ARMANI SAID IN JOINT VENTURE WITH LICENSEE VESTIMENTA
Byline: Samantha Conti
MILAN — Giorgio Armani’s business is reported to be expanding again.
Well-placed sources here say Armani is set to form a joint venture with longtime licensee Vestimenta for the production of the designer’s Borgonuovo men’s and women’s collections. Armani, they said, will have the controlling stake in the new company.
Spokesmen for Armani and Vestimenta both declined to comment.
Armani’s move should come as no surprise. Over the past few years, his strategy has been to cancel licenses and take his production in-house in a bid to exert more control over quality and distribution and plump up margins. Last year, after buying back factories from another long-term licensee GFT, Armani formed a joint venture with Ermenegildo Zegna for the production and distribution of the Le Collezioni men’s collection.
Under that agreement, Armani owns 51 percent and Zegna owns the remaining 49 percent of the company, known as Trimil. Armani and Gildo Zegna head up the board of directors of the new company.
The designer currently produces the Le Collezioni, Emporio Armani, Armani Jeans and Armani accessories lines in his own factories, which is why it would be a natural next step to take back the production of the Borgonuovo lines.
Vestimenta was founded in the northern Italian town of Trento in 1962, and since then has been manufacturing a line known as Hilton. In the U.S., that line is sold under the Vestimenta label. It has nine production companies in Veneto and Lombardy and employs about 850 people.
The sources said that Armani accounts for some 60 percent of the $125 million in sales that Vestimenta generated last year.