NEW DELHI — Following on the heels of Angela Missoni’s much publicized visit to India, Alberto Piantoni, chief executive of Missoni SpA, was in New Delhi and Mumbai making concrete the plans the creative director and co-owner of the brand hinted at for the country.
“We are planning to enter the Indian market with a strong emphasis on accessories,” Angela Missoni said as she participated in conferences in Jaipur and Mumbai last month, while observing that for many brands it was their strong global presence, especially in emerging economies, that helped them get past the economic meltdown in 2008 and 2009. She spoke about the natural bond and love of color shared by Italy and India, a point that Piantoni emphasized.
“Angela Missoni plays with color and behind the color is the lifestyle. We feel this lifestyle would fit the Indian people and that we have a great opportunity here because we feel very close to the Indian people in terms of culture and sensibility. We think this is a good argument to introduce the brand on the Indian market,” he said.
A launch in China is already scheduled for June, including both the main collection and diffusion line. Piantoni said that the brand had plans to open “between 15 and 20 monobrand retail shops and a lot of multibrand stores for the diffusion line” in the next four years in China.
In India, Piantoni observed that serious talks with the Infinite Luxury Group about a partnership are likely to result in a deal. “We explored the market and then prepared the business plan. There is a trail, we start talking to each other, mainly about values, about the idea of life, and we feel comfortable with these people. But of course, from this to establish a business takes time. You have to fit 100 percent, otherwise it is not possible.”
Among the challenges he foresees in the Indian market, he observed, “There is the issue of the duty, of course, and we will see how we can deal with this.”
Piantoni said that growth in the U.S. has been good in the last few months, adding the brand has grown by 3 percent to 5 percent a year. There is a plan to grow more in department stores.
The brand had overall growth of 12 percent to 15 percent last year, he said, with a target to grow by at least 10 percent a year for the next three years. “We are not aggressive but neither are we laid back about growth,” he said.
Piantoni has been ceo of Missoni since 2011, the first time the company moved to a different structure of management.
“The company is not so strong in accessories, which are 10 to 15 percent of the total turnover, but we are focused on this, particularly Margherita Missoni,” he said. “We will be focusing on bags, shoes, perfumes and sunglasses, in that order, and are exploring new partnerships and that will help in the growth.”
His trip to India and focus on China brought talk of the BRIC economies. “These countries are 25 percent of the global gross domestic product, so we have to think about them,” Piantoni said. “Somehow they are more open and there is a new middle class growing very fast and they are anxious to know what is going on in the whole continent in terms of fashion. It is an opportunity and we have to do something about it.”
As further proof Missoni is focusing on those countries, Piantoni said he will visit Russia later this month.