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From Milan to Melrose: Stores Get Real : Corso Como 10: Romeo Gigli's ex-partners open a shop dedicated to simple clothes and home furnishings.

August 07, 1992|ALEC LOBRANO

MILAN — Corso Como 10 is a street name, but it's also the name of the newest boutique attracting attention here. The shop belongs to Carla Sozzani and Donato Maino, whom fashion aficionados know from an earlier incarnation as the business partners of Italian designer Romeo Gigli.

They say the store is a move away from status designer labels as well as swanky street addresses. And the private label clothing collection featured at the store is called No Name, which sounds like an antidote to Gigli's arch and artistic approach to fashion.

The owners went so far as to print up a fashion manifesto, explaining their latest project:

There will be no one "star" designer creating the product. A collective effort, NN studio will draw on a pool of young new talent. Uniforms for everyday life, the NN studio clothes are very simple, functional and comfortable.

These are New Age basics--trousers, jackets, shirts and pullovers in quality fabrics with simple lines, in strong colors.

The store does carry designer labels, including some vintage Hermes and Balenciaga dresses. But every bit as important as fashion is the furniture, Murano glass, books and bath items for sale.

"Italians have changed their spending priorities, and are now more interested in travel and home furnishings," says Sozzani, who worked as an editor for Conde Nast in Italy, and for Italian Elle, before joining the merchant class.

To give a homelike feeling to the shop, she hired New York sculptor and painter Kris Ruhs to sponge-paint the walls in olive, terra-cotta and dark purple. The white floors are accented with bright rugs.

Among the furnishings for sale are custom-made tables and chairs inlaid with mother-of-pearl from a small shop in Marrakech, Morocco, one of Sozzani's favorite countries. And the middle of the shop is covered by a brightly colored tent filled with carpets, pillows and shawls.

"I love the atmosphere of the Souk (market) in Marrakech," she says.

Other items range from 19th-Century English charm bracelets to a Chinese bed dated around 1800. There are Sozzani finds from Paris, Copenhagen, Madrid, India, Venice, Naples, Morocco, New York and Vienna.

Italian taste has gone through an evolution, says Sozzani. "In the '70s we started to have a lot of money, and a new class of people got rich and they spent money on labels because it made them secure. Now, we're returning to the traditions of eternal beauty."

That seems to include her own classic wardrobe. Sozzani has given up her Gigli wear and now goes to work dressed in cashmere cardigans, T-shirts and long skirts to wear with Indian and Moroccan jewelry.

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