Luxury as a Lifestyle

Interview with Gaetano Signoriello. 

Gaetano Signoriello di Casaltrinity graduated in economics and began his career in the “world of Luxury” in 1996 as a Boutique Manager for Calderoni Gioielli, historical jewelry from Milan, founded in 1840. In 1999 he joined the Cartier Boutique in Via Montenapoleone in Milan as a member of the Alta Jewelry Pool. Later he collaborated directly with Gianni Bulgari (former President BVLGARI) for which he curated the launch of the renewed “GB Enigma” Store in Rome. He is currently director of the Boutique Croatto di Venezia, a subsidiary of the historic jewelry shop in Udine founded in 1901.

He has held courses and seminars in Marketing and “Luxury Selling” for companies, trade associations, and universities. He managed the luxury five-star hotel San Montano in Lacco Ameno D’ischia.

Fond of “Retail”, he loves the “beautiful done well” and he is an expert in watches, jewels, and precious stones: as a matter of fact, he has even gone on to become a gemmologist.

He has it in his blood and even for his friends will become a personal shopper and a look maker.

His book “Viamontenapoleone”, was published by Sperling & Kupfer, with a presentation by Cav. Mario Boselli (President of the National Chamber of Italian Fashion) and preface by DOTT.SA Claudia Buccellati (President of the Association of Via Montenapoleone).

Venice, Rome, Milan, Florence: What is the affluent tourist looking for in these cities during your travels? (Handicraft and manufacture, places of art and culture, restaurants and exclusive hotels, etc.)

First of all, when a tourist arrives in one of these wonderful cities, he wants to experience our lifestyle. He loves to observe, touch, possess our “beautiful well done” in all his multifarious possibilities. He loves our infinite creativity. Italy is absolutely the “homeland of Beauty”. The more I visit the world, the more proud I am of my country, of our history, of the potential that everyone envies us for. One day, I am sure, the whole world will visit Italy as a museum of beauty in the open air and can do nothing but get excited. We just have to defend what we have!

Can you tell us an interesting episode that happened to you during the management of the five-star hotel? And another related to the scope of luxury jewelry?

Managing a 5-star hotel was certainly the most exciting experience I’ve ever had, both professionally and personally. Compared to the management of a boutique it’s certainly a more complete activity. But in the center, there is and must always be the “person”. This is what has always fascinated me. The customer, the collaborator, the supplier, the neighbor, the simple visitor, etc. In my opinion, it’s the “person” who deserves attention. I love to meet, observe, listen to people: their desires, their dreams and maybe help them realize them. When I do, believe me, it’s a great satisfaction. If you put the person in the middle, you understand that the only thing we all have in common is that we are different from each other. In the high-end, marketing is very useful. We need dedication, passion, professionalism, attention to detail and people! But even being creative helps! More than giving, I have received so much in my work. I still remember many of those whom I have met, everyone has taught me something, for better or for worse, helping me become what I wanted to be or want to be in the future. 

I have also met many of the “great” people from every area and every nationality, but what I have discovered is that everyone, even in their diversity is similar. One has his fears, his passions, his faults, and his desires. Sometimes wealth cannot achieve all dreams and desires, not even for those who seem to be able to afford everything. In one particular case, I remember a rockstar, loved all over the world, who was moved during the purchase of a gift for his dear mother. Another client who could afford all the wrist-watches in the world in one go but chose to buy one every three months, thus preserving the emotion of every purchase. In my experience at the hotel, I recall those who loved to consider our hotel as ‘ home ‘ and how each home celebrated the happiest family moments. Currently, I live in Venice and I love to consider the Hotel Aman as “home”, where there is an incomparable and noble setting, impeccable, courteous, and attentive service.

In your Book of Tales “Via Montenapoleone. Passing Stories “ There is a glimpse of the fashion quadrilateral between encounters of intriguing characters set in the unreachable world of luxury, fashion, and jewelry. Are these characters you’ve actually met who inspired you?

My book is a figment of imagination. All the characters are invented. I wanted to describe the life and atmosphere that breathes in the “quadrilateral of fashion” in Milan. I didn’t care about faces and names. I think gossip is vulgar because it doesn’t tell you anything new. Also if there is one thing that I have learned well in my work it is that confidentiality is the most beautiful jewel that a customer desires. I’m more curious about the implications behind wealth and notoriety. The fortune of those who do my same job is to come into contact with people who, knowing they are safe, abandon the mask they put on in public and they let themselves go as if they were at home.

The Jewel and the accessory (watches, pens, etc.) made in Italy: what characteristics must they possess to be appreciated by the Italian customer? and what for the foreign customer?

The Italian customer is very demanding. He’s a client who already knows what he wants. He has his own style, he does research, he reads, observes, asks for information, loves quality, appreciates craftsmanship, service, exclusivity, and creativity. Sometimes, only after all of this, will he take the brand into account. The foreign customer often starts from the brand.

How can you turn a purchase into an exclusive lifestyle experience?

For the international and mature customer the experience of the “beautiful well done” is something more interior, a satisfaction that goes beyond the simple possession of an article. Also just having a coffee in absolute solitude in wonderful facilities, such as the Hotel Aman in Venice, the Four Season and Manzoni in Milan, the Hassler in Rome is something that excites me every time. So to answer your question, a product is not only its concreteness, but it is also what it transmits, its history, its craftsmanship, the creativity of those who conceived it, the kindness and professionalism of those who sold it. The “WOW!” effect that will remain indelibly engraved in the customer’s mind and he’ll return over and over again because he lived a unique and personal experience, exclusive, excellent, unrepeatable, “Exquisite”!

What is your favorite object (or more than one) from theWww.florenceglam.com catalog and why?

I very much appreciate the site “www.floreceglam.com” and I recommend it not only for the simplicity that underlies its elegance but also because it also highlights the Tuscan “Made in Italy” and the worldliness of this Tuscan! In particular, I love the experience of gold food, which was absolutely new to me.

Can you give us your personal definition of ‘ luxury ‘?

Many brands don’t like the word “luxury”. Even Chanel and Hermès don’t like to consider themselves “luxury brands”. I also replace it with other words: I prefer to talk about creativity, craftsmanship, exclusivity, quality. Chanel always said, “Luxury is not the opposite of poverty, but the opposite of vulgarity.” In other words, and much more modestly, for me, it is simply to have beautiful taste.

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