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.”
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
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion