Laboratorio Capri: a family boutique with a retro, dolce vita spirit

Vibrant prints and a 1960s vibe draw modern jet-setters to this chic store on Italy’s favourite rugged-but-ritzy island

Michele Gigino, co-owner of Laboratorio Capri
Michele Gigino, co-owner of Laboratorio Capri | Image: Giovanni Cipriano

“The spirit of Capri is colour,” says Michele Gigino, co-owner of Laboratorio Capri, a fashion emporium that reflects the vibrant hues of its exalted island location. Just steps from the glittering, boutique-lined Via Camerelle in Capri Town, the tiny shop has been a family affair since the 1960s when it housed Gigino’s parents’ popular tailoring atelier, catering to an impressively jet-set clientele. The space was reimagined in 2010 by Gigino, his mother and brother, Augusto, and today’s customers are no less illustrious: a stylish, in-the-know set of Capri regulars – “the Gettys are all our clients, as well as a number of Arabian princesses” – who flock here for “handmade pieces with special Italian flair”. 

Silk-foulard scarves, €330, are among Laboratorio Capri’s bestsellers
Silk-foulard scarves, €330, are among Laboratorio Capri’s bestsellers | Image: Giovanni Cipriano

The elegant yet relaxed designs are the work of Gigino, whose inherited tailoring skills complement a love of print and extensive fashion experience (he has worked with Vivienne Westwood and Paul Smith). Among his bestsellers are silk foulard scarves (€330) emblazoned with images of local flora and fauna; raincoats (from €620) in striking vintage-postcard prints; and woven-leather basket bags (€395) in shades ranging from sand to subtle sea green. Each year he conceives a new collection; this season he has collaborated with Paola Tassetti, an artist from the Adriatic town of Civitanova Marche, whose intricate Autoctòne fabric design – incorporating anatomical floral motifs with patterns based on Capri’s blue and white pottery – can be found on silk-satin blouses (from €700) with voluminous sleeves, and silk/cotton dresses (€750) with contrasting piping. The overall effect is distinctly retro dolce vita, with summer favourites ranging from silk palazzo trousers (€450) in vibrant prints to smart linen shorts (€275) and brilliant blue silk cropped-sleeve jackets (€700) printed with sea-life scenes. Adding extra pops of colour to the bright white space, dotted with Milanese midcentury furniture, are Laboratorio’s signature floaty kaftans (€990) and accompanying obi belts (€195).

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“Our customers appreciate the high quality and exclusivity of our designs. You won’t find our pieces anywhere else,” explains Gigino, who works with local artisans to create embellishments and accessories, including embroidered straw bags (€60) for beachy days, elegantly simple crocodile-skin sandals (€860), and charm-laden necklaces (from €105) that evoke a Jackie O – circa 1960 – aesthetic. Only the small selection of menswear isn’t created on the island, with pieces such as the laidback linen shirts (€130) in lilac and turquoise fabricated just across the water in Naples. And for men who like to make a style statement, the bold Colori di Capri belts (€45) and coral-pink bow ties hit the mark. 

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Items for the house (or yacht or plane) are equally covetable, with wool/cashmere blankets (€485) covered with vintage images of some of the Blue Island’s most famous spots, among them the Arco delle Sirene and the Blue Grotto. “People come here when they are on holiday,” points out Gigino, “and these allow them to take a bit of Capri home with them.”

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