Byline: Sara Gay Forden

MILAN — Krizia is putting together a plan to push distribution of its Krizia Poi line in the U.S. under a wider global expansion program developed by Krizia chairman Aldo Pinto.
“This is a line that has come into its own,” explained Pinto, during an interview at Krizia’s Milan headquarters. “Krizia Poi was started in 1980 as a second line, but I wouldn’t call it a second line anymore. It has its own market niche now,” he said.
As part of the new push, for the first time ever, Krizia will be present at the WWD/MAGIC show in Las Vegas with Krizia Poi as well as its KM by Krizia men’s wear produced by Hartmarx Corp.
“When we found out that MAGIC was initiating a women’s division, we agreed to give it a go,” Pinto said, noting that the firm has reserved a space equivalent to four stands, or about 500 square feet. “This will give a very wide exposure to the name,” he said. The Krizia Poi line, which has already started selling the fall-winter collection, is currently distributed in the U.S. by Voga Trading, New York.
“The line looks very nice, it’s very well made and it is priced strategically,” said Pinto, who is the husband of Krizia designer Mariuccia Mandelli. He noted that a jacket wholesales at $150, a blouse at $70 and pants or skirts at $80. “But we can’t just sit over here in Milan and say come buy it, the way we do with Krizia,” he explained.
The line is produced by Bergamo-based Gruppo Ottanta SpA, in which Krizia has an equity stake.
The line currently has annual sales of roughly $12.5 million (20 billion lire), and Pinto expects that figure to grow significantly this year, though he said he didn’t have any specific sales target.
“We are going to try and push it as much as possible in the U.S., because the Krizia first line is limited in this market by its price tag,” Pinto explained.
Another step in Krizia’s expansion program is the opening of its first company-owned boutique on Madison Avenue next month. The new shop will be located on Madison and 66th Street, as reported.
“If you want to expand, the only way is by opening your own shops,” said Pinto, who noted that Krizia is also scouting a space in Los Angeles for an opening in 1996. Elsewhere, Krizia plans to open a shop in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in March, another in Jakarta, Indonesia, in the fall and one in Rome in the spring of next year.
Krizia, which reported 1994 sales of over $250 million, expects a 20 percent increase in revenue this year, largely due to growth in exports, which make up some 80 percent of the group’s total sales, according to Pinto.
“We are improving in our major markets,” said Pinto, noting that Krizia’s leading export countries are Japan and the countries of southeast Asia. In Japan, Krizia does a $94 million (150 billion lire) business in Krizia lines that were developed especially for the Japanese market: K of Krizia, which is both a men’s and women’s line, and Evex by Krizia, a young women’s line. These lines are produced and distributed by Sanyo, while Sanki imports Krizia’s first line, and the other Italian-made Krizia lines such as Krizia Poi, Krizia Jeans and Per Te by Krizia.
Pinto is convinced that the markets of the Far East “are where we have to look for the future.”
“It’s important to be in the U.S. because they look to the States to see your position, but the major growth is going to be in these new markets,” he said.