MILAN — After a slow start to winter, the first snowflakes dotted the European Alps in time for the kick-off of the ski season, traditionally timed with the first week of December and around the 8th, a national holiday in Italy.
As tourists start to flock to ski resorts, luxury brands are joining, too, hosting shows, events, retail activations and debuting new boutiques, as they have increasingly been doing in hip summer destinations, where beach resorts are regularly taken over by brands big and small.
Following last summer’s Capri trip, Emilio Pucci’s fashion “experience” is touching down in St. Moritz over three days from Thursday, with a runway show and leisure activities, while Giorgio Armani is mounting the first runway display for its mountain-ready Neve collection at the glamorous Swiss ski destination on Saturday, before heading to Megève and Courchevel, France and Verbier, Switzerland with retail activations.
On the opposite side of the Stelvio National Park, a five-hour drive from the Swiss resort, Cortina d’Ampezzo is also abuzz with fashion initiatives.
Valentino has linked with longtime wholesale partner Franz Kraler, a local multibrand store with several units in the surrounding area, to take over a ski-slope lodge the Kraler family has acquired with the aim of offering experiences to its wealthy customers, as reported.
Over the course of three days, with several leisure and sport activities lined up and a fine culinary experience courtesy of chef Graziano Prest, the Italian team’s cook at the Olympic Games in Beijing and Tokyo, the event will mark the debut of Valentino’s Party collection, a selection of pieces geared toward festivities and the holiday season.
On Saturday the Franz Kraler boutique on the town’s central Corso Italia will host a Valentino-themed cocktail party.
Louis Vuitton meanwhile is celebrating the reopening of its flagship for the winter on the same shopping street. The French powerhouse has curated an assortment of fashion pieces from its ski collection, including shearling-trimmed leather and canvas tote bags and puffer jackets crafted from eco-fabric Econyl.
It is also introducing an ice-looking trunk containing postcards designed by Italian artist Sarah Mazzetti to celebrate the “Queen of the Dolomites,” the nickname for Cortina d’Ampezzo, and a new ski resorts-centered curation of its City Guides including Aspen, Cortina, Gstaad, Courchevel and St. Moritz.
Both initiatives fall amid Cortina Fashion Week, a long weekend running through Sunday organized by local association “Cortina for Us” during which several fashion brands are doing activations, including the opening of Piombo’s new store in town; outerwear specialist Moorer hosting a cocktail reception, and Pollini debuting the latest drop of its mountaineering “Ice Cracker” collection, among others.
Luxury footwear brand Golden Goose, meanwhile, is hitting both locations as it unveiled this week new units in St. Moritz and Cortina d’Ampezzo. Both spanning over 645 square feet, the banners combine the brand’s signature retail blueprint with elements nodding to the mountains, with concrete flooring and walls, woodwork and wooden furniture.
They feature areas dedicated to “Co-Creation,” the brand’s program geared at customers willing to train their creativity on customized sneakers. A wooden table with artisans helping out clients throughout the process was set up in St. Moritz, while a kiosk was installed in Cortina d’Ampezzo. They will also offer the “Bespoke Trunk” service, allowing clients to design their own sneakers from scratch.