By  on July 27, 2011

MILAN — Design duo Tommaso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi arewishing Piazza Sempione a happy 20th birthday with a one -off capsulecollection that will bow during Milan Fashion Week in September.

Thecollaboration was spurred by the duo’s long admiration for the brand,which was founded in 1991, and their longstanding friendship with PiazzaSempione’s chief executive officer Enrico Morra.

For theoccasion, the former 6267 and Gianfranco Ferre designers applied theirtailoring expertise, eye for color, craftsmanship and love of Italianfabrics to create a 50-piece collection that revisits Piazza Sempionestaples and sartorial heritage.

“It’s about around-the-clockelegance. The idea was to highlight Piazza Sempione’s history withessential cuts, easy-to-wear pieces and a sophisticated-yet-contemporarymood,” said Aquilano, scouring through the racks during an exclusivewalkthrough in Piazza Sempione’s showroom.

The line’s soft andpolished feel is obtained via washed silks and a silk and polyesterblend that are used in draped dresses and camisoles, often traced withblack piping, or fluid trousers and short skirts with paper bagwaistlines. Rather than employing stretch materials, one of the brand’sbuilding blocks, the designers created accordion pleated elongatedjackets and drop-waist shifts.

A print featuring thejuxtaposition of floral and lace motifs in shades of gray and yellowbrings a whiff of the Fifties, especially in the shirt-over-capri-pantscombination.

Colors span from black and cream to sherbet huessuch as apple green, Bellini pink and lime yellow, often combined on onegarment.

Wholesale prices vary from $295 to $555 for dresses,while jackets range from $368 to $666.

According to Morra,although the designers dipped into the archives, the collection isforward-looking while being faithful to the house’s codes. “PiazzaSempione has a very loyal clientele that I think will really appreciatethis project,” said Morra. “We believe in constantly renovating our corebusiness, which is based on substance and not just marketing, and in agrowth anchored on evolution.”

The collaboration is justpart of Piazza Sempione’s plans, which include launching e-commerce andgrowing the accessories division.

In line with company policy,Morra declined to disclose sales but according to analysts, PiazzaSempione likely posted wholesale revenues of about $75 million in 2010.With retail turnover up 18.5 percent in 2010 versus the previous year,the U.S. continues to be a top-performing market for Piazza Sempione,which operates six stores in cities such as Chicago, Las Vegas andPhiladelphia. The line is also available at department stores includingNeiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman.

In therest of the world, wholesale revenues advanced 28.5 percent. PiazzaSempione is carried in 500 doors worldwide and is further broadening itshorizons with direct openings in Shanghai and Taiwan by yearend.

Namedafter the square where it was originally located, Piazza Sempione wasfounded by Roberto Monti and Marisa Guerrizio, a husband-and-wife teamwho departed the company shortly after they sold it to L Capital, theprivate equity arm of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, in 2006.

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