Marie-Louise Scio (left) with actor Alba Rohrwacher at Hotel Il Pellicano. Photo / Getty Images

Meet Marie-Louise Scio, The Hotelier Behind Birkenstock's Luxury Collab

Marie-Louise Scio, the creative director of legendary Pellicano hotels, shares her chic rendition of the classic sandal

It is one of the most glamorous names in the world of hospitality, a home away from home, immortalised in the retro photographs of photographer Slim Aarons.

For Hotel Il Pellicano's CEO and creative director Marie-Louise Scio, the chance to partner with footwear brand Birkenstock was an opportunity to elevate the humble sandal to the next level.

THROWBACK: Noelle McCarthy & The Big Birkenstock Question

Inspired by the unique heritage of the Hotel Il Pellicano in Tuscany, Marie-Louise's collection celebrates the life and colour of idyllic Italian summer holidays.

 "Birkenstock for me is a way of thinking, similar to mine and to our hotels. Less is more. It’s not about trends and seasons it’s about timeless quality."

Birkenstock x Il Pellicano raffia. Photo / Supplied

Tell us about how the process came about working with Birkenstock CEO Oliver Reichert and his team. What was that like?
My dream has been for many years to design a Birkenstock sandal that reflected our hotel style. A mutual friend put me in contact with them and my dream came true!

What were some of the things you learned about the brand that you hadn’t known about before or perhaps surprised you to discover?
The manic attention to detail and the pursuit of the highest quality.

The material used for the collection is also special. Tell us why you decided to use raffia, suede and satin?
I’ve been wearing Birkenstocks all the time in the summer, but I needed a more elegant version of the shoe that could be worn day and night. So we created these with elevated materials.

Birkenstock x Il Pellicano satin. Photo / Supplied

What is the process like for you when it comes to collaboration with other brands or people. What shared values do you look for?
I always look for an understanding in quality, innovation and timeless elegance.

The collection has a very fun and chic spirit to it. How would you describe each style? What is your personal favourite from the collection?
All my inspiration comes from Hotel Il Pellicano. Blue comes from the colour of the sea, the raffia was chosen as I was looking for a timeless material. I was dreaming also of an elegant version of the Birkenstock to be worn during the summer nights and silk came into my mind as a new material.

They are black, because it’s super elegant and very easy to wear, but also red and purple like the amazing bougainvillea flowers all around Hotel Il Pellicano. For the yellow shoes, I took inspiration from another colour of the Pellicano — it is famous for its white and yellow striped towels, for example.

Hotel Il Pellicano. Photo / Supplied

You’ve just had a successful run taking over the atrium of the newly opened Galeries Lafayette store during couture fashion week — how was the response to that?
We are super happy about the collaboration with Gallerie Lafayette, and the response was absolutely great! It has been an honour being there with our collection.

You’ve had a big year so far and along with the collaboration, the addition of a third hotel — the stunning Il Mezzatore on the island of Ischia. What has the response been like since you opened?
We are very happy about our first months on the island! It’s an exciting challenge and for sure we are having very good results, but we do have a margin to grow and improve the experience for our guests.

What does style mean to you?
Style is a very personal, it’s what resonates to your eye. To me I just wear things I feel comfortable in, and nothing that I “have to wear” because it’s in fashion. As a principle, I enjoy timeless pieces, nothing that goes in or out of fashion or season.

• The Il Dolce Far Niente collection for spring/summer 2019 collection is available exclusively at Workshop.


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