MILAN — Textile giant Luigi Botto Group is not letting its recent financial woes become a stumbling block.
With the help of a pool of banks and a 10 million euro, or $12.5 million, increase in capital, the group is poised to recover lost ground over the next three years, pushing the envelope on technology and exclusivity.
"We want to offer a positive, optimistic message," Pierpaolo Leone, president of the group, said at a press conference last week. "We are aiming at a high-end product that none of the low-cost manufacturing countries can offer."
Weighed down by a $90 million investment in new machines, a weak dollar and increased competition from China, Luigi Botto has amassed a debt of 80 million euros, or $100 million at current exchange rates. This will now be repaid to the banks, which have agreed to inject the 10 million euros in the company over the next seven years. The group, based in Biella, includes Lanificio Luigi Botto, Lanificio Fratelli Fila 1911, Gartex and Filatura di Crosa.
At the end of last year, the group announced it was not going to participate in the February edition of Italy's Pitti Filati exhibit, creating a stir in the industry.
"We'll be showing at the upcoming July edition," Leone said. "Our exports to the U.S. dropped 50 percent as a consequence of the strong euro, but we hope to expand in the Far East, which will increasingly become one of the most significant areas for us."
As for China, Leone, who believes in production entirely made in Italy, said, "The Chinese offer to regulate their exports is welcome, but not enough. In any case, taxes are a transitory tool and do not cut the problem at its roots. On a positive note, China is also a potential client. The problems it causes today could turn into advantages tomorrow."
Leone said exports currently account for 70 percent of sales.
Last year, the group reported sales of 100 million euros, or $125 million, a 20 percent drop compared with 2003. Leone said production never stopped during the two-year financial crisis, which resulted in laying off 40 percent of the group's employees, or about 350 people. For 2005, Leone said he is hoping to maintain sales in line with last year, followed by growth in 2006 and 2007.At Pitti Filati in July, Luigi Botto will present its new XT-Four wool yarn that is more elastic, more pliable and has greater pilling resistance. "We've expanded this technology to brushed cashmere," said Leone.
Also, Luigi Botto is banking on a cross-dyeing technique, whereby colors are mixed at the end of the process, offering more diversity.
"This saves time, and there is no need for stocking," Leone said. "The client is not obliged to order 300 kilos per color in advance, which was our minimum before. We are able to deliver in less than 30 days, compared to 60 days before, and the amounts can be small, even 10 or 20 kilos."
@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)