It is a rare instance when I am invited to partake in a celebration of this magnitude but here I am with 2 of the most prodigious and prestigious jewelry designers of the 21st century. There is something about their jewelry that makes me think of them as being a likely comparison to possibly Verdura in many ways. This weekend marks the anniversary of the haute joaillerie, alta gioielleria or in simple English the high jewelry segment of the burgeoning Faraone Mennella mini-empire. So if you are lucky enough to be in Capri this weekend, this is the social highlight of the weekend and if you are not and stuck at home like me, then please join me in the celebration right here.
In little more than a decade, these 2 wildly creative and ambitious men have built a business using their passion and talents as its foundation. They have followed their own path and carved (pun intended) themselves a substantial business by being independent thinkers as well as being blessed with some amazing skills that can only be acquired genetically. They have attracted the cognoscenti of international retailers as well as collectors and consumers of fine jewelry. To say that I am impressed with their collective candor and creative skill set is an understatement as is that I salute them for their exceptional business savvy and prowess. I might add here that I have been a fan of their jewelry since the inception, and now ... them as well. I continue to remain a fan given the diversity of their talents, their design ethic and their welcoming natures.
It is quite an honor for me to have been able to catch up with these 2 men who have constructed this “world” via their creative output. In a stroke of luck and with some great planning, Amedeo and Roberto were gracious enough to afford me some of their precious time during their very busy summer schedule and below is the product of their generosity.
JF-Why did you select Capri as a location and when do you open?
FM-Capri was for both of us, our family summer home growing up in Naples; when you grow up surrounded by such beauty, your sensibility as an artist or a designer gets influenced without you even realizing. It was obvious and organic for us to have Capri as our source of inspiration and DNA of the brand.
We opened Faraone Mennella, our high jewelry collection, 3 years ago and since then we celebrate Summer and our new collection, during the July 4 weekend with a chic event at the La Fontelina beach club for our VIP clients and friends! It's a moment of celebration and happiness and also our way to thank everyone for their support with a party at "home”. This year, it is a double celebration as we are also opening the AMEDEO boutique, our second after NYC: AMEDEO is our modern cameo brand, in the tradition of my family heritage (manufacturing Cameos since 1857) but reinvented in a fashionable and edgy way! The brand is getting more and more famous worldwide and opening in Capri is as emotional as a homecoming!
JF-Do you design specific items or groupings exclusive to the Capri location?
FM-Yes we do: each year Faraone Mennella launches in Capri a new collection inspired by the island and exclusively sold in our Capri boutique: this year we launched the "Lunette" and "Gocce" collections and also continue to introduce new "Pesciolini”, our silver and diamond little fishes in bracelets and charms: our tribute to Capri and already the most sought after "memento" of the summer, to take home!
JF-How long have you designed jewelry as a team and what prompted you to start the company? A little history here:
FM-We are childhood friends and come from the same small town of Torre del Greco near Napoli, by the footstep of Vesuvius. But the idea of working together only came many years later in NYC, after Roberto graduated from Parsons School of Design. Thanks to Patricia Field and Sarah Jessica Parker who used our jewelry in the now legendary series, Sex & The City, in 2001 we could launch our first collection and immediately and have the most prestigious distribution in shops like BergdorfGoodman, Neiman Marcus, and Saks 5th Avenue etc.
Our career took off pretty quickly, with milestone collaborations with Swarovski, Carolina Herrera, Audemars Piguet; we truly worked hard to build a brand, to show the world the magnificence of Italian craftsmanship and style in fine jewelry. Today, after 12 years we are proud to have 6 boutiques, incredible distribution and the most chic clients in the world!
JF-Generally speaking, what would you say is your raison d’etre in terms of design? Any style mentors or idols?
FM-Our success and longevity ("young designers" can enjoy success for a short time, due to the newness of their offering, but after that you need to show you are brand there to stay) is mostly due to Roberto's and my stubbornness in not following trends and stay consistent with our inspiration , style and DNA! What makes us proud is to see our clients who can accessorize pieces bought at Bergdorf’s 10 years ago, with the newest ones: they all go together as we don't betray our own style and clients!
JF-When in Capri, how much time do you spend in the store dealing with clients? As a rule do you find your clients helpful in determining new styles or style direction?
FM-Both of us love to be in the store: the ultimate satisfaction for a designer is to work with the end consumer, styling the jewelry or just explaining the way it’s made and the gemstones! They want us there, they want to meet and discuss the jewelry with us and we love to do it: our shops are like salons of the 1950s in Rome