MILAN — Another heritage Italian men’s wear company is taking on an investor. According to market sources in Milan, Investcorp is buying a stake in Corneliani.
Although sitting out Milan Men’s Fashion Week this season, Carlalberto Corneliani, president and chief executive officer of the family-owned men’s wear company, will hold a press conference here Tuesday, the last day of the shows. The event fuels growing speculation that the company may be partnering with Investcorp to further develop its business. The Bahrain-based fund purchased Danish jewelry brand Georg Jensen at the end of 2012 and is the former owner of Gucci, Tiffany and Saks Fifth Avenue.
Corneliani declined to comment on the speculation, but, according to sources in Milan, the deal is done. One source said Investcorp is eyeing “the industrial assets of the company and its expertise in production.” One analyst pegged Corneliani’s business at around 150 million euros, or $170 million at current exchange rates.
If Corneliani does take Investcorp on as an investor, it would be the latest heritage Italian men’s wear brand to do so. Brioni is now owned by Kering and has undergone recent changes in its creative director, while Pal Zileri was acquired by Qatari-based Mayhoola for Investments in 2014 and has been making an effort to grow its profile in the U.S.
Several members of the third generation of the Corneliani family are part of the business. The brand is designed by Sergio Corneliani; Corrado is in charge of direction production and logistics; Maurizio is director of finance, legal affairs and strategic marketing and Cristiano is its commercial director.
Alfredo Corneliani started the company in the Thirties in the northern town of Mantua as an artisanal production of trenches and outerwear. His sons Claudio and Carlalberto established the Corneliani company in 1958.
Corneliani opened its first store in Bahrein in 2014. It has an international business with other stores in the Middle East, from Dubai to Doha, and banners in countries ranging from China to Korea. Last year it opened shops in Paris and Moscow, and in March the company reopened its boutique in Florence with a new concept.
Corneliani produced 200 units of a limited-edition version of the first IDentity Jacket in 2015 to mark that piece’s 10th anniversary. This is a staple for the company, equipped with a detachable chest piece that makes it suitable for different times of the day. The IDentity Coat, the Paddock Jacket, the ID Club Blazer and the O-Jacket are also strong items for the brand.
Hand-sewn made to measure suits involve more than 150 steps for a jacket and can be delivered in three weeks.