By  on January 2, 2014

MILAN — Thank you, Uncle Sam.

Soaring business in the U.S. helped the Italian men’s wear industry weather a stagnant local economy and a slowdown in Asia in 2013, and executives are generally hopeful about prospects for 2014.

“The U.S. is the market that is showing the biggest growth, with constant double-digit gains in all categories,” said Versace chief executive officer Gian Giacomo Ferraris, noting that the brand’s iconic prints, leather products and shoes are hot selling items in the region. The Milan-based firm is also banking on the potential of Japan and Korea, where there is “strong” demand for Versace’s men’s wear, said Ferraris, adding that there are plans to open dedicated stores in these countries in 2014.

But Ferraris is especially optimistic about next year’s debut of Versace bespoke men’s designs. “We are strengthening our [tailored offering],” said Ferraris.

The brand’s men’s category accounts for 46 percent of total sales, which last year reached 408.7 million euros, or $523.1 million at average exchange, up 20 percent from 2011.

This trend toward more formal looks is exemplified by Brunello Cucinelli, which at Pitti Uomo will double the space of its booth to present its first collection of suits. The move follows Cucinelli’s acquisition of d’Avenza Fashion SpA for 3.5 million euros, or $4.7 million at current exchange. The Italian luxury firm also purchased the company’s property in Avenza, near Tuscany’s Carrara, where the business is headquartered and will continue to be based. The Carrara area specializes in men’s suits.

The men’s division accounts for 36 percent of Cucinelli’s sales, which last year hit 279 million euros, or $357.1 million at average exchange.


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