MILAN — Signaling the new course of the brand under Paul Surridge, who joined the company last year, the Roberto Cavalli Group unveiled a retail concept conceived by the creative director in Berlin. The unit also marks Cavalli’s direct entrance in Germany for the first time.
Located in Berlin’s prestigious Kurfürstendamm shopping boulevard, the store covers 2,476 square feet and carries men’s and women’s ready-to-wear and accessories, shoes, bags, watches, fashion jewelry, eyewear, fragrances, home accessories and tableware. A special haute couture service for customized designs is also available by appointment and, starting with the fall season, will be expanded to men’s.
Chief executive officer Gian Giacomo Ferraris emphasized Berlin’s “dynamic and energetic qualities,” which he said fit with the new spirit of the company. “This flagship also marks the opening of a new retail market for us, Germany, which I think will be pivotal for the further expansion of the brand.”
Developed in collaboration with Milan-based interior design firm Rodrigo Izquierdo Design Studio, with this new concept, the company “really wanted to exalt and celebrate the Florentine roots of the Roberto Cavalli house,” said Surridge. “Our goal was to create a modern and enjoyable space where customers could fully immerse themselves in a Tuscany-inspired environment, defined by an elegant purity of the shapes combined with the sumptuous richness of colors and materials.”
Stores in Harbin, China, and in Milan will be the next to feature this concept.
Precious marble floors and elegant vaulted ceilings contribute to the echoes of a Florentine palazzo.
In the women’s area, the smoky gray durmast oak floor is embellished with graphic marble intarsia, while the walls, which are covered with lime plaster, are decorated with red marble with white veins.
The men’s area has a more masculine vibe with the wooden floor enriched with gray marble intarsia and red and gray marble matched on the walls.
The sleek, linear silhouettes of the furniture are juxtaposed with statement sofas and armchairs with sculptural curved shapes; the geometric display counters, crafted from hammered brass with an intriguing tactile effect, reveal spherical bases, while the brushed brass tracks are enriched by interwoven leather inspired by the handrails of antique palazzos. The center of each room is highlighted by a group of three cylindrical gold pendant lamps.
“With the debut of this new store concept, which clearly reflects the new direction of our luxury brand, we can finally say to have the right tools to communicate our vision and values, as well as to interact with our final clients in the most effective and precise way,” said Ferraris. “The store concept, along with the runways shows, the advertising campaigns and our digital activities, are all parts of an organic communication strategy” defined with Surridge “in order to affirm the modern and straightforward vision of the Roberto Cavalli house,” said Ferraris, who in March told WWD he expects to see the company break even in 2018, leveraging better-than-expected results last year.
While still operating at a loss, that figure was substantially reduced last year because of tight cost control and the reorganization set in motion in 2016. Operating losses before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization totaled 7.1 million euros in 2017 compared with a loss of 26.2 million euros in 2016. As of Dec. 31, the company had a positive net financial position of 1.2 million euros. In the 12 months ended Dec. 31, revenues were down 1.8 percent to 152.4 million euros, compared with 155.2 million euros in 2016, but Ferraris emphasized that the figure stabilized after years of steep declines in the range of about 25 percent each year. Stabilizing sales was one of the most urgent tasks when he took over, as reported.
Ferraris, who joined Cavalli in May 2016 after exiting Versace, underscored that direct sales were achieved despite the closure of six stores that were “unprofitable and not relevant internationally,” from Vienna to Madrid; relocations, and the rationalization of the wholesale business. Retail sales last year totaled 64 million euros.
The group operates 48 directly operated Roberto Cavalli monobrand stores.
The European Union last year accounted for 48 percent of sales, followed by the U.S., which represented 31 percent of the total.
In May 2016, Italmobiliare SpA, the publicly listed investment group owned by the Pesenti family, took control of the brand’s most recent owner, Italian private equity fund Clessidra Sgr SpA. Roberto Cavalli himself retains a 10 percent stake in the firm, but he has eased out of the fashion industry.