Rome means a lot of things to many visitors, but a shopping destination it’s most likely not. Or not yet, we should say, because White Gallery just set up shop just six months ago and they’re changing things for the better.
10 Corso Como in Milan and Louisa Via Roma in Florence have cemented their cities’ style credibility. It’s hard to find a more artistic approach to retail than that of 10 Corso Como’s Carla Sozzani, who’s opened outposts in Seoul and Tokyo promoting the Corso Como brand, and ultimately an image of a creative Milan, abroad. Meanwhile, Luisa Via Roma’s e-store’s well known for shipping its stock from Florence to anywhere in the world. If there’s a shop that could do something similar for Rome, it’s White Gallery.
Why? Well, for one, there’s the space. Like any decent concept store White Gallery stocks fashion, accessories, beauty, books and food. However, unlike other places, the selection is spread over a much larger space. 54,000 square feet to be precise—which means it could fit into Ralph Lauren‘s new Paris flagship twice and it’s the biggest Italian lifestyle store.
Of course, given its size, White Gallery isn’t within walking distance of the city’s center. Instead, the store’s in the EUR district, a formerly planned part of town created by Mussolini for the 1942 World Exposition. “The White Gallery building is part of a sophisticated urban redevelopment project,” explains Barbara Finassi, director of White Gallery. Besides the concept store, there are also new apartments and more shops in the works for the neighborhood.
And while the big brands are stocked extensively at White Gallery—including two Burberry and Ralph Lauren shop-in-shops, each as big as a standalone store—there are also smaller labels which can be hard to find in Italy. I spotted Boy by Band of Outsiders and Alexander Wang, Charles Anastase and Acne as well as homegrown Italian talents like Maurizio Pecoraro and Daniele Michetti. And Christopher Kane’s dresses held a place of honor on the first rack at the entrance.
But, how are these smaller brands faring among label-conscious Roman shoppers? “We’ve seen very interesting results,” Finassi explains. “People like our brand mix selection.”
And besides young labels making a mark at White Gallery, the store’s design is an eye-catcher itself. Like the name suggests, White Gallery’s colorless interior is a purist’s dream. Likewise, the entrance hall’s installations are hard-to-miss: one was commissioned by the famous glass manufacturer Andromeda Murano, the other was simply set up by White Gallery’s very own creative director Felice Limosani. It’s this mix of influences that make the store’s concept exceptionally promising. Or as Finassi concludes, White Gallery is about “contemporary savoir vivre.”