By  on January 11, 2012

MILAN — The rejuvenated Swiss brand Jet Set will bow with a presentation here on Sunday during men’s fashion week. Spearheaded by chief executive officer Massimo Suppancig, who has worked at firms such as Hugo Boss, Escada and Valextra, Jet Set blends luxury fashion with athletic functionality. “It was founded as a lifestyle brand and it takes a fashionable approach to leisure time,” said Suppancig during a preview at the sprawling 5,400-square-foot showroom located in a Giò Ponti-designed building in the center of Milan.

Jet Set was founded in 1969 and is owned by Swiss investment company Gaydoul Group, headed by Philippe Gaydoul. The group also controls hosiery and knitwear firm Fogal and watch brand Hanhart, among others.

Suppancig was tapped in August to revamp the brand, which broke ground in the luxury sportswear segment and was favored by the likes of Gianni Agnelli and Grace Kelly. Jet Set’s popularity peaked in the Eighties, and had been dormant under recent owners. “It was like Sleeping Beauty,” quipped Suppancig. Hailing from Saint Moritz, Jet Set is developed in Bologna, a pivotal hub for the production of sportswear in Italy, and manufactured at production laboratories near Bologna and in the Veneto region. The financial base remains in Zurich.

“Over the last 20 years, it was basically a line devoted to skiing. We still have that category, but with a fashion edge,” said Suppancig, showing a comprehensive men’s and women’s collection, designed by a team, that includes cozy cashmere sweaters embellished with fur stitches; oversize jackets made with fabrics employed for parachutes, at times adorned with slim ropes; checkered flannel shirts that are quilted and can work as jackets, and down jackets in a color palette that is hard to miss on the slopes, ranging from orange and aqua green to purple and red — sometimes tie-dyed. Geographic embroideries, a star logo, the “over” fit and the ropes are some of the archival elements that define the brand, said Suppancig.

Materials are sometimes treated, such as a technical cotton with resin, and there is some nylon, but the collection also revolves heavily around natural fabrics. “There aren’t enough brands in this category that offer naturals,” said Suppancig.

The executive is not deterred by the challenging economy. “Leisure is the category of the future,” he said. “Jet Set offers modernity in leisure and it works at home, to dress down, at a spa. It’s a joyful brand, comfortable and practical, yet luxurious.” Indeed, most pieces can be worn for daily use in the city.

Jackets retail between 600 and 1,100 euros, or $767 and $1,405 at current exchange.

Jet Set sales currently total about 30 million euros, or $38.3 million.

While there are existing stores in Aspen, Colo.; Davos, Cran Montana, Zermatt, Arosa and Saint Moritz, Switzerland; in the luxurious German island of Sylt, near Denmark, and in Kitzbühel, Austria, Suppancig is not focused on investing in brand boutiques. “This weekend, we’ll start selling to specialty stores. It helps creativity if there is a [dialogue] with specialty stores,” he explained.

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