It is a clear day on the island of Giglio. From the top of the tower of his unusual maritime residence – a nineteenth-century stone lighthouse converted into a home – Gherardo Felloni says he can see almost all the islands of the archipelago: Elba, Montecristo, Giannutri. «Lands of illustrious exiles, starting from Napoleon, and forced quarantines. Like mine, after all: I left Paris in early March convinced of spending a weekend; and here I am with my boyfriend, weeks later, not yet knowing when we can leave. A nice cold shower, for everyone. But I can only consider myself lucky to find myself stuck in a place so special for me ».
About seven years ago, Felloni set out in search of a buen retiro where he could spend months cultivating the land, contemplating the sea, and creating fashion. Alone, as a couple, or in the company of a few, selected friends. In his fantasy, he had longed for the shapes of a castle. Then, in 2014, the unexpected encounter with the Vaccarecce lighthouse. «A castle, that ruined stone farmhouse, just wasn’t. But with that long lighthouse tower attached it looked a bit like it. An impression corroborated by the large caliber of the facade stones and its location on the top of a hill. So I decided to break the delay and buy it ». In the following years, during short stays, he furnished it as “it is done with the places where one hopes to spend a lot of time one day”, laboriously transporting design objects purchased at auction to the island: large liberty mirrors, armchairs by Osvaldo Borsani in green velvet and others by Luigi Caccia Dominioni in mahogany and black leather; Mackintosh table and chairs in ash; Venini Murano crystal chandeliers. In the bedrooms, on the other hand, it places a Gio Ponti wooden hotel bed with attached shelves and bedside tables, and brass Pomodoro beds.
Francesco Jodice, “Capri. The Diefenbach Chronicles, # 014 “, 2013.
© F. JODICE, COURTESY MICHELA RIZZO VENICE GALLERY.
But until this unexpected turn of events that locks him in his beacon indefinitely, the Parisian commitments – first the position of director of the shoe collections of Dior and then, from March 2018, as creative director of Roger Vivier – they prevent him from staying there for long periods. “Who would have thought, just a few days ago, that it would have been a microscopic entity to finally allow me to make this dream come true!” «Early in the morning I go down to the garden to take care of the lemon trees and other plants. It will be because I grew up in the countryside, near Arezzo, I need a contact with the earth to feel fully happy: I enjoy hoeing, feeding it, planting it. Not at all obvious, I found a way to cultivate this passion even in Paris where, about ten years ago, I bought a house with a small attached land “. After the gardening tasks, it’s time to go back to the lighthouse, sit in front of the computer and do fashion.
Opening: Gherardo Felloni at the Faro delle Vaccarecce, his retirement on the Isola del Giglio. Aretino, from 2018 to the creative guide of Roger Vivier, has lived in Paris since 2009, where he worked for Dior, and then became, in 2014, creative director of Miu Miu accessories.