MILAN — Genny is branching out. The Italian brand is extending its product offer with a new line of eyewear produced by Jet Set Group that will bow on the runway here today, just as the owners are mapping out retail expansion both locally and internationally. A new Web site, which includes an online store, will live-stream the runway show.
“Genny has always represented Italian excellence, and we want to return luster to the brand,” said Mathias Facchini, chief executive officer of parent company Swinger International. “Genny’s credibility was never damaged, as the label was frozen for a few years.”
In the Eighties and Nineties, spearheaded by Donatella Girombelli, Genny attracted a following for its sharply tailored suits, ornate details and lively prints that catered to working women. In 2001, the Prada Group bought Genny and its sister label, Byblos. Swinger International acquired Genny in February 2011, tapping designer Gabriele Colangelo to revamp it. Byblos is also controlled by the Italian apparel manufacturing group.
Facchini touted the potential of Genny. “It was a pity for such a brand to remain dormant,” he said.
Enter Sara Cavazza Facchini, the entrepreneur’s wife, who cut her teeth under Colangelo and debuted her first collection as art director with the spring 2014 season. “I’ve always had a total affinity for the brand,” said Cavazza Facchini. “I relate to the idea of a feminine woman — I look at [symbols such as] the waist, the pulse, the ankles.
“The world is changing and women are more masculine, but I like femininity and feminine looks,” she explained. “I have always favored white, the color of purity, class and elegance; natural, delicate and fluid fabrics — silks, chiffon, fil coupé. Often with gold, which adds touches of light and brings energy to a dress.”
Cavazza Facchini’s collection for spring 2016 is inspired by the “Déco world, artist Sonia Delaunay, and the Twenties’ style after World War I, which signaled a new rebirth. It is all white with gold elements, and touches of emerald green, semicircular embroideries and jewel clutches.”
Fashion has always played a central role for Cavazza Facchini, as she was discovered at 14 by photographer Oliviero Toscani, who noticed her with her family on a weekend visit, touring the Italian town of Carpi. This helped her land her first cover on Grazia and launched her modeling career, during which she walked the runway for designers including Romeo Gigli and Giorgio Armani. “At the same time, it was important for me to finish my schooling,” said the designer, who has a degree in sociology.
Swinger International is based outside Verona and the company has a department dedicated solely to Genny. The line is produced entirely in Italy and Cavazza Facchini is sensitive to the impact of manufacturing on the environment, transparency of working conditions and consumer awareness.
Facchini said the goal for Genny is to reach sales of 10 million euros, or $11.2 million at current exchange, in three years. The company has just opened its first three stores for the brand, located in luxury Tuscan seaside resort Forte dei Marmi; Rome, and in the exclusive yacht marina Porto Montenegro. Next month or in early November, a unit will open in Dalian, China. “We are already present in the U.S. in specialty stores, but we are looking at opening flagships in either Los Angeles or New York,” Facchini said.