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A crown jewel of bohemian glamour since 1965, Hotel Il Pellicano is the Italian hideaway that bygone-era dreams are made of. Creative director and architect Marie-Louise Scio is responsible for keeping the dream alive, overseeing every detail of her parents’ legendary property on the Tuscan coast as well as Mezzatorre Hotel in Ischia, La Posta Vecchia Hotel in Lazio and a score of design projects. Her latest creation is Issimo, an e-commerce platform that brings a bit of the Tyhrrenian breeze to your own home.
Scio’s wanderlust-worthy world of style, food and travel features an eclectic selection of everything from the best pasta to porcelain, tiles, sweaters and scarves. Paired with editorial features and guides to the good life, it’s enough to make every Italophile swoon. Just like Pellicano Hotels, Issimo is where you’ll find Italy’s most stylish artisans and polished creatives––and, best of all, you can access it any time.
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“The goal is to help people discover, from the artist Bruno Munari to the perfect travel coat by Rome-based brand Giulivia,” says Scio, whose curiosity leads her around the world to uncover artisans. “Issimo invites those who can’t make it to Il Pellicano to experience our maniacal level of creating and taking care.” This attention to detail, and a sense of sheer joy, is clear with one glance at Issimo. “All of the work comes from a place of deep passion,” she explains. “I design everything at the hotels, from the tiles up, and I wanted to put this together in one place online.”
Designed after a vintage Italian newspaper, Issimo feels intimate and personal, despite being digital––a testament to Italy in 2020, where authenticity and relationship-driven commerce endure. All products pay homage to Pellicano Hotels’ ethos: thoughtfully made, mainly in Italy, with an unmistakable aura of la dolce vita. Most pieces are lifted from the hotels themselves, from the block-printed pillows and porcelain festooned with Il Pellicano’s bougainvilleas to pajamas featuring the yellow and white stripes of its famed beach towels to the same hand-painted tiles that line the hotel interiors.
The mix of makers is as A-list as the hotel regulars: custom Lisa Corti textiles, Dedar fabrics, Villeroy & Boch porcelain (Bellisssimo!), Les Belles Heures’ cabana-stripe scarves and coveted Il Pellicano ashtrays (Chichissimo!), Bruno Munari t-shirts (Coltissimo!), Pasta Mancini (Buonissimo!), Borsalino and Giuliva Heritage (Dall’Italia con Amore!) Brands old and new sit together naturally, painting a comprehensive picture of Italian style’s greatest hits.
Though the platform was in the works before the pandemic effectively put hospitality on pause, Issimo is a leading example of hotels expanding into retail during this challenging period. E-commerce offers a revenue source at a time when guest capacity and travel are limited––and, for those of us who are homebound, affords a bit of armchair travel when jetting off isn’t an option. Like any element of the most thoughtful hotels, success relies upon a certain personal touch—like Scio’s sun-kissed charm, which Issimo exudes. Without this, good design and curated products can quickly fall flat.
Hotel shops of glass cases filled with stale luxury items are becoming a thing of the past as many boutique hotels have reinvented their stores, and attitudes, for today. In New York, The Standard Hotel was one of the first to create a hotel shop filled with modernist collaborations, followed by The NoMad Hotel’s Maison Kitsuné boutique whose Parisian cool-kid flair brought an instant appeal. Most visitors to jungle-chic Coqui Coqui in Tulum, Mexico will commend the hotel’s cult-followed shop, where exotic herbs are blended into fragrances also sold on Net-a-Porter and online shops globally. Le Sirenuse Hotel on the Amalfi Coast has its breezy designs on Farfetch in addition to its own well-rounded online shop of caftans and tableware. The Aman Hotels, too, sell their natural beauty online, bringing their temple of peace to your home. And Soho House, the global social club and hospitality group, went a few steps further to create an original line of homewares, ranging from blankets to cut crystal.
There’s a renaissance afoot among hotel retail, and Issimo is poised to lead the way. E-commerce, and especially editorial, is still new for hospitality brands. Issimo’s range of products and thoughtful editorial content make it a compelling lifestyle brand any way you look at it––one that brings the scent of fresh oranges to your inbox twice a month and keeps the dream of barefoot-by-Riva boat days alive.
And, until you can make it over to the Argentario coast, here area few of our favorite Issimo souvenirs to ship home.
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