IN FOCUS

Gianfranco Ferre’s secondary line, Gieffeffe, is preparing to take on the rest of the bridge alphabet, from CK to DKNY.
Gieffeffe is outpacing sales here on a season-to-date basis by 30 percent over its launch in 1996, according to Sergio Garretti, president of Marzotto USA, the North American arm of Milan-based Marzotto SpA, which holds the Gieffeffe license.
The label, derived from the designer’s initials in Italian, is now being positioned for a major U.S. push with five freestanding boutiques and multiple store-in-store concepts planned over the next two years.
Produced in Italy, Gieffeffe was on the mark with its first-year global sales projections. Marzotto expects to generate $94 million with the line over the first three years, with $33 million planned for 1997.
As part of the U.S. strategy, Marzotto is negotiating for space in five major cities: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington and Miami, said Garretti. The Washington store is one of 11 planned for 1997 around the world, as Gieffeffe debuts in locales from Dubai to Moscow.
The collection was launched in 15 freestanding boutiques last year.
“The line is doing very well,” Garretti said, although he would not cite U.S. volume. He does expect sales will double here each year over the next two years.
The 15 Gieffeffe stores are concentrated in Europe and Asia, including sites in Florence, Tokyo, Paris and London. The line of separates is sold in about 60 doors in the U.S., including specialty and department stores such as Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale’s, Garretti said.
When Gieffeffe opened in New York three seasons ago, the focus was on sportswear. But now Ferre has reshaped it into a trendy rtw collection, and his Tuesday morning show included everything from long-skirted pinstriped suits and baggy pants paired with geometric sweaters to skinny ribbed knits and evening metallics. As Ferre explained after the show, “What do Americans need with another sportswear collection? They already have great sportswear here.”
This line, says Ferre, is reserved for more advanced ideas and is priced below his Studio 000.1 collection where the emphasis is on classic designs.
Knits, T-shirts and pants have been the big sellers in this item-driven collection, which ranges from suits to parkas targeted at young, urban men and women, ages 18-30.
Although the women’s collection is larger than the men’s, Garretti said sales are split evenly between the genders. And, in fact, sales of the men’s are double the original projections.

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