NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 08:  Grace Elizabeth walks the runway during the 2018 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at Pier 94 on November 8, 2018 in New York City.  (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Victoria's Secret)

MILAN Marcolin Group is launching a digital-oriented business model, setting up a division that will approach the eyewear market in a faster and more competitive way. As part of this strategy, the Italian eyewear company has inked a licensing agreement with L Brands to produce sunglasses for the Victoria’s Secret and Victoria’s Secret Pink brands.

“This is a very important step for us, we link with a group that is very big and visible globally and we are digitally transforming our sector,” Massimo Renon, chief executive officer of Marcolin, told WWD.

The worldwide licensing agreement will be valid until the end of 2023. Global distribution in the optical market will begin in 2019, but the first eyewear collection was unveiled during the Victoria’s Secret fashion show last month and has since been available on the brand’s web site.

Marcolin will launch four flash collections in 2019 and five in 2020, said Renon. The product waves will be available every two to three months at key times throughout the year and available for purchase in stores and online at victoriassecret.com. “With these collections, we are not adhering to the three traditional moments in the industry, which includes presenting the collections at Mido and Silmo and then launching the designs with the distributors,” explained Renon.

The executive said the company is working on adapting the supply chain to this new model, advancing the timing of deliveries. “We will not work with stock, we will issue limited-edition collections. This is common in fast fashion, but not in the eyewear industry,” he said. Renon said the company is already working on the designs that will be online in February and March. “We are evolving to cater to new and fast-moving consumers in a market that is rapidly changing,” he said.

The boutiques will showcase the eyewear with merchandising concepts specific to eyewear, blending the products with other categories. The sunglasses will also be available for purchase directly through Victoria’s Secret and Victoria’s Secret Pink’s Instagram profiles. Prices will range from $60 to $120.

Staple brand features, including the striped pattern and gold coloring, will embellish the models. “The models have a strong impact, in line with the identity of the collections and modern trends,” said Renon. The Victoria’s Secret Pink styles are designed to be “young and fun,” he said, pointing to cat-eye frames with lengthened profiles and the brand’s staple polka-dot pattern.

 

walks the runway during the 2018 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at Pier 94 on November 8, 2018 in New York City.

Zuri Tibby wearing Victoria’s Secret Pink sunglasses during the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show at Pier 94 in New York.  Getty Images for Victoria's Secr

“This extension of the brand with Marcolin Group — a global leader in innovative, high-quality eyewear — speaks to the power of Victoria’s Secret and our commitment to delivering fashion for every moment,” said Les Wexner, L Brands’ chairman and ceo, commenting on what is the group’s first licensing partnership.

Asked to address the issues that have been denting Victoria’s Secret business, including sliding sales and the controversies surrounding a lack of inclusivity and the image of women presented by the brand, Renon was upbeat, emphasizing the American group’s “solid dimension,” and expressing confidence in the strategies it will develop going forward as “an innovative” company. Renon underscored that, with the new license, Marcolin was part of “one of the most visible events” in the world, referring to the annual innerwear fashion show. “We have never been so visible in such a limited time frame globally,” said Renon. At press time, Victoria’s Secret counted 63.5 million Instagram followers.

As reported, Victoria’s Secret is reevaluating and reviving its business and will be led by a new ceo, John Mehas, effective early 2019.

Renon said Victoria’s Secret is the first of the licenses Marcolin expects to add to the division.

Positioned at a higher end of the spectrum, Marcolin produces and distributes eyewear for luxury brands ranging from Tom Ford and Ermenegildo Zegna to Bally, Moncler, Tod’s, Emilio Pucci, Dsquared2 and Diesel, among other brands. Also, last year the group formed a venture with LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton called Thélios, with a state-of-the art production plant in Longarone, a one-hour drive from Venice, and known as Italy’s storied eyewear hub, which produces for the likes of Celine.