious store located on Via del Boschetto, is an example of how smaller, younger Italian brands are holding their ground alongside famous names. Local brands such as Solidea Battista and Aspesi sit happily on the rails alongside instantly recognisable brands such as Sonia by Sonia Rykiel and Jil Sander Navy. To create a consistent sense of identity, the team of young, local designers who worked on the store and assembled its furnishings thought out each detail meticulously. The result is a welcoming space, furnished entirely with recycled materials, that offers an expertly curated collection, carefully balanced between the fresh and the familiar.

The creatives behind Super on Via Leonina, described as a lifestyle store, are similarly focused on innovation. The collection at Super includes everything from men’s and women’s fashion and accessories to cosmetics, souvenirs and novelties. Each season the buyers research the best in new and exciting brands, styles and collaborations, from names as varied as Jeffrey Campbell, Savon de Marseille and Adidas SLVR. The store’s stark white space acts as a suitably minimal backdrop to the bold and visionary collections of Wood Wood, Henrik Vibskov and Minimarket. The footwear section is particularly eye-catching: Super’s speciality and a must-see for connoisseurs.

Living it up

Fleur Luxury Living, a temple of taste that offers womenswear, accessories, homeware and fragrances, takes a holistic approach to the idea of a lifestyle store. Located on Via Bocca di Leone, Fleur is a beautiful building filled with treasures. The many international brands on offer include No21, Paul & Joe, Victoria Beckham Denim and 5Preview and the store also holds a carefully curated selection of Italian designers. The homeware selection is eclectic and sophisticated, as is the décor of the store itself, from the fashion showrooms to the oyster and seafood bar, the florist to the cosy tea room. The aesthetic throughout is one of sophisticated modernity.

White out 

As the trend for concept stores grows, so does the scale on which they are presented. White Gallery, located in a stunning stone building in Piazza Guglielmo Marconi, is one of Rome’s biggest players, both in terms of vision and of sheer size. Its three floors and 5,000 square metres of space house one of the most comprehensive offerings of fashion, beauty, food and lifestyle goods in the whole of Rome.

The store is split into distinct areas and each space presents a facet of the overall aesthetic ideal, presented as though it were a store in its own right but without straying from the White Gallery philosophy. The womenswear department boasts a selection of Italian masters such as Armani, Missoni and Versace. Equally prestigious menswear brands are stocked, Dior and Z Zegna among them, while the accessories section is like a minimalist treasure trove, offering the best of a wide variety of labels from Bally to Chloé.

The sections for interiors, beauty, fragrance and food are as well-thought-out as the main fashion areas, making this an intelligent all-round lifestyle retail destination and an innovative, stylish rendering of the department-store approach. White Gallery is proving highly popular, not least because the extent of its offerings means that, although it has a clear identity of its own, the range of goods this encompasses offers something for every taste. Retail in Rome is changing and the scale and the success of this concept store proves it.

For more information about shopping in Rome, click here.

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