Forte Forte boutique in Milan by art director Robert Vattiliana | Yellowtrace
Photo by Paola Pansini.

Forte Forte boutique in Milan by art director Robert Vattiliana | Yellowtrace
Photo by Paola Pansini.

Forte Forte boutique in Milan by art director Robert Vattiliana | Yellowtrace
Photo by Paola Pansini.

Forte Forte boutique in Milan by art director Robert Vattiliana | Yellowtrace
Photo by Paola Pansini.

Forte Forte boutique in Milan by art director Robert Vattiliana | Yellowtrace
Photo by Paola Pansini.

Forte Forte boutique in Milan by art director Robert Vattiliana | Yellowtrace
Photo by Paola Pansini.

 

Where digital shopping has become simpler, speedier, and eons more expedient—four-storey fast fashion outlets and retail fronts of the past really do feel clunky, cold, and awkward. Tell me, who truly enjoys a trip to the mall to face the heaped and haphazard racks of H&M, only to return a little numb and approximately thirty dollars poorer (, the parking!). And while we see big brands like Nike, Apple, and even COS at Salone, push and pull at the boundaries of experiential retail design year on year—what about the legacy of the humble, intimate boutique?

Italian womenswear label has sought to reinvigorate this bygone genre of shopping with a new flagship store in Milan’s artistic Brera district. Forte Forte co-founder Giada Forte enlisted the eye of art director Robert Vattilana to help realise a concept close to the heartbeat of the brand—feminine, unique, spirited, and a little bit curious too. The project is maybe far from outlandish in its objectives (other brands have sought to revive this intimate, emotional sort of retail therapy), but here, Forte Forte has foregone long established shop floor schemes in favour of a more fluid, storied, and tactile reflection of the label.

 

Forte Forte boutique in Milan by art director Robert Vattiliana | Yellowtrace
Photo by Paola Pansini.

Forte Forte boutique in Milan by art director Robert Vattiliana | Yellowtrace
Photo by Paola Pansini.

 

The entrance and the front-facing window is guarded by a dramatic white curtain, which falls from the double height ceiling and wraps around part of the walls. Travertine marble in bas-relief has been woven throughout—across walls and as furnishings, a counter, and a large planter box. It has also been cut into organic shapes dotted with mosaic glass in mauve, mint, and rose on the floor. A brass chandelier hovers above the entrance, while branch-like display systems in brass exhibit select items from the latest Forte Forte collections.

 

Forte Forte boutique in Milan by art director Robert Vattiliana | Yellowtrace
Photo by Paola Pansini.

Forte Forte boutique in Milan by art director Robert Vattiliana | Yellowtrace
Photo by Paola Pansini.

Forte Forte boutique in Milan by art director Robert Vattiliana | Yellowtrace
Photo by Paola Pansini.

Forte Forte boutique in Milan by art director Robert Vattiliana | Yellowtrace
Photo by Robert Vattilana.

Forte Forte boutique in Milan by art director Robert Vattiliana | Yellowtrace
Photo by Robert Vattilana.

Forte Forte boutique in Milan by art director Robert Vattiliana | Yellowtrace
Photo by Robert Vattilana.

Forte Forte boutique in Milan by art director Robert Vattiliana | Yellowtrace
Photo by Robert Vattilana.

 

Changerooms are cloaked in magenta velvet and quilted with found buttons. Private elements collected from all around the world give the space and its story a personal signature: a drawing of a woman by , a Bitossi ceramic designed by Aldo Londi, a jar of glass test tubes brought in a market in Los Angeles, for example. A sculptural brass net hangs across the white curtain, which has been strung with glass vessels and orbs by Massimo Lunardon.

 

 


[Images courtesy of Robert Vattiliana. Photography by .]

 

About The Author

Sammy Preston

Sammy Preston is a writer, editor, and curator living in Sydney. Working especially within art and design, and then lifestyle and culture more broadly, Sammy is a senior writer at Broadsheet, and a contributing digital editor at Foxtel's Lifestyle platform. Sammy also contributes regularly to art and design press like VAULT Magazine, Art Collector, Art Edit, Habitus, and Indesign magazines. She's written art essays for MUSEUM, exhibition texts for Sophie Gannon Gallery, and has worked as an arts and culture editor for FBi Radio. In 2016, she worked as part of the editorial team for Indesign Magazine as digital editor during the publication's pivotal print and website redesign. Sammy was also the founding manager and curator of contemporary art space Gallery 2010—a curator-run initiative housed within a Surry Hills loading dock. The gallery hosted exhibitions with emerging and established artists from 2012 until 2016.

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