MILAN — Furla has aggressive plans to expand in an increasingly crowded accessories market and to develop as a lifestyle brand, eyeing growth prospects in Asia.
“We are organizing ourselves for the big leap, we are at a turning point and we are ready to face the challenge,” said chief executive officer Eraldo Poletto.
Furla, which is showing its spring collection on Friday, can leverage “an extraordinary asset, the history, Italian heritage, and made-in-Italy creativity which is necessary but not enough; we must be more aggressive in our methods and in our determination,” said the executive, who returned to the Bologna-based brand in May after a brief stint in the same role at Alfred Dunhill.
Poletto was upbeat, as he believes Furla can win in the premium segment, also given the strong middle class that is emerging in Asia. “This is our moment,” he said. Asia accounts for 13 percent of sales, excluding Japan, which represents 27 percent. In the first half of 2013, the Asia-Pacific region showed 32 percent growth and Japan was up 31 percent.
Earlier this year, Furla established a joint venture with the Fung Group to open 100 stores in Greater China in four years. There are now 20 units in that market.
Last year, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose 28 percent to 32 million euros, or $41 million at average exchange, on revenues that climbed 18 percent to 212 million euros, or $271.3 million.
Furla has consistently invested in its retail chain, which now comprises 328 stores, of which 153 are directly operated, and the brand is available at 1,290 points of sale globally.
A boutique on London’s Regent Street will open in 10 days and Poletto revealed the company has plans to open a store in spring on New York’s Fifth Avenue, which will replace the unit on Madison Avenue. “We are thinking of other stores in New York; there is potential downtown,” he said. The U.S. accounts for 9 percent of sales and grew 31 percent in the first half this year.
Italy, which accounts for 24 percent of sales, grew 10 percent in the first half.
Poletto firmly denied any immediate plans to go public, despite his view on “thinking as a big company,” or any investor interest. “We must become bigger, small is no longer good and you need an important critical mass, but this is a healthy company that has no debt and is self-funded,” he said.
To build the lifestyle component, Poletto said the company is looking into other categories, especially shoes.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast