MILAN — Global markets may be gyrating, but Italian fashion firms continue to see an initial public offering in their future.
Moncler, which shelved an IPO last year; Pianoforte Holding, which comprises accessories brand Carpisa, innerwear and beachwear brand Yamamay, and swimwear brand Jaked, and men’s wear group Stefano Ricci all confirmed they continue to eye a stock-market flotation down the road. Executives from those firms were among the speakers at the Pambianco Conference Tuesday at the Milan Stock Exchange, who also included François-Henri Pinault, chairman and chief executive officer of PPR.
Remo Ruffini, chairman and ceo of Moncler, said the “Bourse has a great value,” in terms of visibility of the brand and recruitment of human resources, for example. “A listing remains our goal,” he said.
Asked on the sidelines of the conference about the future of the group’s other brands, which include Marina Yachting, Henry Cotton’s and Cerruti 1881, Ruffini said they are also “performing well,” and different options are under study to “create value, perhaps two companies or one within the other.”
Francesco Pinto, ceo of Pianoforte Holding, said the stock exchange has been a goal for the group for a long time. “First we had to be strong at home to be credible outside,” said Pinto. Italy currently accounts for 85 percent of sales, which are expected to reach 291 million euros, or $372.6 million at current exchange, in 2012. For this reason, the next step is to build an international market and Pinto forecast an IPO between 2014 and 2015. Intesa Sanpaolo has a 10 percent stake in the group, which counts a total of 1,201 stores, of which 1,056 are franchised.
Exports account for 92 percent of Stefano Ricci’s sales, which last year totaled 57 million euros, or $79.2 million at average exchange. China accounts for 27 percent of sales. The company has been investing in retailing and plans to have 29 stores by the end of the year and 41 units in 2013. Ceo Niccolò Ricci estimated the company could list on the stock exchange in two years.
Conversely, Pier Luigi Loro Piana, ceo of textile and apparel group Loro Piana, conceded the company had thought about the Bourse 13 years ago when it wanted to diversify in retail. “We found too many differences between finance and industry, and the project fell through. We are not thinking of going public now and we are not looking at opening up to outside investors,” he said.
Stefano Sassi, ceo of Valentino, said the official closing of the sale of the label to Mayhoola for Investments, an investment vehicle backed by a private investor group from Qatar, took place earlier in the day. He said the company expects to close 2012 with a 25 percent increase in revenues, reaching between 370 million and 380 million euros, or $473.8 million and $486.6 million.
“Made in Italy has nothing to do with nostalgia,” said Pinault, adding it is not about “astute marketing,” but is, on the contrary, “part of a strategic orientation, it’s about modernity and innovation. It is essential for quality to preserve artisanal tradition.”
Pinault said four brands under the PPR umbrella — Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Brioni and Sergio Rossi — account for 80 percent of the group’s sales and 90 percent of recurring operating income. His speech came a day after PPR split with the designer of one of its other brands — Nicolas Ghesquière at Balenciaga. Pinault declined to answer questions about the move, rushing out the door the moment his speech was over to catch a plane back to Paris.
In his speech, Pinault pointed to the challenges connected to the fact that Italy’s economy relies on a web of small and medium-size, often family-owned, companies. “If these small businesses are weakened, if the new generation of apprentices is missing, the whole edifice will be weakened,” he said.
Earlier in the morning, Gaetano Miccichè, general director of Intesa Sanpaolo bank, said “the dimension” of Italy’s companies is the “main problem,” which does not allow them to invest heavily in logistics, ads and organization, for example.
Pinault said he believes the development of Chinese, Indian or Brazilian luxury brands “is inevitable” and has “already started.” Not in all categories and at the same speed, but he views the craft of porcelain or jewelry making, and working silk as leading to the birth of luxury brands in China, for example.
“We have no reason to worry about this change. The luxury market has very promising prospects ahead of it, provided that all Made in Italy brands stick to what makes them unique,” said Pinault.
Asked about potential acquisitions, he said he was not after acquisitions per se. “There must be a vision, each brand has a precise role, and our brands never overlap, each is different,” said Pinault.
He confirmed that PPR “has the ambition, not the goal” to double sales of the group in 2020 to 24 billion euros, or $30.7 billion at current exchange. “We will analyze market by market, category by category, and the acquisitions are more possible in the sportswear sector rather than in luxury, where the companies already part of the group could register a growth between 20 and 30 percent,” said the executive.
Mario Boselli, head of the Italian Chamber of Fashion, praised Pinault’s support of Italian production and remarked on how Italian companies are focused on selling outside the country. “It’s a necessity to run towards foreign markets, in proportion to the serious internal crisis,” he said.
“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