MILAN — Lavinia Biagiotti Cigna will lead the Biagiotti Group into its next phase of development.
Concurrently, former Salvatore Ferragamo ceo Michele Norsa joins the board as vice president. Norsa has worked with several family companies in Italy, playing a critical role in Marzotto SpA’s stock market spin-off of its fashion interests into Valentino Fashion Group. Norsa became ceo of Valentino SpA in 2002 when Marzotto bought the fashion house from the now-defunct holding company HdP. He was also general manager of VFG’s licensed brands M Missoni and Marlboro Classics.
Earlier, the executive worked at other family-owned companies such as Benetton, Sergio Tacchini and Rizzoli. Last year, Norsa was appointed non-executive director of the board of Rocco Forte Hotels. In July, Norsa joined as industrial partner in a new Milan-based sovereign fund being launched to support Italian companies, including those in fashion, called FSI Mid‐Market Growth Equity Fund.
Biagiotti Cigna has been working for the company for 20 years. Her father, Gianni Cigna, who was the business mind behind the brand, died when she was only 17. As a result, she started working with her mother during her last year of school, then accompanied her on both the creative and financial sides for the past decade. “A designer must understand business and numbers, too,” she said. “My parents always sought my opinion and I grew up surrounded by adults. I traveled with them and met creative and talented people. This gave me a sense of confidence and solidity.” She has also been very much involved in the brand’s successful fragrance business, licensed for 20 years to Procter & Gamble and now to Gruppo Angelini.
Biagiotti Cigna said her priority was to give continuity to the brand, while evolving the company. “My mother’s last words were that she was happy. She was full of projects, she left me hundreds of them, she was energetic and extraordinary. She always looked to the future and she passed this on to me.”
A solid, new board was key, Biagiotti Cigna explained. “I’ve known Michele for years, from both being on the board of the Camera della Moda. I have great respect him, he is a point of reference, has great value and is a manager with great experience. It’s a privilege for me to have him with us. This is a family company but it is also a business, which is made by people.”
The brand’s spring show will be held on Sept. 24 in Milan.
“I was born the day of the label’s show on Oct. 12, 1978. It’s the only time my mother did not close her show,” said Biagiotti Cigna. “Also, I share my birthday with my grandmother Delia, who founded the company.” Incidentally, the company turned 52 on July 30. “This is why I chose to announce these changes now,” she said.
Biagiotti Cigna promoted the restoration, with Laura Biagiotti Parfums, of the Stairs of the Campidoglio, the fountains in Piazza Farnese in Rome and also of the Great Curtain of La Fenice theater in Venice. She is a council member of the Biagiotti Cigna Foundation, which owns a collection of more than 200 Futuristic works by Giacomo Balla. A member of the Italian Unicredit Advisory Board, she is vice president of the Foundation Music for Rome — Auditorium Parco della Musica, and a member of the Permanent Women’s Consultation Group of the Pontifical Council for Culture.
Fabio Virgili was confirmed as the Biagiotti Group’s senior vice president and Demetrio Minuto as council member.
Known for her luxury cashmere pieces and feminine silhouettes, Laura Biagiotti contributed to the success of Italian fashion around the world. The first Laura Biagiotti collection made its debut in 1972 at the Sala Bianca in Florence, together with designs by Ottavio and Rosita Missoni, Walter Albini, Krizia’s Mariuccia Mandelli and Gianfranco Ferré.
Biagiotti was the first Italian designer to present a fashion show in China, and among the first to show in Russia. The China event took place in Beijing on April 25, 1988, followed by an event at the Grand Theater of the Kremlin in February 1995.
The company’s headquarters are located in Castello Marco Simone, an 11th-century national monument restored by the family. The grounds of the castle feature one of Europe’s most famous golf courses, the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, which is to host the Ryder Cup in 2022.