From a little town in the hills of Tuscany to the palm trees of Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, Monnalisa has combined entrepreneurship, innovation and unique styling to build a worldwide symbol of traditional Made in Italy quality and artisanship. The company was founded in 1968 by Piero Jacomoni and Barbara Bertocci, who today serve as Chairman of the Board and Creative Director respectively. Over the past 40 years the pair have used intelligent business practices and quality design to grow a brand that dresses children around the globe. By the time we got a chance to ask Jacomoni some questions last month, it was easy to see how Monnalisa has lived up to the reputation of the Masterpiece for which it was named.
What allowed the creation of the Monnalisa concept?
Mainly the entrepreneurial spirit which has always driven me. I didn’t decide to become an entrepreneur; I was born one. Had I not created Monnalisa, I would have built another company with the same focus on excellence.
Why did you choose to enter the children’s clothing market?
That question moves me a little bit. In 1968 I was a young guy who was practical and full of ambition. I decided to get into fashion because I had some technical experience in the industry. By choosing kids clothing I didn’t have to pay for a showroom model, I could just use a mannequin. It was a utilitarian choice which in the end brought me good luck.
Do you find any differences between the way American and Italian parents dress their kids?
There’s a tangible difference. Italian children, for example my grandchildren, are raised with beauty as part of their everyday experience. You can’t see beauty as something different from the rest of life, including clothing. Americans love to be practical and I love their casual attitude, I find it so infectious that it inspired my casual chic line called Ny&Lon where we match easy materials such as jersey with Made in Italy quality.
Why did you decide to extend the concept of Monnalisa to more of a lifestyle concept?
We’re honored by the loyalty of our customers. The total Monnalisa look has been so well-received that it seemed natural to create a lifestyle concept with rooms that bring our unique style to even the smallest details.
What is your favorite clothing from your past and present collections?
My wife Barbara tells me I don’t understand anything about fashion. Between the two of us, she is the creative one and I’m the entrepreneurial one. Since she joined our company, she hasn’t ceased to amaze me with her exciting collections. This year we launched a collection called Couture with clothes that require dozens of hours of work and up to 15 meters of top-end fabrics. Once again, Barbara, my daughter Diletta and the Monnalisa team called “creative workshop” hit the mark! I couldn’t be more proud.
How do you dress your own children? In Monnalisa style?
The Monnalisa style was born at home when my wife, the daughter of textile manufacturers, began as a young wife and mother to create beautiful clothes and dresses for our children…
Your job gives you the possibility to travel all around the world. Which is the place where you love come back every time?
I’m Tuscan through and through, and yet I feel as though I am a citizen of the world. I hope that my grandchildren are able to travel around the world as I have. I would like to travel with them to China, which I think is amazing and futuristic.