Style | The Cult Shop

Made in the Shade

A laid-back alternative to Milan high fashion, with an emphasis on the authentic.

May 07 2011
Avril Groom

In Milan’s world of luxury fashion, Cinzia Bertocchi’s and Maurizio Pellegrini’s shop seems both a protest and a breath of fresh air. Away from the Golden Triangle of big-brand boutiques, it lies by the navigli, the slightly scruffy canals that attract tourists and bohemian creatives in equal numbers. Not that Bertocchi and Pellegrini have anything against business – they started their concept shop partly to showcase their successful clothing ranges, Local Apparel and B’Sbee.

“We come up with our designs here and then source the craftsmanship globally,” says Bertocchi. “We believe in going to the best producers where an item traditionally originates, as they know how to make the most authentic, sustainable version. It is important that people and things remain rooted in their origins.”

So espadrilles with high wedge heels (€90) come from Spain, and traditional clogs (from €140) from Italy. Her regret is that she can no longer find handcrafts such as embroidery and lace-making at the right quality-to-price ratio in her home country. “I took antique samples to northern India, and their style was very similar to old Italian work.” The result is ornate, hand-embroidered pieces, such as a beautiful square-necked camisole (€230).

The store is a laid-back celebration of authenticity: spare industrial design in an old dairy – high, ancient-beamed ceiling and polished concrete shelves and floor with a full-glass frontage displaying the Local Apparel pieces (pretty, essentially feminine and faintly nouveau-hippie) alongside the B’Sbee range of casual menswear pieces – soft trousers and jackets in slightly crushed, cotton khadi (from €160) – which also come in smaller sizes for off-duty women. Easy shirts (€135) are a feature of both ranges, Indian-made in light cotton.

Alongside are Bertocchi’s pick of complementary items – Isabel Marant’s vintage-looking eyelet-embroidery tops (from €210), Rosa Mosa woven Japanese slippers (€185), natural stone and gold jewellery by Carla Peretti (from €70). And it doesn’t stop at fashion: the display includes often-changing artworks, natural beauty products from Dr Bronner (from €8), and then there’s the B’Sbee-Made in the Shade bike design (€1,200), a hip blue and orange fixed-gear model by Milan-based brand Dodici, with ultra-thin aluminium wheels.

Though Made in the Shade is a natural summer destination, Bertocchi and Pellegrini do not forget Milan’s chilly winters, when they turn to lightly padded cotton, organic New Zealand wool (chunky cardigan, €230), Italian-made cashmere (from €142), British Hunter wellies (from €109) and colourful silk quilts (€120).