After flourishing in small workshops of independent artisans, the production of jewelry in Italy boomed at the end of the 19th century as the first factories were established. In that period, some of the industry’s big names — Bulgari, Buccellati and later Damiani and Pomellato — started building their international reputations.
“Recent [deals] have showed that the ‘Made in Italy’ brands are often targeted by international groups,” said Damiani Group president and chief executive officer Guido Damiani, referring, for example, to the acquisition of Bulgari by French luxury conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in 2011. “This is a sign that in Italy, the industry’s high-end segment is flourishing and that creativity, craftsmanship and Italian savoir faire are highly appreciated abroad.”
According to data provided by the Italian Chamber of Commerce association Union Filiere, the country’s jewelry business counts 28,559 companies.
The production of fine jewelry is traditionally centered in the areas around Arezzo, Tuscany; Vicenza, Veneto; and Valenza, Piedmont. Forty percent of the industry’s employees work for companies operating in these three districts.
As in other manufacturing sectors, Europe’s stagnant economy has affected the jewelry industry. In the first eleven months of 2012, the industry’s revenues dropped 1.7 percent, in particular because of the slowdown in the internal demand, which was down 14 percent. Encouraging signals came from international markets — exports during that period rose 9.5 percent compared with 2011.
While this scenario is true for big industry players, Italy’s small jewelry manufacturers were seriously hurt by the crisis in Europe.
“The companies operating in our sector are small and they expand internationally only with difficulty,” Damiani lamented. “In order to protect our ‘Made in Italy’ [branding], our companies should combine their creativity and craftsmanship with financial resources, investments and management skills.” See a List of Italian Manufacturing Districts Here >>
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast