Made in Italy: The Essence of Italian Style

At Mercantile Portland, we pride ourselves on introducing creative Italian designers into our collections, especially to the Pacific Northwest. Every single piece is hand-selected by our buyers with the confidence it will become a new wardrobe favorite. As we edge closer to summer, our customers’ search continues for chic outfits to help enter summer in a charming, colorful, and personal way. Our Italian designers stop nothing short of highlighting these features for either walking the lively streets of Milan or navigating the Tuscan countryside. 
Many of these Italian brands carry the legacy of generations of craftsmanship - combining the wisdom of years past, with styling of the present. The sentiment of “la dolce vita” thrives because it reflects the authentic touch of Italian detail with the country’s vibrant culture. As writer Scarlett Conlon puts it, Italian fashion is “the idea of presenting your best self” with attention to every part of the fabrication. The goal is to help you emulate and celebrate this notion – with pride in your style rooted in the reflection of Italian vibrancy. 
Naples designer Amina Rubinacci founded her iconic Italian fashion house in the 1960s, and now she is one of the most revered designers because of her signature knitwear and high-quality textiles. This summer, she added a colorful touch to her “perfect shirt.” She is also known for her knit jackets like the tweed Ohara, which feels incredible and will fit seamlessly into your summer wardrobe. The legacy of Amina Rubinacci continues with her family at the helm of the business. 

Another wonderful designer we feature is Veneto-born Giada Forte. She co-founded Forte Forte with her brother Paolo to showcase their family values and emphasis on Italian craftsmanship. Their mission is to emphasize precious details to create intimacy between the clothes and the person wearing them. The embroidered cotton voile shirt for example – includes gorgeous colors hand-designed in Veneto and adds a twist to a classic. Another fan favorite is the flared crepe dress with its fitted waist in this bold shade of watermelon. Now, celebrities like Chrissy Tiegen, Jennifer Lopez, and Blake Lively are spotted wearing all the newest Forte Forte trends. 
D. Exterior was founded in Brescia (near fashion mecca Milan) and is known for its intricate knitwear and modern silhouettes. The glam white halter dress for example - the knitted fabric slides right on and feels beautiful on the skin. This short sleeve Chevron “tee” also reflects the high-end fabric and easy style of the extensive collection. Plus, it has a slight shimmer that’s fun from dawn to dusk. The pieces are created in a workshop that originally created knitted swimsuits in the 50s, and grew into a larger full ready-to-wear collection in the mid-80s.
As we reflect on the histories of these Italian designers, it reminds us to think about how our clothes and style should be built with intention and make us feel confident. The collections mentioned above maintain their artisanal integrity as they continue to grow on a global scale. As all of us work to build a wardrobe built on timelessness and quality, Italian designers come to mind because of how they make us feel, and how versatile they are. The best tip I can give you is to try on the pieces in person. They are created by hand, and elegant, but you have to feel them yourself to understand why they’re so special. 
Until next time,