MILAN — Mr & Mrs Italy is reinforcing its organization to boost its presence in international markets.
The outerwear company, which built a name for itself with its luxurious take on the classic parka style, has tapped Marco Pievani as its first U.S. chief executive officer.
Pievani has experience in the development of Italian fashion brands’ businesses in the North American market. He joins Mr and Mrs Italy from Etro, where he held the role of North America president for 18 years. Previously, from 1994 to 2000, he served Valentino as president of the North America division.
“I’m extremely happy to welcome Marco Pievani in the Mr & Mrs Italy team,” said the company’s ceo Frediano Sebastiani. “I’m sure that our growth in North America will be supported by his deep professional experience matured in the Made in Italy segment in the United States and Canada.”
Sebastiani was appointed ceo in May, succeeding Andrea Bucalossi, who along with business partner Fabio Leoncini still controls 70 percent of the fashion house. In October, Leoncini and Bucalossi sold 30 percent of Duemmei, which controls the Mr & Mrs Italy brand, to Chinese private equity firm Hony Capital.
According to Sebastiani, Pievani will be based in Mr & Mrs Italy’s new headquarters located in New York City. They also house a showroom, which will be operative from December, when the company will start selling its pre-fall 2019 collection in the United States. The selling campaign will kick off in mid-November in Milan.
In North America the brand is distributed in department stores, including Barneys New York, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Holt Renfrew, as well as in key specialty stores, such as Kirna Zabête and Opening Ceremony. The company also has a significant retail presence in the North American market, where it operates a store on New York’s Madison Avenue, a boutique at Toronto’s Yorkdale Mall and a temporary shop in Aspen, Colorado.
Along with boosting its presence in Europe and North America, Mr and Mrs Italy is reorganizing its distribution in its biggest market, Asia.
“The wholesale distribution in Asia is extremely complicated to properly manage, especially because in this market we face a serious problem with counterfeiting,” said Sebastiani. “While in Europe and America we have strong relationships with department stores, in Asia, apart from major players such as Lane Crawford and SKP [mall], it’s really hard to have control of your distribution with local stores.”
Revealing that the company found out that several retailers were displaying their authentic products next to fake items reproducing the same styles, Sebastiani said that the company decided in 2018 to kick off a retail expansion program across Asia to take full control of the market.
In keeping with this strategy, the company has opened a third store in Macau, three shops in Korea with a local partner and “eight units between permanent stores and pop-up shops will be inaugurated in China by the end of the year,” said Sebastiani.
In order to guarantee its customers the authenticity of their purchased items, Mr and Mrs Italy, which closed 2017 with revenues of 57 million euros, has teamed with a high-tech company to create a customized authentication system. Each garment comes with a chip that communicates with a smartphone via radio frequencies, enabling the owner of the piece to access the information related to the product and receive updates and suggestions from the brand.