Topsfield's Gia Ventola once outfitted a global pop icon.
She designed a pink pleather tube top, white pleather jacket and pants ensemble that Britney Spears wore a decade ago during her rise to superstardom. That outfit was later adapted and replicated thousands of times over on Barbie dolls.
Other celebrities took notice. Destiny's Child, Pink, Macy Gray and Cher have donned some of Ventola's creations. Her clothes have also graced a New York City runway during Fashion Week and sold in spots throughout Europe and Asia.
Ventola's career has sent her around the country and globe, but the 32-year-old has recently returned to her roots on the North Shore. She will next month open her "flagship boutique" in Peabody.
Located on Sylvan Street, in between the Northshore and Liberty Tree malls, it will bear the designer's full name. Ventola has spent the last six months meticulously redesigning what was once a Sprint cell phone store.
She describes her vision for the 3,000-square-foot space as "Gothic baroque." From the multilevel, industrial ceiling hangs a large, black chandelier near the store's entrance. Its heft stands in contrast to a crop of narrow, curving fixtures that resemble snakes slithering in midair.
Most of the interior is black. It took more than 120 gallons to get the desired coverage, Ventola said. The concrete floors are complemented by a thick, multisection concrete countertop, carved to fit together like pieces of a puzzle. Each copper clothes rack has its own distinct design.
Ventola is responsible for all of it, even the makeup on the Belgium-made male and female mannequins.
Her goal is to combine the unique decor with first-rate service to create a destination, to draw people from throughout the North Shore and beyond.
"Everybody wants a destination," Ventola said. "They want the 25 parking spaces. They want to feel like a million bucks when they walk in."
She will sell her line of denim for the first time in this country. But most of the stock will be provided by "raw" and "new" designers from abroad, New York and Los Angeles. A selection of women's and men's clothing lines along with various accessories — jewelry, hats and belts among them — will be featured.
Ventola promises cutting-edge designs.
"It's all about what's happening today and in the future," she said. "Not what was happening five years ago."
A shopper could spend anywhere from $20 to $2,000.
"My mom could wear this stuff or I could wear it," Ventola said. "It just depends on how you put it together."
Her previous venture was Gia's World, a store she opened in the Liberty Tree and Square One malls. But this will be different, Ventola said. The latest in trends will be presented in an artistic but accessible way.
"You don't want an environment that's snooty because I wouldn't shop there," said Ventola, who will be available for by-appointment consultations.
Ventola is a Masconomet High School graduate who played field hockey before heading to fashion school in New York.
She envisions the Peabody store as the building block for a franchise. She understands the risk, but she is used to taking them.
"I fired my wedding planner two weeks before my wedding, and I designed a whole wedding," Ventola said. The event was then featured as a top 10 wedding in Inside Weddings magazine.
Gia Ventola is scheduled to open on Sept. 20.
"It's all about VIP servicing," Ventola said. "I never want to have anyone walk out this door without making them feel fabulous."