Supported by investment fund Style Capital, which in April 2017 acquired a 51 percent majority stake in the Italian advanced contemporary women’s wear label, Forte_Forte is expanding its international presence.
The brand, which last spring opened its first store in Milan, has recently inaugurated its second retail outpost, a 1,292-square-foot shop on Paris’ Rue de Grenelle, in the charming Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood.
“The deal we signed with Style Capital is enabling us to develop a retail project, which has been in the works for years but which was impossible to finalize without significant investments,” said Giada Forte, cofounder and creative director of the label. “The partnership with Style Capital is really fruitful for us because they left us free to continue managing the creative and commercial departments.”
Defined by a combination of textured and soft elements, the Paris store with its mix of granite, pink quartz, brass and gold details, reflects the elegant and feminine attitude of the brand.
“Both the Milan and Paris stores are performing over our expectations,” said Roberta Benaglia, chief executive officer of Style Capital SGR, the company that controls the Milan-based fund. “We are currently looking with our local business partner for a third store in Tokyo, which is expected to open in 2019.”
Next year will actually be key for the brand’s commercial expansion. According to Benaglia, Forte_Forte, which is sold in about 450 stores around the world, will debut two shops-in-shop at Spanish department store El Corte Inglés in Barcelona and Marbella; two shops-in-shop in Paris at Galeries Lafayette and Le Bon Marché, respectively, as well as another shop-in-shop at Tsum in Russia.
“In terms of additional flagships we are doing researches in London in the Brompton Cross area and in New York in the SoHo district,” Benaglia said.
In the U.K., Forte_Forte collections are available at Harvey Nichols, Fenwick, The Shop at Bluebird, The Cross and Boutique 1, while in the U.S. the brand has recently doubled its presence inside Neiman Marcus doors to 12.
Strengthening its relationship with the American department store, Forte_Forte has developed a special capsule collection, which will be on sale at Neiman Marcus starting from March.
“For the capsule, we reworked pieces from the spring 2019 collection to create a mini wardrobe of eight items for a global traveler,” said Forte, adding that pop-up shops will be installed inside a range of Neiman Marcus stores to highlight the project. Before Style Capital’s acquisition, the fashion label was distributed in the U.S. under the brand Giada Forte. “We actually managed to get the rights to use the Forte_Forte label in the U.S., and this will also make our collaboration with the online stores that have a global presence easier,” Benaglia said.
In conjunction with the brand’s retail expansion, Forte_Forte is investing in the creation of consistent accessories collections, which now include footwear and jewelry.
“With the spring 2019 lineup, we have introduced a more affordable rage of bijoux crafted from textiles and yarns, which are manufactured in Apulia,” Forte explained.
Benaglia said Forte_Forte expects to close 2018 with revenues between 22.5 and 23 million euros, registering a significant increase compared to the previous year, when the company posted revenues 17.9 million euros.
Last February, Style Capital, which manages a portfolio of 100 million euros, acquired a 32 percent stake in fashion brand MSGM. Style Capital’s parent company Style Capital SGR also controls the DGPA Capital private-equity fund, which includes investments in beachwear brand Sundek, as well as in jewelry label Damiani.