MILAN — A united front is essential in the face of a difficult economy, according to Fondazione Altagamma. The Italian association of luxury goods companies presented its three-year plan Friday with the goal of strengthening its competitive edge and bringing luster back to Milan and Italy through the excellence of the country’s brands.
In his first address to the press, the association’s newly elected chairman, Andrea Illy, chairman and chief executive of coffee producer Illycaffé SpA, shared his program, which he said was approved by the association even before his candidacy. “Cooperate to be more competitive,” he urged. “Our mission is to be ambassadors of excellence in different sectors and lifestyle.” Illy outlined a partnership project between Altagamma and the government, leveraging the strength of the association’s companies and their business models, as well as their constant growth in exports compared with Italy’s decreasing gross domestic product. “The Altagamma brands have a leading effect, they create demand and this trickles down,” said Illy.
High on the agenda is a proposal to the government of a tax reduction on profits companies reinvest in Italy in the process of internationalization.
Altagamma has identified the “need to create a new Italian luxury holding that should exist not to buy companies but to create as many investments as possible in Altagamma in retail,” said Illy. The holding would be supported by investment funds and financial entities — even perhaps the Milan Stock Exchange — and Italy’s Fondo Strategico Italiano. Fondo Strategico Italiano is a holding company controlled by Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, or CDP, a joint-stock company under public control that in November signed an agreement with Qatar Holding to invest in Italian brands in different sectors.
The intent is also to cordon off Italian companies, which are increasingly at a crossroads as they face either a generational change in ownership or management or limited access to credit or liquidity. The recent takeover of Italian brands such as Bulgari and Brioni, now respectively controlled by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and Kering, formerly known as PPR, was met with reluctance and controversy by Italian media.
Without providing details, Illy said the luxury holding project has been strongly endorsed by the financial world and the members of the association, and that it would take shape “as soon as possible.”
Asked if there were guidelines in determining the financial investors, Armando Branchini, newly elected executive director, said the only requirement is for these entities to underwrite the project and its protocol.
Like the changes taking place within Italy’s Chamber of Fashion, whose members are working to relaunch Milan Fashion Week, Altagamma has teamed up with the Chamber; Cosmit, the association that organizes the Salone del Mobile furniture and design trade show; the organizers of Expo 2015, and other top industry bodies in its promotional activities. “It’s peer-to-peer, we are working with a common purpose,” underscored Illy, who also pointed to the possible creation of a first Altagamma museum.
The association is also working with the city of Milan on developing the historic shopping and promenade arcade Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, where Prada is opening its second store, opposite Louis Vuitton, near a new Giorgio Armani venue to open soon, and where Versace also plans to open a second unit in addition to its Via Montenapoleone one.
“We want to make it the most beautiful shopping gallery in the world,” said Illy. A previous Altagamma project with the city fell through, and Branchini explained, “We want to see if the city will accept a 99-year concession rather than a sale of 49 percent [of its assets].”
The Altagamma “Italian Contemporary Excellence” 20-year celebration and exhibition, recently held at the Triennale museum in Milan, is set to travel to Shanghai and will be unveiled there on April 29.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews