By  on May 9, 2008

MILAN – A year after being acquired by private equity group Permira, Valentino Fashion Group is shaping up for growth and intends to put more emphasis on men’s wear.

Speaking at a meeting with foreign reporters here earlier today, VFG and Valentino chief executive Stefano Sassi said he plans to give men’s wear a "push", noting that the men’s business was experiencing “constant growth.”

Sassi also said he wanted to “open up the [Valentino] brand to a different consumer” targeting “a more modern, more international, more price-conscious [customer].”

Sassi said he planned to increase the Valentino store count from 65 to 100 over the next five years, and was eyeing markets such as China, India, Europe and the U.S. He added a new store concept would be unveiled before the end of the year.

Sassi said Valentino men’s wear designer Ferruccio Pozzoni’s debut fall collection, which graced Paris runways last January, performed “very well,” noting the men’s category for the group has “huge potential.

“We are not aiming for an overly excessive style, a la Hedi Slimane,” explained Sassi, adding, “It won’t be a “boring” men’s wear product.”

Instead, Sassi said Valentino’s new man will be donning trend conscious looks with an added touch of luxury.

In other news, Sassi said that Hugo Boss CEO Bruno Salzer, who left the company last February, would be replaced “shortly." VFG also operates the Marlboro Classics and M Missoni under license.

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