Imagine that you are picking up a rare antique box. Gently run your hand over its glossy oak surface, feeling the warmth of the wood, open it, slide over the soft velvet upholstery. From the box quietly, slightly creaking, Tchaikovsky's waltz is heard, and you, inhaling the musky scent of someone's old perfume, carefully, with two fingers, sort out the treasures stored in the casket: old heavy earrings, a brooch "bouquet of forget-me-nots", a slightly darkened bracelet with rubies … All this creates a certain atmosphere of mystery, gives a feeling of a fairy tale, while you feel constancy, reliability, warmth and comfort. It is with such a box with its timeless treasures that the ARDECOLINI shoe boutique can be compared - a place unique of its kind.
Heavy curtains with tassels partially covering the windows, dark walls, warm wooden floors with mosaics in the center of the hall, powerful oak shelving and a heavy chandelier made of thousands of pieces of glass - the boutique is ruled by a luxurious and mysterious art deco style.
However, all these magnificent scenery are just a frame of unique shoes exhibited here. ARDECOLINI is a mecca for gourmets of shoes, where only the best works of shoe art are presented. Exclusive collections of world designers, specially designed for the boutique. “ARDECOLINI is an art gallery of contemporary shoe art,” is the name of his parents, his spouses Sergei and Elena Illarionov. “Shoes are our common passion with my husband. Apparently, she always lived somewhere deep in us, and as soon as the opportunity arose, passion found a way out, turning into such a boutique, ”says Elena. - ARDECOLINI turned out to be an unusual boutique, more reminiscent of a museum. For example, this front wall with glass safes enclosed in it. They featured special shoes decorated with gold and precious stones. ” Elena demonstrates a pair of Christian Louboutin, decorated with black lace and a gold brooch “bat” with rubies: “Thus, we managed to make an art object out of shoes”.
Of course, such precious shoes, or, as is customary to say in ARDECOLINI, jeweleryshoes, are presented in a boutique in a single copy, although the short run is the main feature of the gallery's products. The maximum number of one model is one size range. It is by this principle that the brands Pierre Hardy, Rupert Sanderson, Michel Perry, Ferre are collected here.
However, the uniqueness of the shoes presented in ARDECOLINI is also in the fact that you will not find some models of famous designers anywhere in the world. Most of the ARDECOLINI collection has been commissioned by the boutique and has no repetitions. “We are trying to make up an assortment of those brands that we ourselves like,” says Elena Illarionova. - But, of course, difficulties often arise with this. First of all, because such well-known brands as Gucci, Prada, Chanel, Dior already have an exclusive representative in Russia. Exclusive is a feature of the Russian market. For example, in Milan, walking along Monte Napoleon, next to the large Zanotti boutique, you can also find a small multi-brand, which also sells Zanotti. And it doesn’t bother anyone, as in Russia. Nevertheless, we managed to get around this problem, and designers specially for ARDECOLINI are preparing one or two exclusive models that are not in their current collections. As a rule, they gladly go for it, since here their creative imagination is no longer limited. “I don’t really want to buy ready-made models,” agrees the boutique manager Dmitry Buerov, “they can be in the store at any other store.” We are looking for interesting design solutions that are difficult to replicate. ”
This concerns, by the way, not only shoes, but also accessories. So, a small but very noticeable part of the ARDECOLINI assortment is bags, each of which has its own story. “Leo Locati, for example, has been making handbags for royals for several hundred years, including the Queen of England and Princess Diana,” says Elena. - The brand specializes in elegant evening handbags, each of which is a work of art. They are sewn only from the most luxurious materials: alligator and stingray, lizard and ostrich, silk and satin. Of course, many of them exist in a single copy. For us, they also create unique models that we pronounce to the smallest detail. So, recently in the Milan flea market we found an amazingly shaped vintage handbag that we want to repeat. True, it does not work out yet. The fact is that this handbag is asymmetric, made in spite of all geometric proportions. Senior Lokati honestly admitted that he did not know how long it would take to work on it. Work on it at the factory has been going on for more than six months. ”
By the way, the presence of its own history is a characteristic feature of almost every pair of ARDECOLINI shoes. For example, Angelina Jolie wears Alexa Wagner crocodile leather stretch boots that are featured in ARDECOLINI, Behnaz Kanani (one of the new boutique brands) in Camellia shoes appeared at the Grammy Awards Amy Winehouse, and Federico Fellini prefers classic black Oxfords Silvano Lattanzi. Elena notices that it is difficult for her to choose a pair that would be the main pride of the boutique. At the same time, her gaze slides along the main window on which Martin Margiela is adjacent to Chrissie Morris.
Despite the small area of the boutique (about 100 sq. M.), Its space is strictly divided into zones: women's, men's and in the center - the best handmade shoes for equestrian sports Alberto Fasciani in Europe. In the male part, attention is drawn to the sneakers from the crocodile limited edition Puma by Schedoni, decorated with tattoos. Dressing is another of the boutique’s unique offers. This is an opportunity to make shoes and accessories unique, because ARDECOLINI designers do not do the same drawing twice. Elena explains that the process of decorating shoes is painstaking and time-consuming. Therefore, customers sometimes have to wait several months. “First, a person buys shoes from us or brings his pair of shoes. By the way, if we talk about our range, then men like to decorate golf shoes from De Tommaso. Then the client meets with the designer and expresses his wishes, if, of course, he already has them. Designers offer several options for sketches, from which one is chosen. And the production process begins. The most difficult stage is the approval of the sketch. With some clients, it can last for weeks and months. Production itself takes a week or two. ”
Of course, men are more likely to choose the technique of applying tattoo on shoes (ARDECOLINI know-how). Women have a much wider choice of decor: Swarovski crystals, decorative embroidery, gold jewelry, precious stones. “Perhaps, to a lesser extent than other boutiques, we are attached to fashion. Rather, we are ahead of her. Therefore, the lineup for decoration is scheduled for two months ahead of us. This is especially true for ugg boots, despite the fact that now is not the season yet. ”
When asked about the development of such a boutique format, Elena answered: “We do not pursue the goal of opening 25 stores in Moscow. Our goal is to make each pair in the boutique individual. Therefore, if there are a lot of clients, on the contrary, we will need to switch to the club system ”. Yet, for now, business owners are thinking not about closing, but about expansion: there is no longer enough room for new delights of shoe art. Therefore, boxes with shoes are stacked in neat pyramids in the corner of the gallery, which, it should be noted, does not spoil the general perception in any way. “ARDECOLINI has existed for only a year. This is too short a time period, - Dmitry Buerov believes. “It will take at least another 2-3 years to understand which direction to move, how to develop the concept and what place the boutique will take on the market.”
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