SHARING THE WEALTH: The color red usually has negative connotations in stock market terms, but Valentino Fashion Group is working to change that. The new company, which came to be when Marzotto spun off its fashion interests, made its trading debut on the Milan bourse last week and it did so in style. Mannequins wearing 30 vintage Valentino gowns — all of them red — graced the floor of the Milan stock exchange as Valentino Garavani, Marzotto ceo Antonio Favrin and Valentino Fashion Group ceo Michele Norsa mingled with bankers and press at a brief ceremony marking the occasion.

"When do we give them some shares?," Giancarlo Giammetti, Valentino's historic business partner, joked to Norsa amid a crowd of fashion journalists. Garavani beamed. "It's a really great satisfaction to be in this great temple, where I never would have expected to be," he said, just minutes before presenting a silver box with a gold V on it to Borsa Italiana ceo Massimo Capuano as a gift. Several fashion journalists got a crash course in financial jargon as they watched the shares rally more than 6 percent in their first trading session to close at 20.20 euros on Friday. Shares in Marzotto, which retains control of the group's textile operations and other non-core assets, didn't fare as well, declining 5.8 percent to 2.33 euros. As Favrin put it: "the investor is the final judge."

IN THE BAG: It looks like Gucci Group has secured a new designer to head up its leather goods business at Yves Saint Laurent — by poaching from luxury rival LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton. According to a Paris source, Raphaelle Hanley, who has worked at Louis Vuitton since 1998, will soon join YSL in Paris. Hanley will fill a position vacant since the April exit of Simonetta Ciampi, the design director of leather goods who came up with the horn-handled Mombasa bag.

RING LEADER: Fashion and sport could be on a collision course in Paris Wednesday when the couture shows kick off — and the International Olympic Committee announces the winning host for the 2012 Olympic games. Considered a strong contender, Paris has already planned a variety of events, including a victory ball that evening, should it triumph over New York, London, Moscow and Madrid. And chances are Parisians will spontaneously invade the Champs Elysees to celebrate, provoking traffic chaos. Paris bartenders are prepared, dreaming up special Olympic cocktails for people to celebrate until the wee hours.ALL IN THE FAMILY: It's not only Karl Lagerfeld who has links to both Fendi and Chanel. Delfina Fendi, the 18-year-old daughter of Silvia Venturini Fendi, has just started a summer internship at the design studios of Chanel. Lagerfeld said she is fitting right in with his studio team: "I have known this girl since she was born."

SHIFTING GEARS: Early next week, Ferragamo and Porsche Design are expected to announce a joint venture to produce and distribute a line of leather goods. As reported, Porsche Design is aggressively expanding its nonautomotive design activities via luxury goods with a sporty edge.

SPLASH!: After sneakers, wine and a cafe, on Saturday the ever-resourceful Lapo Elkann inaugurated Fiat Playa, a sandy beach in Punta Marano, on the jet-set Costa Smeralda. Aside from basking in the sun on logoed deck chairs and dipping in the crystal waters, chi-chi beachgoers will be able to familiarize themselves with Fiat's latest car models, like the Croma and Panda 4x4. Last but not least, there is a Fiat corner where one can buy the brand's products and gadgets and reserve a test drive on the latest cars. Fiat Playa, which also features a restaurant with barbeque, a kids' corner, music, a whirlpool and a 4,320-square-foot swimming pool, is a co-marketing initiative between Fiat, Bose, Costagroup, Meridiana and Rites.

FREEWHEELING GIORGIO: He works out every morning, loves soccer and owns a basketball team, but to further prove his penchant for sports, Giorgio Armani has just created the Emporio Armani bicycle. The designer presented his latest gadget during the finale of his men's wear show last Wednesday with a group of guys in suits pedaling down the catwalk.

But the ever-savvy Armani certainly isn't parking his bike on the runway. Produced by Bianchi, a leading Italian bike manufacturer, the black bike with Emporio Armani spelled out in white across the bar will be sold in both the brand's stores and specialized ones starting in December.

To access this article, click here to subscribe or to log in.

load comments
blog comments powered by Disqus