Bergdorf Goodman is putting the spotlight on Italian style by partnering with the Italian Trade Commission to introduce small and up-and-coming Italian designers.
The program began this month and will run through next year, marking a commitment by Bergdorf’s to take a risk on some relatively unknown labels and add a point of distinction to the merchandising.
“This gives us an intense opportunity to find the next generation of Italian designers,” said Melissa Lowenkron, Bergdorf’s senior vice president and general merchandise manager over women’s ready-to-wear, shoes, handbags and beauty.
“The focus is on smaller vendors that we are really nurturing. It is a calculated risk. It takes time to develop somebody, so we may not see an immediate response. But we have always believed in finding new people. We were the first to introduce Fendi and Brunello Cucinelli to the American market.”
Since 2015, ITC, the Italian Trade Agency and other government and private institutions in Italy have introduced about 200 Italian labels to the U.S.
At Bergdorf’s, the spring plan entails in-store visual displays, a BG.com digital campaign, dedicated e-mails and social media campaigns. Women’s labels being introduced include:
• Attico rtw and shoes, launched last year. Attico means “penthouse” in Italian and was started by street-style personalities Giorgia Tordini and Gilda Ambrosio. The focuses is on boudoir dressing for day or night. Attico created four exclusives for Bergdorf’s.
• Antonini jewelry, founded in 1919.
• No. 21 launched by Alessandro Dell’Acqua in 2010, focusing on sexy mule stilettos, floral-embroidered sneakers and leather pumps.
• Percossi Papi jewelry. He’s been in business since 1968 in a small atelier next to the Pantheon. He focuses on color, forms and materials.
For fall 2017, women’s introductions will include:
• Faliero Sarti, in business since 1949, creating accessories including scarves in materials like cashmere, wool, angora, silk and linen.
• Franco Ferrari accessories, launched in 1978, for a range of high-end scarves.
• Simonetta Ravizza for detailed modern outerwear.
• Cutuli Cult accessories, founded by designer Claudio Cutuli and made from natural fibers such as bamboo, hemp, linen, wool, silk and cashmere and imbued with a rock-chic aesthetic.
Aside from Fendi and Brunello Cucinelli, other key women’s and men’s Italian labels sold at Bergdorf’s include Loro Piana, Ermenegildo Zegna, Kiton, Prada, Valentino, Bottega Veneta, Gianvito Rossi, Aquazzura, Agnona and Rene Caovilla. Designers include Attico, LaDoubleJ, Avec Modération, No. 21, Le Petit Joueurs, MSGM and Marco de Vincenzo.
On the men’s side, Bergdorf’s in the fall will introduce several Italian collections, including Mandelli outerwear, Ruffo rtw, Tecknomonster luggage; Valstar outerwear, and Fedeli rtw.
“In September, we will be doing a pop-up in men’s pulling these together in the area called The Pit,” said Lowenkron.
Lowenkron said the Italian Trade Commission “helps us identify some of the smaller brands. While we have this focus on bringing in new designers, we are still very diligent that they are the right fit for the store.”
Bergdorf’s declined to discuss how much the ITC contributes to the strategy, which has not been given a name for marketing purposes, though products are flagged with signs that read “From Italy With Love.”