MILAN — The future of Made in Italy took center stage at the yearly Pambianco conference here Friday, aptly called “Made in Italy without Italy?”
David Pambianco, vice president of Milan-based consultancy Pambianco Strategie d’Impresa, argued that as foreign groups take control of an increasing number of Italian brands, the latter rely on a strong international network and significant resources, creating employment and development, but business direction and profits are channeled outside Italy. “Italy is becoming the China of luxury. In the medium and long term, there is a risk that international customers will attribute more importance to the brand and less to the production, shifting from ‘Made in’ to ‘Made by,’ leading to a diminished production in Italy,” warned Pambianco. “It is fundamental for small and medium firms to find new resources, from letting private equity funds in, to a public listing or a partnership with international distributors.”
He pointed to foreign acquisitions in Italy from 1999 to 2012 for a value of 9.22 billion euros, or $12.42 billion at current exchange.
Brunello Cucinelli, president of his namesake company, and Lapo Elkann, president of Italia Independent Group, remarked on the benefits derived by the recent successful listing of their firms. Michele Norsa, chief executive officer of Salvatore Ferragamo, also an example of a strong listing, said “it’s not always true that the biggest wins, while it is true the fastest does.”
Norsa conceded “that there are advantages in real estate or communication” for big groups, but insisted that monobrand companies also grow well and can still lead, citing Michael Kors.
Furla ceo Eraldo Poletto acknowledged the real estate issue and said “you must be big to compete, the challenge is in terms of store locations.” While rumors periodically surface about a possible Furla initial public offering, Poletto said the company is evaluating potential avenues for growth, and not necessarily looking at the stock exchange.
“One must be organized to go public. We don’t have any debt and we are self-financed. Many go public because they have no choice,” he said.
Andrea Guerra, ceo of the publicly traded Luxottica Group, noted that “people have developed a new relationship with eyewear, one in which emotions have been introduced,” in an expanded and more complex world. “There are wonderful new markets, there are three billion new consumers in Asia, but it’s difficult and it is necessary to plan ahead. Either we have time to chart a course, or it is crazy.”
In a video presentation, Renzo Rosso, president of Diesel, Marni, Viktor & Rolf and Maison Martin Margiela parent group OTB, who has often expressed his desire to build a relevant fashion group, said that he was “very much in favor of acquisitions around the world” and that he was evaluating “realities in Japan and the U.S.”
Addressing the evergreen issue of Italy’s lack of fashion groups, Carlo Pambianco, founder of the consultancy, said, “Italian entrepreneurs have big personalities, they are difficult to regroup. Technically it is possible, but concretely it’s difficult.”
Gregorio De Felice, chief economist of Intesa Sanpaolo, said the summer showed “encouraging signs of a pickup in the euro zone and an acceleration of the global economy.” For the first time in the past 10 years, established markets led world growth, and over the next few months, the U.S., Japan and the euro zone “will show an acceleration of imports propelling international trade.”
Intesa Sanpaolo expects 3.1 percent gross domestic product growth in the U.S. in 2014, compared with an estimated 1.6 percent in 2013, and 1 percent growth in the euro zone compared with an expected 0.3 percent decrease this year.
Worldwide, 3.5 percent growth is expected in 2014 compared with 3.1 percent growth in 2013.
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)
The @cfda has shifted the dates of #NYFW, with Men’s showing on February 5 through February 7, and Women’s will directly follow, running from February 8 through 14. The preliminary schedule will be released on the CFDA’s web site in the next few days, but Mark Beckham, VP of marketing for the CFDA, revealed that @rafsimons will be back to close the men’s-specific part of the week with a show on February 7 #wwdfashion (📷: Kelly Taub)
@ferragamo is introducing a new space dedicated to the development of women’s and men’s leather good samples. The laboratory, which is created eco-friendly materials and designed to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes, will allow the company to expand its accessories offering through traditional artisanal approaches. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
How does a “regular, degular, schmegular” girl from the Bronx, N.Y., become a Grammy-nominated artist with a certified platinum record in less than a year? Call it the @iamcardib come up. The 25-year-old has become a musical sensation, and the fashion world is taking note. “If I could describe her style I would say drama. She’s really into the dramatics,” says Cardi B’s stylist @kollincarter. See how Carter styles her bold and out there looks with the link in bio. #wwdfashion
“There is no formula. There is no guideline. I can watch Ted Talks all day, but there is no one who can advise me on exactly what it is I should be doing,” said @ronniefieg, CEO of @kith, in an interview with WWD’s @ariahughes at the brand’s new SoHo office in Manhattan. Head to WWD.com to see how Fieg went from hanging out in shoe stockrooms at 13 to building his own business. #wwdfashion (📷: @weston.wells)
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion