BEIJING — Etro SpA is planning to double its presence in Greater China this year, as the family-run company charts a new course in the wake of general manger Ippolito Etro’s sudden departure earlier this month.
The addition of eight directly managed stores will see the brand open its first shops in the central and eastern cities of Zhengzhou and Ningbo, while Shanghai, Hong Kong, Macau, Chengdu and Guangzhou will all get a second or third store.
A number of franchises are also planned, Jacopo Etro, the company’s vice president for global communications, told WWD ahead of a fashion show and retrospective here Friday night.
“The brand was not communicated in the right way [in China] before. Today we want to communicate it in the right way, in a deep way, and this is going to be our starting point for being more present in the market,” Etro said. “Chinese people do not know what our brand stands for. They will see what we have done in the past and what we are doing now, and they will understand the richness of our fabrics and the richness of our product.”
Etro opened its first directly run store two years ago and now has eight such stores around the country. This, however, is a relatively small footprint compared to some of the company’s competitors, several of which have been here for more than a decade.
While China often accounts for 20 percent or more of the revenues at some firms, the world’s second-largest economy currently only represents 3 percent, or 12 million euros, of Etro’s global sales. This is equivalent to $16.6 million at current exchange.
“We are doing this a bit late....We are trying to catch up,” said Etro, who is currently sharing his brother’s former duties with his father, the company’s president and founder, Gerolamo “Gimmo” Etro.
Two of Gimmo Etro’s other children, son Kean and daughter Veronica, also work at the company as the creative directors for the men’s and women’s wear lines, respectively. All four were in Beijing for the big event, which was attended by Chinese actors Zhang Ziyi, Huang Xiaoming and Zhang Jingchu, and other celebrities.
Zhang Ziyi wore a pale blue cocktail dress, while Huang sported a dark blue suit, the jacket of which was held shut by a metal clasp. Both outfits were from Etro’s spring collection.
The evening began with a dinner catered by Enrico Cerea, the head chef at Da Vittorio in Bergamo, Italy, and was followed by a display of the brand’s fall collection and a retrospective of 100 looks from Etro’s earliest days to the present time.
Yet a small question mark hangs over the timing of Etro’s Chinese expansion. The economy is slowing and the country’s ruling Communist party is on an anticorruption, antiluxury drive in order to soothe social tensions.
Additionally, there is the issue of finding a replacement for Ippolito Etro — former chief executive officer and chief financial officer in everything but name.
Jacopo Etro said the company is looking at candidates but that it will probably take until the end of the year to hire the two people needed to fill his brother’s shoes. No one from the family will take on Ippolito’s duties permanently, he said. “When you do things in a family way it is like cooking your dishes at home. It’s like, ‘Let’s add this ingredient see how it turns out.’ We need a different kind of outlook now. We need experienced chefs to come into kitchen to take us to next level,” he explained.
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)