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The shop

The IVO MILAN shop is located in Padua, in the very central Via S.Lucia, in a Romanesque house which dates back to before the year 1000. It is currently the oldest standing civil building in the town. The business was started in 1896, by the great-grandfather of the current proprietor, Orlando. It was taken over by his son Modesto and subsequently, by Modesto's son, Ivo (Orlando's father), who, in 1945, named the shop after himself to distinguish it from his brothers' businesses which bore the same family name. Today, thanks to Sari, Orlando's third daughter, the IVO MILAN story has now entered into its fifth generation.

It is customary for 'ancient' companies to be known as places with slow-paced work rhythms, characterised by the habitual repetition of familiar gestures, with 'd'antan' furnishings, or an exclusively white aesthetic, a bit impersonal and with a 'modern' aura. They sell the usual, very comforting products, have 'civilized' window displays and a slightly conservative clientèle. But IVO MILAN stands in stark contrast to this. Today, the shop sells women's clothes exclusively. The space is spread across two floors, altogether taking up 250sm.

Inside the shop, everything operates according to one precise guideline:

nothing must be mass-produced and everything must be different to the things one usually sees. This principle applies to the furniture, but most importantly, to the selection process behind the displaying of clothes. In fact, the limited production and circulation of the labels sold in the shop, exists alongside a specific principle which determines how to choose everything that will be sold. This principle is one which takes into account the requirements of a very well-educated, niche Paduan clientele, whose taste has not been shaped by the influences of media and television, and whose interests lie in those very special purchases - in authentically creative ones, if not in ones with a strong artistic valence.

This development did not happen by chance. If Padua has become the world capital of the contemporary art jewel, it certainly owes much of this status to its master goldsmiths and to its schools, as well as to the artistic insight of the pioneers of a new language, which, through its adoption of abstract forms and conceptual signs, and its use of very basic or recycled materials, swept away those more classical models and reference points, more or less inspired by Italian jewellery traditions, by French and English traditions, which sparkled with gold, platinum and precious stones. This was by no means a small revolution. Nor can it be understood through the usual principal of emulation which lies at the heart of relationships between towns and big cities. The red line connecting Padua to its extraordinary past is a continuous one.

Chronology:

  • 1896 Bellino Milan starts the business with the fabric trade;
  • 1912 Modesto, Ivo Milan's father, joins the father's company
  • 1945 Ivo Milan opens a fabric shop with his own name and in 1956 introduces manufactured clothes for the first time;
  • 1967 Orlando joins his father's company as a co-worker;
  • 1996 Sari, Orlando's youngest daughter, joins the company and continues the family's business tradition.
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