MILAN — The economy isn’t bringing everything to a standstill.
Renato Preti, former chief executive officer of private equity fund Opera, founded together with Bulgari in 2000, is launching a design brand called Skitsch with a group of Italian entrepreneurs. “Some may question the timing, but there are many opportunities in this sector,” said Preti during a press conference at the Bulgari Hotel here Tuesday.
He said customers are looking for less ostentatious products, opting for feel-good pieces rather than flashy cars or jewels. “The demand for contemporary aesthetics is growing, the pleasure to surround oneself with contemporary objects strengthened by the crisis and there is only a limited offer,” said Preti.
Furniture, accessories such as candles, home fragrances and other objects for the home and office will be created by an initial group of 27 international designers, ranging from Maarten Baas to Xavier Lust, Marc Sadler to Joost van Bleiswijk, under the artistic supervision of Cristina Morozzi.
“Design objects are usually either too strange or too functional. We are looking for balance and a comprehensive offer,” said Preti, whose career includes stints at Opera-controlled home furnishings company B&B Italia and outdoor furniture firm Unopiù.
The company behind Skitsch is called Di Disegno SpA. With an investment of up to 12 million euros, or $15.5 million at current exchange, Skitsch expects sales of 5 million euros, or $6.4 million, in the first year, and revenues of 50 million, or $64.5 million, in five years.
Others involved in the project include Alberto Bombassei, vice president of Italy’s Industrialists Association, Confindustria, and president and ceo of Brembo SpA, a leading group in the production, design and marketing of brake systems. The company has also taken control of home furnishings brand Dovetusai, whose products will be part of Skitsch’s catalogue.
Skitsch will debut on April 21 during Milan’s international furniture and design exhibition, the Salone del Mobile, with the opening of its first store. The 6,480-square-foot flagship will boast 13 windows in the centrally located Via Monte di Pietà, 11, a few steps away from the Bulgari Hotel and Via Montenapoleone. The store, in wood, glass, concrete and brass, with touches of blue, was designed by Luca Bombassei, partner and founder of Blast Architects in Milan, Venice and Abu Dhabi.
The products will mostly be made in Italy, except for specific categories such as rugs from India, crystal from Bohemia, and porcelain from Poland. Distribution will include Skitsch’s own stores, catalogues and e-commerce. “In this industry, distribution is very fragmented, the experience of shopping is not fun or stimulating, often with delayed deliveries and little service,” said Preti.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast