MILAN — The future of Made in Italy took center stage at the yearly Pambianco conference here Friday, aptly called “Made in Italy without Italy?”
David Pambianco, vice president of Milan-based consultancy Pambianco Strategie d’Impresa, argued that as foreign groups take control of an increasing number of Italian brands, the latter rely on a strong international network and significant resources, creating employment and development, but business direction and profits are channeled outside Italy. “Italy is becoming the China of luxury. In the medium and long term, there is a risk that international customers will attribute more importance to the brand and less to the production, shifting from ‘Made in’ to ‘Made by,’ leading to a diminished production in Italy,” warned Pambianco. “It is fundamental for small and medium firms to find new resources, from letting private equity funds in, to a public listing or a partnership with international distributors.”
He pointed to foreign acquisitions in Italy from 1999 to 2012 for a value of 9.22 billion euros, or $12.42 billion at current exchange.
Brunello Cucinelli, president of his namesake company, and Lapo Elkann, president of Italia Independent Group, remarked on the benefits derived by the recent successful listing of their firms. Michele Norsa, chief executive officer of Salvatore Ferragamo, also an example of a strong listing, said “it’s not always true that the biggest wins, while it is true the fastest does.”
Norsa conceded “that there are advantages in real estate or communication” for big groups, but insisted that monobrand companies also grow well and can still lead, citing Michael Kors.
Furla ceo Eraldo Poletto acknowledged the real estate issue and said “you must be big to compete, the challenge is in terms of store locations.” While rumors periodically surface about a possible Furla initial public offering, Poletto said the company is evaluating potential avenues for growth, and not necessarily looking at the stock exchange.
“One must be organized to go public. We don’t have any debt and we are self-financed. Many go public because they have no choice,” he said.
Andrea Guerra, ceo of the publicly traded Luxottica Group, noted that “people have developed a new relationship with eyewear, one in which emotions have been introduced,” in an expanded and more complex world. “There are wonderful new markets, there are three billion new consumers in Asia, but it’s difficult and it is necessary to plan ahead. Either we have time to chart a course, or it is crazy.”
In a video presentation, Renzo Rosso, president of Diesel, Marni, Viktor & Rolf and Maison Martin Margiela parent group OTB, who has often expressed his desire to build a relevant fashion group, said that he was “very much in favor of acquisitions around the world” and that he was evaluating “realities in Japan and the U.S.”
Addressing the evergreen issue of Italy’s lack of fashion groups, Carlo Pambianco, founder of the consultancy, said, “Italian entrepreneurs have big personalities, they are difficult to regroup. Technically it is possible, but concretely it’s difficult.”
Gregorio De Felice, chief economist of Intesa Sanpaolo, said the summer showed “encouraging signs of a pickup in the euro zone and an acceleration of the global economy.” For the first time in the past 10 years, established markets led world growth, and over the next few months, the U.S., Japan and the euro zone “will show an acceleration of imports propelling international trade.”
Intesa Sanpaolo expects 3.1 percent gross domestic product growth in the U.S. in 2014, compared with an estimated 1.6 percent in 2013, and 1 percent growth in the euro zone compared with an expected 0.3 percent decrease this year.
Worldwide, 3.5 percent growth is expected in 2014 compared with 3.1 percent growth in 2013.
There'll be no rest for those headed to Europe for men's, as Paris just closed the gap with Milan. According to a provisional calendar released by the Chambre Syndicale, Paris Men's Week will now open a day earlier on January 16. See new highlights on the official lineup on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
BREAKING: Jonathan Saunders is leaving @DVF. The designer has resigned from his position as chief creative officer of Diane von Furstenberg, the company said in a statement on Friday. At the time of his hire, von Furstenberg said Saunders’ arrival symbolized and facilitated her stepping back from the day-to-day duties that occupy the work of a full-time creative director. The British designer joined DVF in May 2016 and was in charge of all product categories. #wwdnews
For @versace_official’s spring ad campaign, the brand emphasized the archival prints from the spring tribute collection dedicated to the late Gianni Versace. Closing out the show were five of Gianni’s favorite models: Cindy, Naomi, Carla, Helena, and Claudia. Bowing on December 18, the new campaign is yet another tribute to supermodel-dom as the images by Steven Meisel are fronted by @iamnaomicampbell, @cturlington, @gisele and more. #wwdfashion
Four-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening has been waiting 20 years to play Gloria Graham in "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool," which will be released on December 29. The movie about Graham – a Hollywood star known for her controversial relationship with a younger Englishman named Peter Turner – is based off a memoir Turned wrote. "She felt vulnerable to him, because she loved him, she really did love him. And anyone that we really truly are in love with, we re vulnerable to in a very deep way," said Bening. Read our full interview with the modern icon of an actress on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @ninebagatelles; Styled by @cristinaehrlich)
The crisp white button down: a staple that can be dressed up or down and accessorized throughout the decades. Here, on a Art Basel-goer in 2017 on the left and on the iconic Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” in 1953 on the right. #tbt #wwdfashion (📷: Andrew Morales)
Known for her work with @victoriassecret, 25-year-old model @georgiafowler is raising her profile in Hollywood. Fowler stars in @vincecamuto’s holiday campaign, which launched in partnership with “Pitch Perfect 3.” “Almost every shoot with Vince Camuto, I’ve had to face a fear…It was definitely a challenge. I’m so grateful for it, though. I’ve always wanted to be a pop star, so that was the perfect chance,” Fowler said. Head to WWD.com to read about Fowler’s experience modeling, including at the #VSFashionShow, and her relationship with Nick Jonas. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
EXCLUSIVE: Huda Kattan just became the first beauty influencer to land a major beauty deal. Kattan's business, @hudabeauty, has received a minority investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. The brand, which industry sources say is on track to do $200 million in retail sales for 2017, will receive support on product, retail and geographic expansion through the deal. Get all the details on the deal and read @_a_collins' interview with Kattan on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Peruvian model @juanaburga_official – who is known for walking the runways of @rodarte, @viviennewestwood and @torybuch – is making the move to the big screen with drama “Los Últimos.” The film premiered in Argentina in November and arrives in the U.S. and Europe in 2018. On making the switch from modeling to acting, Burga told WWD: “It’s a completely different thing – a lot of people think it’s similar or try to connect things, especially like getting used to the camera or being looked at all the time or playing these different characrers, but film is a completely different story.” #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)