NEW YORK — After two years of selling its Accento Marzotto bridge sportswear to a limited number of specialty stores, Marzotto (USA) Corp. is ready to roll out its line to the majors for spring.
“We’ve been working on a plan so the collection has the right look at the right price,” said Sergio Garretti, president. “We’ve made adjustments: As an Italian company, we used to ship a lot of heavyweight fabrics, and now we’re looking more at seasonless fabrics. We’re also moving to ship more deliveries.”
Garretti became president of Marzotto USA — the U.S. arm of Italy’s giant textile and apparel producer Marzotto SpA — in January, after having been the director of the firm’s outsourcing division since 1992. Prior to that, he was chief executive officer of GFT Spain from 1989 to 1991, and ceo of GFT Mexico from 1983 to 1988.
“We’ve done a nice specialty store business that’s grown consistently,” he pointed out. “But now we feel that we’re able to service the bigger accounts. It seems the right moment to offer this type of collection.”
Because of the reevaluation of the lire and the fact that Accento Marzotto is produced in Marzotto’s own factories in Italy, the firm was able to lower its prices for fall about 20 percent — to prices Garretti feels offer the best opportunity for growth. Jackets will not top $400 at retail.
“It looks a little less Italian but still has an Italian flair,” said Michele Mascarenhas, national sales manager for Marzotto. “This is an international line but we adapt it for the U.S.”
Accento is expected to account for nearly 20 percent of Marzotto USA’s annual wholesale volume of $25 million in 1994. Garretti and Mascarenhas said that with the hoped-for addition of several major accounts, the women’s business could account for up to 40 percent of the total business within the next year or so.
The firm also distributes several men’s lines produced by Marzotto SpA — Missoni Uomo, Example by Missoni, Studio 000.1 by Ferre, Ricerche di Enrico Coveri, Principe by Marzotto, Uomo Lebole and Millibar.
“I think consumers are moving more toward bridge because it does have the best relation between value and price,” said Garretti.
Marzotto USA’s other women’s businesses include distribution of the Missoni Donna sportswear collection, to which Marzotto SpA holds the worldwide license. It has distributed the line here for just two seasons. It is marketed as a designer collection, with retail prices around $700 for jackets.
“It is a very characterized look for the Missoni customer,” said Garretti, “and has a small potential niche market. But we could see it moving into a few major stores in small quantities.”
Garretti sees more possibilities for the Studio 000.1 by Ferre women’s collection, for which Marzotto SpA holds the worldwide license. It will be tested again at retail here this spring, said Garretti, for a full fall launch that will include personal appearances by Gianfranco Ferre. Prices at retail will be $800 to $900 for jackets.
“We have to test the fit and service we can provide,” he added. “We tried to launch it about two years ago and it wasn’t the right fit, and we couldn’t properly service the accounts. Now, everything we’ve learned with Accento will be applied to Ferre. So this will have the look and style of Ferre with the quality and service of Accento.”