Italian childrenswear brand Monnalisa is known for its unique combination of innovative ideas, focus on new markets, and original styling and designs. Romantic style and attention to detail set Monnalisa apart. The brand, which is distributed in 64 countries, offers unique collections for girls and boys up to the age of 16; alongside the Monnalisa label for children aged between two and 12 are Monnalisa Bebé, Chic Monnalisa, Monnalisa Couture, Monnalisa Fun, Jakioo and Hitch-hiker. Barbara Bertocci, Monnalisa’s designer and creative director, tells Ximena Daneri more about the brand.
‘My husband Piero [Iacomoni] founded the company in 1968. The company has been an ambitious project from the very beginning, starting with its name, inspired by da Vinci’s masterpiece. My debut as the creative director made the product the main focus for us. The dresses I started to design have a soul, and were immediately received with warmth and interest by the market. I am very grateful to all the little girls that I have dressed and all the mothers who continue to choose our clothing.
‘Our stores have a very romantic calling. They greet the clientele with soft music, soft, scrolled furniture, resin floors, chandeliers. This is the perfect ambience for our collections. Our little guests feel at home here, in their dream room. Our first store on Milan’s Via della Spiga opened in 2006, with a relocation to the present boutique at number 52 in 2009.
‘We are a well-structured company. The look and feel of our stores – flooring, colours and furnishings – is very important and I personally maintain an active role of supervising the aesthetic choices. Once approved, they are deployed in all our stores in the world. We have recently installed a stunning new floor, with roses, my favourite flowers, crystallised in the resin. This romantic new floor is gradually being substituted for our traditional black and white checks.
‘All the store sites are selected according to specific criteria; they have to be in the most important shopping streets. We prefer historic buildings which have structures and ceilings with a certain character and history – Via della Spiga is one of the most elegant streets in the world, it is so important to be present here.
‘In this flagship store, clients can use an iPad to consult the catalogue and verify the stock in store. The spaces allow us to include a selection of furniture from our Living collection [antique-style furniture by Savio Firmino]. The special structure of this boutique, with a small, intimate parlour, works really well for the Bebé collection, dedicated to younger girls from three to 36 months.
‘Over the past years, we have grown, both in our range of products, and in our presence in retail stores. We launched a handbag line, which is my passion: the Petite B – B for bags, but also my initial. We have also launched Monnalisa Forever, a delicate capsule collection of similar dresses for mothers and daughters, dedicated to mothers who wish to be in tune with their daughters.
‘This season, I am particularly proud of our Couture line. The dresses of the Couture line have a timeless charm: a few pieces, produced with wisdom and craftsmanship for special occasions, to be kept and passed down. For our brand’s future, the keywords are retail expansion and multichannelling.
‘In terms of shopping in Milan, you shouldn’t miss an appointment at Antonia’s, which has an excellent brand mix and many limited editions.’
Monnalisa, Via della Spiga 52, 20121 Milan, +39 02 7634 1243