MILAN — Diesel chief Renzo Rosso last week reprised his acquisition of Staff International six years ago by taking control of the Italian high-end clothing manufacturer Pier SpA, based in Mogliano Veneto, outside Treviso. Pier produces for brands such as Chloé, Dries Van Noten, Azzedine Alaïa, Dior Homme and Plein Sud.
"I said before I was interested in acquiring know-how rather than brands, and this venture reflects this strategy," said Rosso in a phone interview.
"I feel I've saved a piece of our Made in Italy [tradition]. Artisanal companies such as Pier are destined to shut down because of their lack of management and funds," said Rosso, who declined to put a price tag on Pier but said the company registered sales of 10 million euros, or $12.5 million, last year.
"The quality and craftsmanship of production is impeccable," said Rosso, who plans to help raise the bar at Martin Margiela through Pier. Staff International produces collections for Margiela, Dsquared, Vivienne Westwood and Diesel Denim Gallery. "I want Podium [Margiela's latest collection] to become even more luxurious," he said.
As for the production contracts with other fashion companies, Rosso said he has no intention of changing those agreements. "It's a fantastic stable of brands, and I hope we'll actually expand our production contracts with other designers," he said.
The acquisition follows the recent creation of a knitwear division at Staff, which, according to Rosso, is growing its investments in distribution, research and innovation. In 2006, the company expects sales of 110 million euros, or $137.9 million, up from 90 million euros, or $112.8 million, last year. Dollar figures were converted at current exchange rate.
The previous owners of Pier, siblings Marzia and Alessandro Narduzzi, will remain with the company. In a statement, the Narduzzis said they were "truly happy about this agreement that will bring great development and internationalization opportunities for Pier."
"[The Narduzzis] are wonderful," said Rosso, who was in Stockholm for the opening of Diesel's first flagship there. "Stockholm is one of the trendiest cities in the world, together with Tokyo and London, especially for young fashion," he said.
A Stella McCartney sketch of a custom dress made from protein-based silk in partnership with biotech lab Bolt Threads. The dress will be displayed at The Museum of Modern Art's upcoming design exhibition, "Items: Is Fashion Modern?"