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MILAN — Agnona has tapped Alessandra Carra as chief executive officer.
She will join the Italian brand in May and succeeds Bruno Laguardia, who will be appointed a member of the board.
As reported earlier this month, Carra is leaving her role as ceo of Emilio Pucci. LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, parent of the Florence-based firm, appointed Carra in March 2011 to succeed Didier Drouet.
Gildo Zegna, ceo of the Ermenegildo Zegna Group, which took control of Agnona in 1999, praised Carra’s “rooted expertise in the business development of luxury women’s wear.” He told WWD that he was “convinced she has the necessary skills and knowledge to lead this project.”
Prior to Pucci, Carra was ceo of Polo Ralph Lauren Italy and countries under license, a post she’d held since 2004. Previously, she was vice president of marketing, sales and distribution worldwide at Valentino and held positions at Levi Strauss Group and Trussardi.
Zegna has been investing in the development of Agnona, traditionally known for its fine cashmere looks. He tapped Stefano Pilati, who started in January 2013 as creative director of the women’s brand and head of design at Ermenegildo Zegna, with responsibility for that brand’s fashion show as well as for the Ermenegildo Zegna Couture collection.
“I am enthusiastic to be able to be part of this project,” Carra said. “To work on a strategic development plan to support Stefano Pilati’s framework built over the past year will be my priority.”
The executive said “the motor” behind her choice was the Zegna Group’s “strategy and entrepreneurial” asset, and, “undoubtedly,” a creative director such as Pilati.
Zegna emphasized Agnona’s “unique potential” and said the company is “implementing the collection’s structure by introducing categories that were not familiar to the heritage of the brand until the arrival of Stefano Pilati.”
The company is expanding Agnona’s product offer by establishing an accessories line of shoes and handbags. In February, it inked a 10-year licensing agreement with Italian eyewear powerhouse Marcolin Group for the worldwide manufacture and distribution of sunglasses and eyeglasses for the Ermenegildo Zegna and Agnona brands, marking the debut of the latter in the luxury eyewear arena. Agnona’s first 20 glasses models will be introduced this fall.
In terms of distribution, Zegna said that the plan is to “surely” work on the development of Agnona’s retail network, but this “absolutely does not imply we will neglect partnerships with the department stores of different countries.” He added that the focus now is to “create business relations to be developed soundly.” This was echoed by Carra, who also highlighted the “attention” the group has paid to its retail development, without forgetting the wholesale channel, is “surely a cause for reflection” going forward in her role at the house.
The Zegna Group, noted Carra, “represents an excellence of Made in Italy; a company that has been able to transform its brand in a global brand without renouncing its industrial DNA combined with a skillful artisanal craftsmanship.”
Of Laguardia, Zegna said he was a “storied and precious collaborator. In fact, he is not leaving our group: he will remain on the Agnona board and will be a valued adviser.”
Laguardia took on his role at the Italian brand in January 2012, and was previously ceo of Giorgio Armani Corp.’s New York offices from 2007 to 2010. Zegna said he played “a key role” in the initial phase of the brand.