VICENZA, Italy — Gold and jewelry fair Vicenzaoro First 2011, which ended a six-day run Jan. 20, produced some positive signs for the sector.
With 1,500 high-end brands exhibiting in this northeastern Italian city, companies rallied to supersede the challenges of the economic crisis of the past few years — skyrocketing costs of precious metals and depressed demand — but as consumer confidence grows, the outlook is brightening.
For Rosato, the U.S. market is rebounding in a big way. Formerly under the ownership of the now-bankrupt Mariella Burani Fashion Group, Rosato is now controlled by American fine jewelry manufacturer and marketer Richline Group, a unit of Berkshire Hathaway. The change in ownership will allow founder Simona Rosato to focus on brand innovation.
“We can restart and expand in the American market with Richline’s financial support, while they can use us as a base for the European market,” a spokeswoman said.
Rosato’s latest contribution to the American market is its My Dog collection, featuring enamel and Swarovski crystal dog charms worn on silver-bead necklaces.
Also hopeful for a comeback of the American market is Australia-based Autore. While the firm won’t rule out a boutique in the U.S., as the brand is now only available at Neiman Marcus and independent stores, it remains cautious.
“That could be in the cards, although we just opened up our second store in Australia, so the future for us is one day at a time,” said Justin Schwarz, international director of jewelry sales.
Autore’s newest line is Venezia, featuring majestic pieces in South Sea pearls and white diamonds, and inspired by Venetian architecture.
Although most vendors were enthusiastic about U.S. expansion, some were looking elsewhere for growth.
“We haven’t felt like the American market has been what it seems for quite some time, and, to be honest, we feel it’s our responsibility to make our brand known in other countries, especially the Arab world,” said Massimiliano Staurino, managing director of Staurino Fratelli, whose Skyline Collection boasts silver silhouettes of New York City’s twinkling skyscrapers wrapped around enamel cuffs.
Other brands are coping with the slump by drawing on innovative design paired with money-saving strategies. Family-run brand Staurino Fratelli was inspired by its best-selling collections from the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties.
“In order to look forward, we’re looking into their past,” explained marketing manager Christina Knappitsch.
Strategizing was important for Marco Bicego, owner and designer of the Vicenza-based Bicego brand. Created in 1958 by his father, Bicego’s exclusive line for the U.S. market is the Africa Collection, made up of tactile, artisanal pieces in hand-engraved gold, diamonds and pearls.
“It was a good year [in 2010] because of a combination of things,” Bicego said. “After the crisis, everybody had to do their jobs better — everyone from advertisers to marketing, we had to strategize, and I think this was the way to success.”
This year’s trends called on nature, animal forms and sophistication. Brands adapted textures from nature in organic, opulent patterns in matte and pink gold.
Franco Pianegonda, creator and owner of Pianegonda, showed a gold ring fractured with veins, suggestive of wood. Staurino Fratelli’s Zen Collection imitated bamboo and leaf forms, while the gold matte beads of Bicego’s Africa Collection were reminiscent of pebbles.
Vicenza-based Roberto Coin’s take on the animal trend was seen in gold and sapphire octopuses shaped as bracelets and rings, or rings in thick swaths of gold ribbon and jewels, reminiscent of vipers.
Coin added, “There is a saying: ‘The future belongs to the person who believes in the beauty of their own dreams,’ and I keep on dreaming.”
Taking the final spot on the mens’ portion of New York Fashion Week calendar next month will be none other than @tomford. Though he’s shown his men’s wear in New York in the past, this will mark the first time the designer has shown his men’s collection alone during New York Fashion Week: Men’s. His runway show will debut on February 6 at the Park Avenue Armory. #wwdfashion
London-based couture house @ralphandrusso has certainly been in the spotlight, having its dresses worn by @beyonce, Angelina Jolie, Meghan Markle in her engagement photos and more. For couture, Tamara Ralph focused on ornamentation — think: feathers with chain mail, jet embroidery and clusters of pearls and crystals. See the rest of the collection on WWD.com #wwdfashion #couture (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
Minnie Mouse celebrated her 90th birthday by getting her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. For her celebratory luncheon, @coach’s creative director @stuartvevers dressed her in a custom made prairie dress, complete with Vever’s take on the polka dot – black sequined versions – under a cropped motorcycle jacket. The designer also put his own mark on Minnie’s classic red shoes, infusing the color with sparkles and adding some Coach crystals. “We chose colors that were very Minnie and also represented quintessential Coach elements,” said Vevers. #wwdfashion #nationalpolkadotday (📷: George Chinsee)
@nickjonas is unveiling his first-ever apparel collection through a partnership with John Varvatos. The limited-edition capsule, which makes its debut in spring, also marks the first time the designer has collaborated with anyone on a line. “The process in working with Nick is amazing. It’s inspiring to be around someone who is not only connected with the trade that they do, but also with what’s happening in the environment around him, and how that connects to what we do with style,” said Varvatos. (RG: @johnvarvatos) #wwdfashion
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)