Model on the catwalk

MILAN — Despite the impact of the social unrest and protests in Hong Kong last year, Valentino SpA reported a 2.4 percent increase in revenues in 2019. In the 12 months ended Dec. 31, sales rose to 1.22 billion euros, compared with 1.19 billion euros in 2018.

In Hong Kong, the Rome-based couture house counts 11 stores, of which three are dedicated to the Valentino Red line. The city posted a decrease of 20 million euros last year.

Globally, there are 212 stores. Europe and North America posted a flat performance, but all other markets showed growth.

Earnings figures were not available yet as Valentino’s board meeting, slated to be be held in March, was postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak. Italy has been in lockdown since March 9. The meeting may now take place in May.

Valentino has been reinforcing the brand’s online experience and last year online sales jumped up 56 percent. In 2017, the company partnered with the Yoox Net-a-porter Group to develop a new omnichannel business model called Next Era, which allows customers unprecedented online access to any product they want.

In terms of brick-and-mortar stores, the most important openings last year were in Beijing at the China World Mall, and in Toronto.

In November, marking the opening of the flagship in Beijing and to further underscore the importance of the Chinese market, Valentino held a couture runway show and a party.

The opening of the 4,503-square-foot boutique, located in the northern district of Taikoo Li, Sanlitun, was part of the global strategic development of Valentino’s retail network. The flagship carries all women’s and men’s wear product categories: ready-to-wear, accessories and fragrances.

“China represents one of the most important markets for Valentino,” said Stefano Sassi, who at the time was Valentino’s chief executive officer. The market contributed to “the most important share of our retail results.” The first Valentino boutique in China opened in 2007.

Modeled after the blueprint conceived by creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli, together with British architect David Chipperfield, the two-level boutique is connected by an internal sculptural staircase with concrete finishings.

Last year, Valentino also opened its first boutique in Canada at the Yorkdale Shopping Center, located at 3401 Dufferin Street in North York, Ontario, also designed by Piccioli and Chipperfield, an evolution of the blueprint first unveiled in Milan’s Via Montenapoleone in 2012. This marked another step in the Italian brand’s expansion globally. The store carries women’s and men’s rtw, accessories and fragrances.

In February, as reported, Sassi once again said Valentino’s parent company, the Qatari fund Mayhoola, had no intention of selling the company and that it was actually eyeing an expansion of its fashion luxury portfolio. He also waved away the option of an initial public offering of Valentino.

Sassi has been spearheading the reengineering of the Valentino structure for some months, in sync with Mayhoola, in order to strengthen the brand’s competitive advantage. As reported, former Fendi and Tod’s executive Marco Giacometti is joining Valentino as chief commercial officer, effective mid-April. This is a new role. Alessio Vannetti joined the house on March 1 as chief brand officer, also a new role within the company.

Rumors have been circulating in Milan that Jacopo VenturiniGucci’s former executive vice president, merchandising and markets, is headed to Valentino in a top senior role, as first reported by WWD. This was expected to take place after the approval of Valentino’s 2019 financial results, but there is now no visibility on the timing, given the current uncertainties.

Mayhoola has been contributing to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic donating 2 million euros to Italy, equally split between the improvement of the efficiency and security of the Intensive Care Treatment Unit at Luigi Sacco Hospital in Milan and the country’s Civil Protection. The fund has also donated 1 million euros to Spain, to contribute to the expansion of the emergency field hospital COVID-19 IFEMA, quickly built within the Madrid Exhibition Center.