JJ Martin, a Milan-based journalist, vintage collector, and creative director for La DoubleJ, is a master at scoping out the very best of Italian fashion and design. That’s why it came as no surprise when her brand decided to team up with the luxurious Tuscan seaside Hotel Il Pellicano to create a summer capsule collection of pieces that reflect its signature aesthetic, which has long lured the world’s most glamorous jet setters. Ahead of the collection’s launch and exclusive pop-up shop at BG, we talked to Martin about her connection to the hotel, her favorite spots in Italy, and more.
Bergdorf Goodman: What do you love most about Italy?
JJ Martin: What I love most about Italy are the people who are kind, friendly, passionate, obsessed over food and quality details, and yet totally relaxed about timetables, bank accounts and to do lists. They are truly remarkable people and I’ve learned so much from them having been a type-A New Yorker for many years prior to moving to Milan in 2001. I hope their effortless attitude toward the good life has rubbed off on me a bit.
Bergdorf Goodman: What are some of your favorite places to go when vacationing in Italy?
JJM: My favorite destinations in Italy are of course The Hotel Il Pellicano, where I go once a year to visit the owner Marie Louise Scio. I also always go to Capri once a year. I’m lucky enough to have friends who have a beautiful home overlooking the sea, but I also really love the Hotel Scalinatella or the JK Place. Lunch at Da Luigi in Positano is not to be missed. I also love visiting Sicily—I go a few times a year either to the island of Pantelleria (where all I pack is a few swimsuits and kaftans) or to Scicli and Noto, which are filled with 16th century baroque churches that I love. The energy in Sicily is very powerful and I always do a lot of meditation and prayer work when I’m there. When I’m back in Milan, I’m at our DoubleJ offices on the canal and am usually popping out for drinks with friends at any of the outdoor bars in town like the Hotel Bulgari or LuBar.
BG: What is your connection to Hotel Il Pellicano? Any great memories there?
JJM: The owner Marie Louise is a dear friend of mine and has been a supporter of La DoubleJ since we first launched our new clothing with vintage prints two years ago. She hosted us at the hotel in Porto Ercole for two pop-up shops and it was remarkable—not only are the setting, food, views and emerald water unique in Italy (and the world), but they also have an amazing clientele who got introduced to La DoubleJ early on. I’m so grateful to her!
BG: How did the idea for the capsule collection come about?
JJM: One of my guiding principles at La DoubleJ is to collaborate with amazing Italians who are doing excellent things—whether it’s Mantero, our silk manufacturers in Lake Como, or Salviati, our new Murano glass partners in Venice, or Marie Louise, who is the queen of high end hospitality. We had a very fun pop-up last year at Bergdorf Goodman and I wanted to bring her and her incredible hotel into the mix. So we began to think of transporting the Hotel Il Pellicano to Bergdorf’s 5th floor—complete with blown up images of the hotel as well as a recreation of their amazing bar. It all fits in perfectly with our summer collection as well as our brand new swim line.
BG: What was the inspiration behind the capsule collection?
JJM: The Pellicano is known for its yellow and white stripes that are on their beach towels and seaside bar. We took these iconic stripes and applied them to a dress, beach bag and pouch that were already in our spring collection. The dress we picked was already named Dinner at the Pellicano—which is very ironic since I created that dress months before Marie Louise and I discussed doing this pop-up together.
BG: La Double J is known for its prints and patterns. Can you talk a bit about the patterns in this capsule?
JJM: The prints this season all come from the Mantero silk archive in Lake Como. Everything is a vintage pattern but has been reprinted on brand new fabrics and made into new dresses, tops, silk pants, and even swimwear. We also have introduced a brand new porcelain plate and table linen collection—also based on vintage prints, but slightly re-designed by my team.
BG: What is your favorite piece in the collection? How do you plan to wear it?
JJM: For sure my favorite piece is the Dinner at the Pellicano dress in the yellow and white stripes. I envision wearing that style to the Pellicano for a chic summer night supper with flat sandals and big vintage earrings. I’m also obsessed with the long sleeved surf suits, which I will wear to the beach. I hate getting too much sun so this is perfect coverage!