Emerging talent Albino D'Amato hopes to dust off the vintage Italian brand VictorVictoria with a fresh approach.
Sergio Tegon, the industrialist who engineered the brand's comeback through his manufacturing company, Ca' da Mosto, tapped D'Amato along with former Balenciaga and Rochas sales director Eliane Quideau to help revive the brand. At VictorVictoria Quideau is an executive consultant in charge of brand development.
For the first time in years, VictorVictoria will hold a presentation during Milan Fashion Week, and later, in Paris. Tegon helped build the Moncler and Henry Cottons businesses under the Pepper Industries umbrella before selling the labels to the now-defunct Fin.part fashion group, and was Cerruti's ready- to-wear licensee.
"VictorVictoria has an important history, and because of this, it has a lot of potential," said Tegon. "However, the world has completely changed, and while the collection was very classic and basic, Albino will update it with a more fashion-oriented touch."
The brand and the company that made it, Sartorie Riunite, was founded by Giovanni and Paola Gamba in 1988. The Gambas sold to SINV SpA, which sold VictorVictoria to Ca' da Mosto two years ago. (SINV produces and distributes Moschino Jeans and See by Chloé, among others, and recently signed a deal with Yohji Yamamoto for his young line Coming Soon.)
Tegon froze the VictorVictoria project until the right designer came along. The executive said he's banking on VictorVictoria's brand awareness, which he says is "still strong," and D'Amato's sartorial cuts and exquisite fabrics, from wool crepe combined with silk or a mix of shantung and nylon. The designer also took inspiration from VictorVictoria's iconic color palette: light pastels — from powder pink to wisteria — and contrasting black and white.
D'Amato's first collection for VictorVictoria was for fall 2007. The pre-spring 2008 collection was purchased by such stores as Maria Luisa in Paris, Luisa Via Roma in Florence, Tad in Milan and Rome, Podium in Moscow, Blake in Chicago, Villa Moda in Dubai and Harvey Nichols in Hong Kong.
Tegon underscored the importance of developing a brand in such a venture. "We tried showing some historical staples, but they just didn't work," said Tegon. The brand continues to target an urban customer who is looking for artisanal product for daily wear, but Tegon said what appealed to customers in the Nineties is no longer desirable.Tegon also launched the Seventy brand in 1970. Based in the Veneto region, Ca' da Mosto — from the name of a 13th-century palace on Venice's Grand Canal — has sales of more than 40 million euros, or $55.4 million at current exchange, and produces about 800,000 pieces a year. Tegon said sales have been growing 17 percent annually since 1999.
D'Amato, a former assistant of Giambattista Valli at Emanuel Ungaro, who has worked with Pucci, Dolce & Gabbana and Versace, launched his first namesake collection for spring 2005 and was a past winner of the Vogue and Alta Roma-sponsored Who Is On Next contest.
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