MILAN — Gianfranco Ferre has outlined a new labeling strategy to reach out to a wider customer base and boost its name recognition.

The brand will refer to itself as Ferre (dropping the Gianfranco that many fashion followers have already shed), a development Ferre chief executive officer Massimo Macchi announced at a press conference Sunday, kicking off men’s collections week here.

Three labels comprise the Ferre brand: Gianfranco Ferre (the top-tier fashion line presented on the runway), Ferre (the lower-priced label formerly known as White Label), and GF Ferre, (the recently launched diffusion collection).

Macchi said the company is focusing on growing the middle-range Ferre label, the “real moneymaker” with prices about 30 percent lower than those of top-tier Gianfranco Ferre. Both Gianfranco Ferre and Ferre will be sold in the same boutiques, which will see their storefronts converted to the name Ferre. A Ferre store is slated to open in Florence in September.

Macchi said that the Ferre name is more “dynamic” and “aggressive” and “more respectful to the individual called Gianfranco.”

Over the years, the Gianfranco name has been associated with a bevy of secondary lines outsourced to former partner Marzotto. These included Gianfranco Ferre Studio, Gieffeffe and Forma.

Ferre is looking to broaden its customer base by growing its accessories business and more affordable pieces that compete with the likes of other fashion houses. The Gianfranco Ferre line, which costs more than the likes of Prada and Giorgio Armani, will continue to bridge the gap between couture and ready-to-wear, Macchi said.

The ceo predicted that Ferre’s sales will grow 10 percent each year for the next five years, reiterating a forecast he made to WWD last month.

“I feel very confident to talk about this brand,” he said.

This story first appeared in the June 27, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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