MILAN — The Valentino machine is starting to kick into high gear.
This story first appeared in the December 20, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Valentino will launch a young line for women and men for next fall that will be produced by SINV SpA, confirming reports in WWD.
“This will be a leisurewear collection,” said Michele Norsa, Valentino’s chief executive officer, in a phone interview. Norsa compared the line to Emporio Armani and D&G in terms of market range. However, he declined to reveal the name of the new collection until the end of next month, when the line will be presented to buyers. “We want to create curiosity and introduce an element of surprise, but I can say it will not be called Valentino jeans.”
A source close to the company speculated the name will “have something to do with the color red” — a Valentino signature over the years. Norsa said that although there will be some denim, the line will include a wide range of styles and fabrics, from knits to shirts and pants. “These will not be basic, but functional outfits that can be worn daily, with a fashion edge and details such as bows or ruches,” he said.
Valentino Garavani said in a statement that he and his team “enjoyed applying the more classical elements of Valentino couture to a line aimed at a young customer and in a sportswear price range.”
“You’ll see laces, silk and embroideries — typical of my work — on jeans, parkas and T-shirts,” he said.
Norsa added that the designer will be very much involved in the project.
“He loves the product and his challenge now is to draw a younger customer to his world,” said Norsa.
Shortly after Marzotto’s purchase of the venerable house from Holding di Partecipazioni Industriali in the spring, Norsa outlined some plans for the house, including a focus on retail expansion, particularly in Asia, and building the accessories division. Another of his main goals was to launch a younger line at Valentino.
“This is the only fashion segment that sees a double-digit growth today,” said Norsa, noting that this line will not overlap with Valentino Roma, which he described as a “diffusion, formal line for a more mature customer.”
The new line will be distributed around the world and Valentino expects retail sales of $300 million in the next five years.
In 2001, Valentino registered sales of $115.7 million, resulting in a gross margin of $72.3 million and a net loss of $24.9 million.
Another license signed under the Marzotto ownership in October is for production of luxury timepieces.
Norsa spoke highly of SINV and Ambrogio Dalla Rovere, the entrepreneur who founded the company in 1975 — calling it Sportswear International at that time. “Dalla Rovere looks to the future, has an exceptional experience in the production of informalwear collections and is extremely correct and trustworthy for a long-term relationship,” he said.
Norsa said the company also has a sartorial competence, with its Sartorie Riunite division, which produces VictorVictoria, and pointed out that’s not often the case with companies that make jeans and sportswear.
SINV controls the existing Sportswear International and Neo Res units, which produce Moschino Jeans, Voyage Passion, Krizia Jeans, See by Chloé and JPG by Gaultier. SINV also owns 30 percent of Moschino, 20 percent of Voyage and all of VictorVictoria.
In October, the company became a Donna Karan licensee for DKNY Jeans for men and women in Europe, Asia, the Mideast, Australia and New Zealand. SINV is located in Carré, outside Vicenza, in northeastern Italy, and recently inaugurated a plant in Schio, close to Carré. Norsa noted that the proximity to Valdagno, where Marzotto is based, somewhat contributed to the signing of the agreement. “We have things in common and know each other’s companies well,” he said.
“This is an important step for us, a pillar to build the future on,” said Francesco Dalla Rovere, who joined his father’s company four years ago and founded Neo Res. Dalla Rovere said in a phone interview that plans for distribution of Valentino’s new line were still forming, but conceded that it will be “selective,” including Valentino stores around the world and limited department stores and multibrand boutiques. He also said the first collection will include some prints from the Sixties and Seventies and luxurious materials such as cashmere. “It will go back to values from the past,” he said.
Norsa said Valentino will invest $15 million in communication to promote the line over the next five years, with a separate ad campaign.