Serapian’s Bespoke Service and the New Real for Luxury Fashion
New York Style Guide is on a project to analyze what we called the silent revolution of Milano Fashion Week and how brands have reinterpreted luxury fashion, above all in its relationship with customers. Among the most interesting strategies we can’t absolutely ignore Serapian’s Bespoke Service.
A Milanese brand with a solid tradition and among the most skilled designers in the city, Serapian is reinterpreting the close connection with their clients, aiming to get as close and personal as possible, bringing the value of individuality and personalization to its highest expressions. And it does it in a very Italian, very Milanese way. Here is our report on the new way of fashion in the creative hands of a luxury bags brand that is a symbol of fashionable Milano for almost 100 years.
Let’s be honest: the Serapian Bespoke service has been a mark of the Maison since the very beginning in 1928. Customers have always been offered a dreamy experience, but today the service is completely renewed. It’s Giovanni Nodari Serapian, third-generation member of the Serapian family, that moved the bespoke service to comply with today’s most peculiar requests. A solid professional in fashion expertise, let’s see what Giovanni has brought to the table of luxury fashion.
This is not the first time New York Style Guide meets Serapian, but if you are a new reader, then the brand has its headquarter in the timeless scenario of Villa Mozart, in the heart of Milano, the area that its citizens call “il Quartiere del Silenzio”, literally “Silence District”. It’s a system of quiet and elegant blocks, with villas surrounded by parks and natural Milanese born flamingos laying just a few steps from the chaotic central broadways and the fashion district.
Villa Mozart is a beautiful historical building in the heart of Quartiere del Silenzio where Serapian has settled its “Bespoke Salotto” and the Mosaico Craft traditional ateliers.
The “Bespoke Salotto” is a beautiful art deco styled room in Villa Mozart where customers can choose from over 500 leathers and colours, the ones that match their style and personality the most. With the support of an expert from Serapian, they can create their own personal bag and once the idea is finalised, the sketch is sent tot the Atelier, just a couple of floors below, where the artisans create the bag from scratch following the customers’ sketches. Here you can see Olivia Palermo and Johannes Huebl visiting the Salotto.
Customer experience is the fil rouge that keeps the selling alive. Every brand right now is looking at how to evolve their relationship with their clients staying authentic to their nature. To do that, you need to drop something and adapt to something new. Now, Serapian has an incredibly personal relationship with their customers: as many of the things born in Milan, it is sophisticated, but close and personal. It’s luxury fashion that welcomes you. So they had to find a way to keep it simple, personal and somehow oddly hyped nonetheless.
And here is the next step: you can’t compromise on the way your loyal customers perceive you. So Serapian has taken the touch and feel experience to a very simple, but very unique level: the Bespoke Trunk. Here you can see it at the entrance of Villa Mozart as it was presented to us at Milano Fashion Week.
So, let’s see the focus here: customization and user experience brought straight to your door. Touch and feel sensation delivered: now, if you are a little bit of an insider, you know that these solutions are becoming more and more of a standard. Brands are studying ways to create pop ups that can move around the city, and get the shops straight to where you live, just because the live experience inside the shop is more often than not, the motor of all sales, and while people move less and less, they are not keen to abandon the special feeling that you get when you visit a luxury boutique (and many other chains for the matter).
This is of course quite an investment, but it is also a very unique way to live Serapian, and again, customer experience is at least half the reason why luxury brands are chosen. But how the Bespoke Trunk works? As easy as this: of course crafted in Italy, the trunk travels the world to let the customers test personally and combine personally examples of 1000 leather tassels. The trunk replicates the leathers and colors that you can find in the salotto, and together with Giovanni Nodari Serapian, it travels the world to meet customers – personally.
If you let it sink a while, it is quite a revolution that looks at the most traditional way to experience luxury fashion. And it is very hard not to feel flattered by the mere idea that if you can’t get to the salotto, then the salotto will literally get to you. The Serapian Bespoke Service is a customer focused solution that aims to take the Serapian experience directly to individuals. It also allows customers to create a bag that is only their own bag, and I can’t stretch this enough, how the new reality for luxury fashion (and a little bit part of its nature) to win on the standardisation of fast fashion, is right into offering the customers to have a high quality product that is exactly the way they envision it. Not just that, have an expert supporting you in taking the best choices (they know the fabrics better than anyone). It’s customisation, trust and delivery. Quite a choice, with huge potential, especially as we do not know right now how the pandemic is changing our habits, but we know that these things stick.
A good example of creations made by Japanese customers, was displayed as you approached the corridors that lead to the Salotto.
Getting closer to the small bags in the picture, you can have a complete idea of the level of personalization allowed.
Pictures by Flora MC
As you can see, it is not just about choosing shapes and colours, you can even personalize the bag by adding your name. You might recognise the Japanese music duo AMIAYA, aka the twin sisters Ami and Aya as the creators (and owners) of these models.
Of course for the new spring summer season, Serapian is presenting new models and new colours. To highlight a few new entries,
- canvas is a new fabric for the spring summer collection, with leather finishing
- The Mini Secret makes its debut in the Spring/Summer 2021 Women’s collection: it’s handmade from Mosaico craft, to be developed tone on tone and in contrasting colours. The Mini Secret collection includes a new clutch that is already gaining a lot of attention from the younger generations, here in bronze, which is also a new add to the Serapian color palette
you can spot the same clutch in pink in this set shown at Villa Mozart
and here is a mini secret bag enriched with precious Elaphe finishings
- the Chiaroscuro gradient effect on the mosaico signature is an extension of the new palette
- Another new entry is the sunglass holders, both for the men and women’s collections, here in a lively coral color, orange and in contrast with burgundy red
- in the environmentally friendly research, Serapian presents a set that looks and feels like leather, but it actually is a result of using grapes and vine trees as a primary material. The touch and feel experience in the end is impressive, and convincing
Last but not least, let’s have a little treat from this brand.
Serapian’s artisans have been called to a challenge that required incredible skills and know-how, and a challenge that they succeeded in with the results that only real masters own. To say that this was a very high demand is massive understatement. And this time we move out of the comfort zone of creating bags, straight into interior design: cars’ interior design.
But the tasks gets harder: Serapian’s master artisans were confronted with the request to create the interiors of a unique car from the past: the Lancia Dilambda Cabriolet Carlton BS, a car specially designed and produced in 1930 for the British Colonel Lieutenant Sir Bernard Montgomery Hall.
The Colonel, a truly eccentric British soul, asked to personalize every single detail of the Lancia Dilambda: an Italian cult, a Lancia, with a British soul.
This Lancia Dilambda, assumingly lost in 1949, eventually reappeared thanks to the Italian collector Mr Filippo Sole, that New York Style Guide had the pleasure to meet and talk to during Milano Fashion Week.
Mr. Sole, following the steps of the original spirit of “whole personalization”, asked Serapian to renovate the whole interiors of the Lancia Dilambda with the signature Mosaico craft.
Master artisans did not just stop there, but added two bags: a weekender and a folio, to match the car perfectly.
If you want to know something that few would tell you, but that we heard from Mr Sole himself, ideally the Lancia was discussed to have included a thin burgundy red stripe on both sides of the car. Finally the owner opted for a more discrete and elegant light grey stripe (that you can see in the third picture below), that blends better with the style of the car, as the burgundy color made it look heavier and off the spirit of its own nature.
Master artisans at Serapian, though, thought to reinterpret the idea of a burgundy red stripe and added it to the bags instead. These are the outstanding results:
Lancia Dilambda’s pictures by Flora MC
This might sound like an isolated request, but indeed, this is very much in the halo of Serapian’s challenge: high customisation means high customisation, no request is too high a request. Wherever leather goes, their expertise fits. And this is a strong statement in the world of leather works. This is breaking the boundaries between fashion and design, which is indeed not just Serapian’s challenge, but Milano’s very new statement: fashion and design are two sides of the same medal, and so they work in synergy. The know-how is fundamental for both sides to exist. And being a master means you can work with leather, wherever leather fits, whichever time you are asked to replicate. The 30ies style, the millennials style, the sophisticated ladies style: a master artisan can do it. And he will do it your way, guiding you in your choices to make it tasteful.
Now, if you want to be keen in looking at the circularity of fashion, it’s very interesting that luxury fashion as a whole system, is regaining its roots of being very up close and personal, and is evolving by staying authentic to its true nature. That is the reason why examples like Serapian’s are not just bold and brave: these brands are envisioning a new real for luxury fashion.
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Pictures unless differently stated are all courtesy of Serapian.