by Gianluca Isaia
My Home is a Planeby Gianluca Isaia
I was just a boy when I started traveling on a regular basis. Back in 1976, I accompanied my father on a trip to the United States when, with courage and a touch of authentic Neapolitan recklessness, he set off on his first great American tour. Today I practically live on a plane.
I'm always in the air, crossing the Atlantic Ocean several times a year. Believe me, each time I return to Napoli, where our Isaia headquarters are located, it's a joy. I love the USA, which gave us a lot, and I feel right at home especially in New York City. But what can I say? You know it too, I can't give up my Neapolitan essence, my family and coffee, the incomparable view of the Gulf, the quick trips to Capri and a series of even tiny details, rituals and idiosyncrasies that are profoundly tied to my homeland.
I periodically visit all Isaia flagship stores in the world: New York, Tokyo, Beverly Hills, Moscow, Kiev, Hong Kong… I consider them a bit like our outposts and ambassadors of our brand.
Much more than mere boutiques, they represent the pleasure of typical Neapolitan hospitality. The general concept was conceived and brought to life by a brilliant British friend: the designer James Irvine, an extremely innovative, versatile, and very reserved person. Based in Milan since 1984, James quietly passed away in 2013. He invented the Vesuvio Room, an old-fashioned smoking room where one could finally enjoy a cigar in peace and quiet.
Today architect Martino Ferrari continues the project with Alberta Saladino, a fellow Neapolitan who is an expert in applied arts of the 20th century, blending Irvine's strongly contemporary stylistic approach with a constellation of symbolic objects and treasures found through a careful search of private collections, dealers, second-hand stores and flea markets.
There are magical, passionate elements like red and black coral, mounted madrepores and nautiluses, Vietri ceramics, and 18th and 19th century Madonnas sumptuously dressed in silk and crowned with silver under glass bell jars. There are giant horns and antique Pulcinella statues as well as the sculptures and paintings of Neapolitan contemporary artists who are directly inspired by classic mythology and Mediterranean legends and plaster figures from the thirties and fifties.
Besides this striking mosaic woven with objects and colors, there are the impressive chandeliers in scarlet methacrylate by Jacopo Foggini – a constant decorative element – that seem to be an ornate fire burning with passion and the Art Nouveau and 1950s furnishings that underline the exquisitely domestic and private sense and that fragrance of home that I think I have given our stores around the globe.
I also installed a grand piano in our Capri, New York, Beverly Hills and Tokyo boutiques. The marvelous Peppino di Capri often sits at the piano in the Capri boutique, playing one of his renowned songs. Around the globe, you'll always find champagne or a glass of wine from the Campania region, delicious mozzarellas, rum babà cakes and taralli snacks during happy hour in our boutiques. I love making you feel at home and welcoming you as friends, not customers. This is the Isaia spirit, our soul anchored to tradition and its Neapolitan roots but open to a global cosmopolitan future.