MILAN — There’s a bit of a power surge hitting a cluster of storied Italian fashion brands.
After years of declining sales, analysts say Prada has succeeded in rejuvenating and turning the brand around and the group’s chairman Carlo Mazzi said in July that the plan is to continue to “drive excitement” in the second half. The company reported gains in profitability and revenues in the first half of the year, having caught up on the Chinese shopping craze and e-commerce business, as its leather goods and ready-to-wear are growing again. The company is also mapping out a relaunch of the sporty Linea Rossa line this fall.
The jury is still out on Salvatore Ferragamo, which has seen changes in management and on the design front, but eyes are now on the newly minted chief executive officer Micaela Le Divelec Lemmi, appointed to the role at the end of July. In her first call with analysts to discuss declines in profits and revenues in the first half and a slowdown in the company’s core footwear category, she nonetheless expressed confidence in the “existing talent” at the firm and touted “clarity in brand vision, identity and positioning,” as full-price collections were showing an uptick in sales.
Ferragamo is one of the companies that have opted to go coed and is scheduled to show on Sept. 22 at the Bourse, where it is publicly listed. The men’s and women’s collections are designed by Guillaume Meilland and Paul Andrew, respectively.
Milan Fashion Week is scheduled to run Sept. 18 to 24, but Bottega Veneta is skipping the catwalk this season, with the first collection designed by creative director Daniel Lee, who was tapped by the brand in June, due to bow in February. Lee succeeded Tomas Maier, who held the position for 17 years. A graduate of Central Saint Martins, Lee, 32, was most recently director of ready-to-wear at Céline. As the latest hidden talent to join the top spot of a major fashion brand, Lee is expected to contribute a new perspective and modernity to the brand.
Missoni is forecast to benefit and be reenergized through the deal revealed in June, under which FSI Mid-Market Growth Equity Fund, backed by the Italian government, took a minority holding in the brand. The Missoni family continues to have control with 58.8 percent of the shares. Former Salvatore Ferragamo ceo Michele Norsa, who is an industrial partner of FSI, and leverages a successful track record, has taken on the role of vice president of Missoni. Angela Missoni continues to design the brand while adding the title of president. The goal is to focus on international expansion, product extension and retail development in key markets. Missoni will show on the evening of Sept. 22.
Sources also say that, starting in September, Roberto Cavalli’s owners are expected to actively start opening up to new investors with the plan to inject fresh capital and expand the fashion house. Italian private equity fund Clessidra SGR took control of the Florence-based company in 2015, and market sources say it wants to accelerate the growth of the brand, which under chief financial officer Gian Giacomo Ferraris and creative director Paul Surridge is expected to break even in 2018, leveraging better-than-expected results last year.
Brands here are also investing in collaborations and frequent capsule drops to keep customers engaged and shopping. Moncler, for example, will present the next chapter of its Moncler Genius project at 8 p.m. on Sept. 19. Genius Building, monthly drops with a series of designers ranging from Pierpaolo Piccioli to Simone Rocha, was first unveiled in February. In July, commenting on profits that climbed 47 percent to 61.6 million euros in the first half, Moncler chairman and ceo Remo Ruffini said “the launch of the first Moncler Genius collection has been acclaimed a success in all markets and in all channels we operate in, and the company managed to meet all the given deadlines.” He said the company foresees further growth in 2018.
Chairman and ceo Diego Della Valle is also restructuring Tod’s and its vertically integrated pipeline and will present its first capsule under the Tod’s No_Code umbrella in October in a partnership with Lapo Elkann’s Garage Italia, which customizes cars, motorcycles, airplanes, helicopters and boats. In June, Della Valle teased the project, saying it will “perfectly mix our DNA, quality and best materials with a lot of innovation. This will be the best mix in luxury.” No_Code means there are no rules in terms of distribution, timing or seasons, the entrepreneur explained. The No_Code project will involve a series of collaborations with individuals in different fields.
These changes take place as Milan Fashion Week sees a major player, Gucci, decamping this season to Paris for a one-off show in the French capital on Sept. 24, although the company is working on staging an event on Sept. 19. The brand remains the industry leader in the growth game, with organic sales leaping 40 percent in the three months to June 30.
Giorgio Armani is planning an event on the evening of Sept. 20 with a coed Emporio Armani show, highlighting the new course of the label as the designer restructures his brands.
Etro will celebrate its 50th anniversary with an exhibition at Milan’s MUDEC (Museo delle Culture) museum, which will be inaugurated on Sept. 22 and retrace the history of the company. The following day, Fila will make its runway debut as it also inaugurates an exhibition at the Triennale Design Museum. For the brand’s debut in the high-end fashion arena, Fila tapped as creative directors Antonino Ingrasciotta and Joseph Graesel, who worked together at Strenesse and Adidas Originals.
Plan C, the new ready-to-wear fashion brand designed by Carolina Castiglioni, will present for the first time during Milan Fashion Week. This takes place two years after the exit of her mother, Consuelo Castiglioni, from Marni. Her father Gianni is serving as Plan C’s ceo and her brother Giovanni as operations director, while her mother is not part of the project. Renzo Rosso’s OTB took full control of Marni in 2015 and the Castiglioni family exited the following year and tapped Prada alum Francesco Risso to design the brand.
The week will wrap up with the second edition of the Green Carpet Fashion Awards Italia.