By  on January 16, 2008

MILAN — Stone-washed denim sheets?

Whether or not that becomes an actual collection, Diesel chief Renzo Rosso has signed a five-year license with Italy's main home textiles company, Gruppo Zucchi, to produce and distribute the brand's first home linens line. The aim is to bring Diesel's irony and "cool" factor to the home and shake up the sector's traditional take on design.

"Where we live increasingly shows our personality, and people are more and more focused on decorating their personal spaces," said Rosso. "We are bringing all our passion and energy to this project, because we want to be innovative and rejuvenate this industry, reflecting what we do in fashion."

The line will be launched in April during Milan's international furniture and design exhibition, the Salone Internazionale del Mobile, with a presentation at Diesel's new sprawling showroom and headquarters on Via Stendhal, in the city's new fashion district. The collection will be in stores in September, and is expected to be sold worldwide in leading department stores and home textile specialty shops, as well as in selected Diesel and Zucchi stores.

The home textiles collection is only the first step Diesel expects to make in the world of interior design, with plans to introduce furniture, lighting and objects for the home next year. It is currently talking to potential partners. "We chose to initiate our home collection with textiles because it is the closest to our core business and because we have found the best partner, with know-how, quality and an international distribution network," said Rosso.

The line will be called Successful Living from Diesel — a pun on the brand's long-standing "Diesel for Successful Living" slogan.

The license will include collections for the bedroom, dining room, living room and bathroom, and will be designed in-house by a team headed by Diesel's creative director, Wilbert Das.

The collection should further fuel Diesel's growth. In 2007, revenues at Only the Brave Srl, which controls Diesel, rose 13 percent to 1.3 billion euros, or $1.78 billion at average exchange rates for the period. Diesel accounts for 90 percent of the group's sales, and its revenues grew 11 percent. Only the Brave also controls production arm Staff International, which holds a master license with Dsquared and owns the Martin Margiela and Sophia Kokosalaki businesses.Matteo Zucchi, chief executive officer of Zucchi, said he estimated sales of the Diesel line will reach 20 million euros, or $29.6 million at current exchange, by the fifth year. "Being practical is still the predominant trend in this industry, and we want to change that," said Zucchi. "We want to stimulate our customers to purchase not simply because they have to cover up their beds," he added.

Vincenzo Zucchi SpA, the holding group, dates back to 1920, is listed on the Milan Stock Exchange and has seven production plants in Europe. At the end of 2006, Zucchi reported sales of 300 million euros, or $375 million at average exchange rates for the period. Italy, where Zucchi also controls Bassetti, accounted for 50 percent of sales; France, where the company owns the Bera, Jalla and Descamps firms, accounted for 25 percent of sales, and the rest of the world contributed the remaining 25 percent. It operates 300 group stores globally.

Zucchi, which puts out 120 collections a year, also holds a license with Lacoste and previously worked with Giorgio Armani.

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