MILAN — Tapping Stefano Pilati last year has given Gildo Zegna an additional spring in his step.
Speaking ahead of the Ermenegildo Zegna show last week, the company’s chief executive officer was upbeat and brimming with energy. “I’m proud and satisfied, happy with a partnership that helps us raise the bar” at a time when business is generally challenging, said Zegna. “It is at such a moment that one must be daring, take risks, do different things, press the accelerator, not the brake. We have not put a stop to our investments approved in November. The challenge is how to manage the complexities effectively, provided one has the resources and the brand,” said Zegna, forecasting a 2014 “better than 2103, but still not easy.” Asked about the second half of this year, the executive said he expects low-single-digit growth, lamenting currency headwinds, for example.
Couture is priced 50 percent above the flagship line, which includes the Sartorial (tailor made) and upper-casual collections. With Couture, Zegna said he is eyeing the “superaffluent” consumer in new markets, explaining that the line will be available in no more than 50 stores globally, including the Milan Via Montenapoleone boutique, which will be expanded with an additional dedicated floor to be unveiled in the first part of 2014.
“We continue to add markets that are always more challenging, demanding and even more exclusive, notwithstanding the crisis,” said Zegna, pointing to social and economic troubles in Brazil and Turkey, in addition to a slowdown in China and India, which “never really took off.”
The executive was pleased with the performance of the U.S. market and said that Couture will also be available in a new 7,560-square-foot Peter Marino-designed boutique in Los Angeles that will open at the end of July, as well as in the Las Vegas and New York units.
In addition to Russia and the Gulf area, Zegna is looking at Africa, which is still “small, but growing,” and where the company plans to open six stores in the next three years, in Nigeria, Angola, South Africa and, possibly, Mozambique.
Zegna underscored how the Couture project allows Italian industry and craftsmanship to pair with “a big designer, whose genius creates a bomb [of creativity] that will allow the group to consolidate its leadership in men’s wear,” citing products all made by hand in Italy, the finest fabrics and attention to details — such as hand-stitched buttonholes or fabric inserts in shirts to avoid the risk of rips — combined with “more modern style and research.” He also called Pilati a “master with colors,” noting that he employed 33 different hues for the collection.
For his part, Pilati described the collection as “a project of evolution, not revolution. This is a company, not a maison, with an approach to design that is different, but stimulating. The lucidity is in maintaining a balance between creativity and what you have to do. I am quite satisfied. I had fun and learned a lot.”
Breaking News: @louisvuitton's men's artistic director @mrkimjones is leaving the French fashion house after nearly 7 years. Jones joined Louis Vuitton in 2011, following a three year tenure as creative director of British luxury goods brand Alfred Dunhill. Jones is to exit Louis Vuitton after showing his fall 2018 collection for the brand in Paris on Thursday. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews