THE JEWELLERY LADY: «THIS IS THE REAL KINGDOM OF LUXURY»

Chantal Montanarella is the manager of the De Grisogono boutique: «Costa Smeralda is the most international place in Europe».

Arriving in Costa Smeralda to get to know a hugely fascinating place that she always considered as unique in Europe with its extraordinary internationality, the destination of the world’s most famous and important people, not to mention, the wealthiest, Chantal Montanarella embarked on her big adventure.

How did the Costa Smeralda venture begin?
A few months after working for De Grisogono, my first project was to create a showroom here, against everyone’s will, even that of Mr. Gruosi. In the end, in desperation and seeing my determination, he gave me carte blanche. I arrived here on 17th August 2001 for a seven-day show. In consideration of its success the show was extended for a month. My idea was taken up again in later years with another show for an even longer period and, soon after, the store opened with a view to strengthening the brand in such a strategic place as Porto Cervo. This was how De Grisogono’s Costa Smeralda adventure began and, at the time, there were no other brands except Bulgari, which opened its store at more or less the same time.

You represent one of the most prestigious global brands in this symbolic luxury location of Porto Cervo. Nowadays, what do customers ask for in a jewellery store like De Grisogono?
Obviously, they demand quality, exclusiveness and elegance. But there is now something new: customers are asking for services and we must be available for everything and everyone. Now, when customers come to us, it is not only to buy jewellery. They also come because they feel at home, they trust us, they know that they can count on us for advice, to resolve a problem which may involve finding a table in a restaurant or a spot on a wonderful beach. In short, we are totally there for our customers and they appreciate that.

Is your observatory a privileged one?
Absolutely. Some of the world’s most important and famous people have been here and come here. They feel good with us, welcome and looked after. They never have the sensation of being obliged to buy something and this is invaluable.

What is the best story in these Smeralda summers at the head of a brand that everyone would love to wear?
The Al Saud family, with today’s King Salman, has always come to Porto Cervo and the boutique. One day I got a slightly nasty e-mail from Geneva which accused me of not having treated the then Prince Salman, who had arrived by boat in the port, with the appropriate hospitality. I obviously knew perfectly well that Salman had arrived. The strange thing was that, at the very moment that I received this e-mail, the Prince walked into the boutique and greeted everyone with open arms. This shows how familiar relations with the big names on the planet can be and how the store is a reference point for them, particularly in terms of human and personal relationships.

What is your favourite jewel?
My dog. But if we are talking about the store, here there are many priceless and artistic items. We look forward to you coming to admire them! (Gigi Maestri)