Go for the Feisty Frocks, Stay for the Sacred Grotta! Inside Milan’s New La Double J Store

He found this great location, which was a former shoe label’s store designed by Zaha Hadid; it was sculptural and highly futuristic and completely blocked energetically. We tore everything down and opened up the space—I just went with my stomach and my guts as I usually do and reached out to creative people to help me with the project. I would’ve never commissioned a star architect to do it. It’s like making a soup with just one ingredient, how sad is that? It’s not Italian!

Everything I’ve done and accomplished at LaDoubleJ so far has been on a collaborative basis. So the Milanese firm Paolo Badesco oversaw the store’s interiors and found the vintage furniture pieces I’m fond of. As I spend a lot of time in Bali, I wanted to recreate a jungle feel, so I had the walls of the main floor painted in a bright emerald green; the flooring was also hand-painted by Italian artisans in shades of white and green recreating a vintage LaDoubleJ geometric print. On the ceiling, Milan-based artist Joann Tan handcrafted giant stone-paper lotus leaves hung upside down; she also created the wooden mannequins in the windows. They’re in mudra pose—I asked her to make them stand in yoga tree pose but it was too complicated!

The store feels and looks like a self-portrait, like an extension of your home. It’s a merging of the mundane and the spiritual: Upstairs you have lots of commerce going on—all the RTW, the accessories, and the home collection—and downstairs there’s what you’ve called the Sacred Grotta…

Yes! Down here is where I want the magic to happen. I had the walls covered in beautiful murals, painted by a young Romanian artist Aitch. I found her on Instagram. The first drawings I saw of hers were of witches and enchanted forests and were so captivating to me. I wrote her a long letter about my spiritual practice, my vision for the well-being of women. I spoke about transformation, resurgence, rebirth, the whole thing, and she said, ‘OMG you’re crazy! That’s great! Let’s do it!’

So the murals depicting feminine Goddesses were created around her drawings?

Yes. It’s a full-blown celebration of divine feminine energy. In this time of patriarchal values being so over-flexed across cultures—as we cut down forests, as we make more money, as we squish people, as we run run run, do do do, build build build—there’s a real moment now where the feminine is coming back. And those values—the real openness, receptivity, the insightfulness, the intuition, basing your decisions on emotions and not on the logical number-crunching mind—the effort of putting feminine energy at the center of my professional and personal relationships, of my spiritual practice, is the never ending theme of my life. I need to trust it and to share it with other women. I wanted this store to be a shrine to the feminine energy. So I gave Aitch a brief where I talked about archangels, goddesses, high priestesses, all of which symbolize the Divine Mother, the sacred feminine in their different forms: Archangel Haniel, Archangel Ariel, Isis, Kali, Quan Yin, and Green Tara, the female Buddha. Every one of them represents different facets of femininity. I use them daily in my meditation practice. It’s super powerful stuff, it really works.

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