Dondup - Not just fashion

In 1999 Manuela Mariotti and Massimo Berloni joined forces and formed their 'made in Italy' brand Dondup. They named it after Myngar Dondup, a tibetan lama whose philosophical principle was, that all men are equal. kid's wear talked to Manuela Mariotti about the current collection, the new design cooperation with Altana and 'Casa Dondup'. 

1 When was the beginning of the Dondup kid's line?  
The Dondup kids’ line started in 2006 after the woman and man collections. It was born following the same spirit of the other collections.

2 What was the inspiration for the autumn/winter collection 2012?
The kids collection is inspired by the men's and women's collections, presenting faithful research into details and painstaking selection of fabrics. 
There is a new take on the concept of "vintage luxury" in garments that are rich in details and seem casual, but in actual fact are the result of painstaking research. The colour card is predominantly made up of natural hues, with touches of powder pink for girls and green for boys.
DQueen girl wears feisty garments given a feminine touch with glamorous details like silk, sequins and gold embroidery. Apart from denim, the soul of Dondup, presented using different washes and treatments, the girls' collection has a strong component of knitwear with silk, cotton cashmere and merino wool inserts.
For DKing boys, there are trousers with a fitted look and a particular focus on the washes. The coats and jackets, like the duffel coat and peacoat have been created with a strong focus on the details and fabrics. The elegantly cut jacket has been combined with pieces and accessories with a vintage air.

3 Tell us about the new cooperation with Altana!
It has now been decided to outsource manufacture and distribution to an expert in the sector, Marina Salamon's Altana. The children's line will be designed together with Altana, under the creative supervision of Manuela Mariotti and will be on the market from the A/W 2012 season onwards.
The deal-clincher for this new collaboration lays in the decision to entrust production and distribution to a professional working in the sector, in this case Altana, with president Marina Salamon and CEO Barbara Donadon, explains Massimo Berloni, president and CEO of Dondup.
The objective is to expand into international markets, while strengthening the Italian market. A winning project, but one which is growing: since 2006, when the line was launched, it has rapidly reached a turnover of some six million euro, mainly working in the national market.

4 You opened the first "Casa Dondup" last December. How would you describe the concept?
We’d like to open a space close to our showroom, in fact it is situated 30 meters from the Dondup showroom. An unconventional place that should be able to transfer our lifestyle. It is an old garage has been converted into a store. But not just any store. A space where fashion has been combined with music, food and literature. The 400 square metres spreading over two floors and christened Casa Dondup is a place to take pleasure in new discoveries. Discovering the men's and women's collections of course, but also enjoying a plate of spaghetti prepared with the house's own olive oil, sitting on chairs created with artistic fabrics resting on a concrete floor. At 34, Via Sirtori, Casa Dondup offers not just fashion, but other lifestyle items too, selected for the way they harmonise with the world of Dondup and its concept. A simple and hospitable place… exactly like your own home.

5 Which spot instore do children love the most?
for the moment we do not sell kid’s collection inside Casa Dondup, but we are planning to do it really soon. We use to distribute it by the most lovely multibrand in the world.

6 The "Casa Dondup" is in Milan. What's the best place for kids there?
I live in Fossombrone with my family, but we come often to Milan. There are special places for kids in Milan… for example Casa Dondup for the Saturday lunch and close to us there is the park of Villa Reale that is perfect to conclude the day! Miele Swimming pool is another place where kids can play and swim happyly with the family.

7 Do you have kids yourself?
Yes, I have kids… all daughters!

8 How fashion-oriented are they?
They love the fashion world, but they are kids! They love to dress themselves with Dondup samples!

9 What was your favorite piece of clothing as a child?
I always loved to wear a pair of jeans and a white t-shirt! When I was little I remember a white dress marinaire style. When I was 15 I remember a 60s outfit made of a white/red dress and red pants.

10 What are Dondup's plans for the future?
Our plans are to improve the Italian market and to expand ourselves in the foreign one. We are preparing a new collection of accessories for men and women and important cooperation… but this is still a secret… 


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