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René Caovilla to Mark 80th Year

The brand is gearing up to celebrate with the third generation in place at the head of the company and plans to expand globally.

MILAN — The René Caovilla brand will turn 80 next year and is gearing up to celebrate with the third generation in place at the head of the company and plans to expand globally.

This story first appeared in the October 10, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Events to mark the anniversary are slated to take place in Venice, where the brand is manufactured, and in New York, in addition to other cities in Europe early next year. There also will be two capsule collections for department stores such as Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus.

Introducing his first solo collection in Milan during fashion week for spring, chief executive officer Edoardo Caovilla said the pieces have a more youthful and contemporary edge. For example, sneakers and espadrilles with crystals were displayed alongside the feminine jewel sandals the brand is known for.

“It’s more about additional pieces, rather than drastic changes, and it’s in response to our customers’ requests,” said Caovilla, who joined the company as chief operating officer in 2009 and was appointed creative director this year. His father, René Fernando, will continue to hold the title of president.

With about 30 doors, the U.S. is Caovilla’s largest wholesale market, accounting for about 35 percent of wholesale business. In the U.S., wholesale revenues climbed 53 percent with the spring collection compared to the previous year. There are also boutiques in New York, Dallas, Miami and Los Angeles.

René Caovilla is leveraging strong growth in the Asia-Pacific region over the past 18 months and has plans to open 10 stores in the next two years in key locations, including Hong Kong, Macau, Chongqing, Chengdu and Xi’an. In June, a store opened in Shanghai at new luxury mall L’Avenue and the company counts three franchised units in Beijing, Shanghai and Taipei.

Sales in 2012 rose 24 percent to 15 million euros, or $19.8 million at average exchange. In the first half of 2013, revenues climbed 32 percent.

Caovilla said he is looking at tripling sales in six or seven years through global expansion and future projects that include the launch of jewelry in spring 2015, followed by eyewear and perfumes.