By  on July 6, 2005

MILAN — Porsche Design Group has found a co-driver for its push into the luxury accessories race — Ferragamo Finanziaria SpA.

The two companies will announce today that they have signed a long-term partnership for the production and distribution of accessories. The new line, which makes its debut in November, will be made up of footwear with a men's focus, luggage, briefcases, belts and small leather goods.

While a spokeswoman for Ferragamo said it was premature to disclose details, she described the line as sporty, technological and innovative in terms of design and materials.

"Ferragamo's outstanding history and strong competence in the luxury market, its top level expertise and extensive international distribution facilities and skilled infrastructure sets the ideal stage for a partnership with Porsche Design," Siegmund Rudigier, president and chief executive officer of the Porsche Design Group, said in a statement released exclusively to WWD on Tuesday.

In an interview, Rudigier added: "When we started developing this project, we immediately thought that Ferragamo would be the perfect match. The idea is to combine their excellent craftsmanship with German engineering techniques to develop unusual materials for a top-line product."

He said Porsche Design is finalizing another partnership with an Italian company, this time in the apparel sector.

Leonardo Ferragamo said he views the Porsche Design project as a coherent and strong platform for the luxury goods house's future growth.

"We are very careful with the partners we select for our new projects and we view Porsche Design as a company in tune with Ferragamo in terms of family values and strategies," said Leonardo Ferragamo, who supervises new business development for Ferragamo Finanziaria.

"This partnership follows other ones already in place and is a further step in the implementation of our strategy to leverage the competences of our core business outside the Salvatore Ferragamo brand," he said. "This project will enable us to focus on what we do best: develop and produce luxury footwear and leather accessories."

Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, grandson of the car company's founder and designer of the renowned Porsche 911, originally established Porsche Design in 1972. Under the auspices of PLH (Porsche Lizenz- und Handelsgesellschaft), the German company founded in 2003 to consolidate Porsche's nonautomotive activities, Porsche Design aims to double its sales in the next four to five years. In 2004, Porsche Design's global wholesale turnover, via 7,900 sales points, reached $80 million.There are midterm plans to open 55 Porsche Design stores based on Matteo Thun's design for the Berlin store. By the end of July, Porsche Design will open in London and Hamburg, and the rollout will continue this fall with a store on Madison Avenue in New York and in Tokyo's Ginza district.

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