Valentino has named Laurent Bergamo chief executive officer, Americas. Bergamo started in his new post on Sept. 1, and reports to chief commercial officer Marco Giacometti, who assumed his role in April.
Bergamo arrived at Valentino in 2018 as general manager of its Middle East region. Previously, he spent 14 years at Tod’s.
Valentino said the move is made “with the drive of shaping a more bespoke brand.” As ceo of the region encompassing the U.S., Canada and Mexico markets, Bergamo will oversee “a new development phase” for the brand’s retail, wholesale and online distribution channels in the region.
The retail component of that phase is already in high-profile motion, and indicates the importance of the region to the company. On Sept. 12, Valentino will open its first store in Mexico at El Palacio de Hierro Perisur in Mexico City. In June, the brand unveiled the expansion of its Highland Park Village boutique in Dallas. That store opened in 2017 with an all-women’s focus. Post-expansion, it houses as well as a full range of men’s products, including ready-to-wear, accessories and fragrance.
Yet the brand doesn’t see retail development only in terms of openings and renovations. In June, it was reported that Valentino filed a lawsuit seeking to terminate the lease on its Fifth Avenue store in New York. Likely, the government-mandated shutdown of stores early in the coronavirus pandemic factored heavily into that move. But the brand’s desired exit from the location is indicative as well of rumored concerns within the house as to whether, given the street’s increasingly mass orientation, Fifth Avenue remains the right place for a Valentino flagship — a notion supported by the brand’s “more bespoke” reference today.
Bergamo’s arrival at Valentino is the most recent in a series of c-suite moves for the brand, owned by the Qatar-based investment firm Mayhoola. In June, Jacopo Venturini replaced the long-tenured Stefano Sassi as ceo. At the time, Valentino’s chairman Rachid Mohamed Rachid said, “I do believe that Jacopo, with his sharp vision and unique capability in sensing market changes, will inject in Valentino new vibrant energies. We are happy to have him lead the new brand course.”
Alessio Vannetti joined the house on March 1 in the new position of chief brand officer. And back in January, Sebastian Suhl, then-managing director of global markets, left the company after a two-year run.
Conversely, the creative helm at the Rome-based couture house has been constant, led by Pierpaolo Piccioli, on his own since 2016, and previously, in partnership with Maria Grazia Chiuri, who left to become creative director of Dior. The two took on the roles of co-creative directors after the 2008 retirement of house founder Valentino Garavani.
Piccioli’s consistently exquisite collections have made him one of fashion’s most watched and respected designers, and elevated the artistic mojo of the house. He has said his goal as a couturier is to retain the noble values of couture while always proving their currency through his work.
“Couture to me means a uniqueness, it means one-of-a-kind, it means diversity, it also means extravagance, the freedom to be whatever you want to be,” Piccioli told WWD last year. “And so translating these values into something which is more daywear, more contemporary. Because I think the dream can’t be too far. If it is [too distant], it’s just a utopia.”