MILAN — As if any further reminder were needed of the financial crisis’ growing toll on the industry, Milan Fashion Week kicked into full swing with news that IT Holding SpA had filed for the Italian equivalent of Chapter 11.
The owner of the Gianfranco Ferré, Malo and Extè labels followed its production and licensing unit Ittierre SpA into administration on Thursday after last week filing for bankruptcy protection under the Italian equivalent of Chapter 11. Italy’s Minister of Economic Development Claudio Scajola approved the request, widening the brief of the three administrators he appointed Feb. 12 to restructure Ittierre.
The move by IT Holding is likely to set off a scramble by companies eager to snap up its brands — particularly Ferré, which shows today, and Malo, which is holding off-calendar presentations by appointment.
A spokesman for IT Holding said Thursday it was too early to say what the administrators planned to do to ease the group’s net debts, which, as of Sept. 30, totaled 295.4 million euros, or $376.7 million.
But according to sources, a dossier has been sent out to potential investors hoping to solicit bids for part or all of the group. A European fund is already eyeing knitwear label Malo, while Change Capital Partners has renewed its interest in Ferré, IT Holding’s marquee label, sources said. Meanwhile Doha, Qatar-based fund Abu Issa Holding told an Italian newspaper earlier this month it too could be interested in Ferré — meaning by next season, at least two of Italy’s high profile fashion labels could have new owners.
IT Holding submitted its petition under the Marzano Law, which allows companies to be placed under emergency administration and reorganized to stay in business.
“The extension…is designed to protect the group and continue its activities,” Scajola said of his decision. “With over 1,800 employees, [IT Holding] possesses a know-how, which needs to be preserved and developed in a way that allows the further development of an activity in a sector, which is fundamental for Made in Italy and for our country’s in world markets.”
On Wednesday, Ittierre said it obtained a 30 million euro, or $38.3 million at current exchange, line of credit from five Italian banks, after filing for protection under the same law earlier this month. The company said the lifeline would allow it to “reactivate its industrial and commercial activities in the spirit of safeguarding its day-to-day operations.”
Sources close to the Italian fashion group said the new bank facility and Thursday’s decision represented a new dawn for Ittierre with IT Holding chairman and majority shareholder Tonino Perna frozen out.
“In this financial environment, Ittierre achieved new financing in record timing. With the old ownership completely out of the picture and new money, the company is back on its feet,” sources said.
Perna holds 60.6 percent of IT Holding via PA Investments SA and a further 1 percent through GTP Holding SpA, a separate vehicle. PA has debts of around 140 million euros, or $179.4 million.
Ittierre, which employs 772 people and accounts for around two-thirds of IT Holding’s revenues, operates under license the Just Cavalli, VJC Versace, Versace Sport, C’N’C Costume National and Galliano labels, although the business ground to a standstill earlier this month after running out of cash. It still owes licensors royalties.
Roberto Cavalli, whose Just Cavalli label is Ittierre’s biggest license, generating annual revenues in 2007 of around 240 million euros, or $329 million, canceled the young line’s runway show this week, blaming the disruption at Ittierre.
@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)