MILAN — Gianfranco Ferré is to launch jewelry under license with Damiani, further signaling that Ferré owner IT Holding SpA, which is in government-backed administration, is returning to health.
“This is a project which pleases us greatly for two reasons,” said Andrea Ciccoli, one of IT Holding’s three commissioners, at Ferré’s headquarters here Tuesday. “Firstly, it is born out of a strong creative idea and therefore a strong managerial team behind Ferré.…Secondly, it falls within a program of rebooting and relaunching the Ferré group, which, with this partnership with the Damiani group, continues to show itself to be a brand with an important history and a big future.”
IT Holding, which also owns the Malo and Extè brands and operates under license the Just Cavalli, C’N’C Costume National, Galliano, VJC Versace and Versace Sport labels via its subsidiary Ittierre SpA, entered the Italian equivalent of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February.
The predominantly women’s jewelry collection in gold or silver, with diamonds and other gemstones, will bow on the runway in September as part of the spring women’s ready-to-wear show and retail for between 500 and 10,000 euros, or $700 and $14,000.
“The idea is that of covering an area of the market, starting with silver, which in the last few years has generated very satisfying sales results,” Ferré chief executive officer Michela Piva said.
Ferré creative directors Tommaso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi will oversee the design of the line, focusing on four themes inspired by late founder Gianfranco Ferré’s architectural style, including his signature pin.
Graphic interpretations of the safety pin appear in all Ferré collections, from quilted bags to jacquard stoles, men’s ties and eyewear. The other jewelry themes are “embrace,” “pagoda” and “mosaic.”
The extension into jewelry is a first for Ferré and Aquilano and Rimondi. Gianfranco Ferré, who died in 2007, designed a capsule collection in 2005, but it was never commercialized.
“This is the start of a very good creative experiment,” said Damiani vice president Giorgio Damiani. “We certainly believe it can become a splendid collaboration.”
The line will be distributed through Ferré boutiques and multibrand jewelers worldwide and via Damiani’s Rocca stores.
Asked about their plans for IT Holding, Ciccoli and co-commissioners Roberto Spada and Stanislao Chimenti said any hypothesis was premature — they have until the end of August to present a restructuring plan — although they confirmed that Italy’s Mediobanca and Sinergetica had been nominated advisers. However, according to sources, the commissioners are keen to keep Ferré as part of IT Holding and will likely off-load Malo, which has attracted interest from more than a dozen potential buyers, and possibly Extè.