MILAN — L’Autre Chose is banking on a young talent to forge the new course of the brand, appointing a new creative director shortly after the arrival of chief executive officer Alice Carli.
Designer Nicolò Beretta, 22, has joined the Italian brand and his first designs will be unveiled in November and will be carried in stores in March. Beretta will continue to design his own luxury footwear label Giannico, which he launched in 2013. Known for his witty take and colorful embellishments on shoes, which have caught the attention of the likes of Lady Gaga and Chiara Ferragni, Beretta won the Who’s on Next prize in 2015 and in 2016 received the Footwear News Emerging Talent Award.
In an interview at the L’Autre Chose showroom here, Carli explained that Beretta’s take on the upper premium brand will help it to grow internationally and expand its core footwear division as well as its ready-to-wear, handbags and small leather goods categories. “Being contemporary is key for us — we are building collections that must be more dynamic and modern,” said Carli, who was appointed in June to lead the company. She was previously head of global marketing and business development for the U.S. and Asia at Peuterey. Before that, she was global strategic marketing executive at Furla from 2012 to 2015. Carli succeeded Erika Filipponi, who left after two years.
“L’Autre Chose is a small brand that has the potential to become big, but only if led by a contemporary creative director who understands today’s consumer, who is less loyal, more attentive to the price-quality ratio, more digital and more international,” she noted.
“This is a challenging project that immediately fascinated me, and I’ve always wanted to give a more complete image of my woman,” Beretta said of his decision to take on the position, although he has never been in charge of an apparel collection. “This gives me the opportunity to express myself and I know how Alice works, so that is a guarantee for me. It’s exciting to be able to develop a range of products at a more democratic level.”
The company is based in Porto Sant’Elpidio in the central March region, a storied footwear manufacturing hub, and Carli emphasized the Italian production. Shoes account for 70 percent of sales, followed by rtw, which represents 20 percent. Leather goods account for the remainder. The goal is to balance things out, with shoes accounting for 50 percent and expanding the percentage of leather goods.
Carli said she is overhauling the organization because she wants to steer the company away from the norm of seasonal deliveries. The collections will be divided into separate monthly releases, which will help inject novelty in stores and boost online sales, she contended. “It is fundamental to have more dynamic deliveries. Time-to-market is key.”
Carli is working on a three-year business plan for the brand and she believes it is achievable to more than double sales, which now stand at 14 million euros and are mainly derived from Italy. The executive plans to change this and has activated a series of international partnerships that help “to position the label and give it an international visibility it didn’t have before.”
There are five L’Autre Chose flagship stores in Milan, Rome, Turin, Bologna and Milano Marittima. Carli is developing a series of pop-up stores to open to coincide with particular moments during the year. Case in point is one pop-up at Rinascente that will be open until Christmas.
Already with the fall season, there are plans for windows at Tsum, Galeries Lafayette and LuisaViaRoma and Carli is working with leading Russian retailer Bosco di Ciliegi. She was pleased by the jump in sales after the recently inked partnership with Farfetch, which now also carries the brand’s rtw in addition to the shoes and bags.
“This proves the potential of the brand, which despite it not being mainstream, fills a market void. We fit in that segment that was once controlled by the designers’ second lines, accessible but long-lasting and value-for-money,” she mused. Second lines, Carli continued, have generally been either merged into the signature labels or their prices have significantly been hiked. Beretta concurred: “People are willing to spend a lot if there is something very special or recognizable — often more for the latter. [In our segment], there are some many basics out there, and we want to bring a new sense of freshness, which we hope will be a driver.”
The company has also just signed a deal with global platform Joor. Carli revealed the brand will soon add a children’s line under license for young girls.
The L’Autre Chose web site was relaunched on Sept. 3 and is available in Italian, English, French and German with a 24/7 live chat and a CRM multitasking platform for top customer care, said Carli, and to manage B2B contacts. She has also set up a specific omnichannel division.
L’Autre Chose is controlled by Sator Private Equity Fund, which has an 84 percent stake in the Italian Boccaccini SpA company. This was founded in 1959 and launched the brand in 1987. The remaining shares are in the hands of the Boccaccini family. Francesca Sabatini is president of the label, known for its feminine shoe designs, enriched by artisanal details and innovative materials.