First Italian Luxury & Design Summit held in New York.

A “Made in Italy” label’s cachet was among the many points of discussion at the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce’s “First Italian Luxury and Design Summit” held recently in New York.

The conference spanned several panels, consisting of executives of Fendi, Max Mara and Bally to UniCredit and PepsiCo. Organized in collaboration with BAV Consulting and the Luxury Marketing Council, the event emphasized how Italian heritage and culture intersect with luxury in today’s often complex — and crowded — market.

Opportunities as well as concerns were highlighted, but perhaps the overarching theme of the event centered on the changing consumer (notably Millennials) and the correlating shifts in today’s meaning of luxury.

Panelists appeared to be in accordance with that status and prestige and are one of many cornerstones in the luxury category. It was suggested that there must now be an additional, substantial dynamic that distinguishes a brand (for example, a commitment to sustainability or a rich, more unique story to tell.)

Prior to the event, Alberto Milani, president of the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce, who served as summit’s narrator, noted that this event marks the first of many. “It will be the first edition of a formula that will bring crucial elements of the evolution of Italian lifestyle to New York every year and then find an innovative way to market them properly in the U.S.,” he said.

Robert Shullman, founder and chief executive officer of the Shullman Research Center, who moderated one of the panels, added that Italian luxury is especially well-regarded in relation to footwear.

“When one thinks about the Italian brands, I and many others who follow luxury, initially think of their heritage and what great luxuries Italy produces,” he reflected. “How to maintain and build on that heritage has become increasingly critical, and that’s why such events as this one are important. When a meeting becomes a meeting of the minds, everyone gains.”

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