Penelope, a talent scout for innovative creativity

Roberta Valentini, owner of five prestigious concept stores, always chooses the most innovative items. In recent years, fur has become part of her selection

Brescia, at the centre of the world. This is how Roberta Valentini loves to imagine her city, a Lombard province just less than an hour from Milan (Italia). For years, she has been one of the most important buyers in Italy, and today she makes Penelope – her store – one of the best shops in the world.

“I am different and somewhat atypical than the others”

she immediately clarifies. She has an eccentric and highly sophisticated style with a taste for the “unconventional” which characterises her whole personality and indirectly Penelope. We talk to her about her diktat to buying.

“No brand, in the conventional sense of the term. I have always bought new items; items that I believe can become a must and that represent an alternative taste, a product with a high fashion impact.”

Penelope_2The past does not exist for her Penelope stores – of which there are five. There is only the present and a vision of the future. There is no conformity, labels or consumeristic delusions. There is a subversive nature that breaks codes and anachronistic boundaries. Every dress, every accessory, comes from an inexhaustible research without remuneration, always focusing on the new. From the languid femininity of Lanvin to the freshness of Carven, from the architecture of Yohji Yamamoto to the urban volumes of Alexander Wang, through to the conceptual lines of Margiela. And then a multitude of new talented names.
We ask her about fur and she answers frankly:

“for me, fur only exists when it does not follow the traditional rules, and starts to become a fashion item.”

And do you buy it?

“Of course I buy it, because it is a lot of fun when it is modern, light and colourful, and the young and not so young love it. In order to lose that traditional acceptance and to become totally immersed in cutting-edge fashion, the way the fur is used in the clothing item or accessory becomes very important. When designers begin to finally treat it as a fabric, the operation will be completed. Today you can choose to work with very different types of fur, from the simplest to the most precious, such as sheepskin, and you can buy the fur insert as well as the exaggerated all-fur model… it takes imagination.”

Any other characteristic?

“Yes, it is important now more than ever that fur costs are the same as those of a fashion item, and not a fur item.”