MILAN — RedStone Haute Couture and storied Italian fashion and couture house Curiel Srl have signed a joint venture to push the company forward by leveraging on its more than 100-year-old heritage and haute couture expertise. Both Raffaella Curiel and her daughter Gigliola will stay on as creative minds.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Chinese luxury brand management firm RedStone Haute Couture also owns high-end Italian brand Giada, designed by Gabriele Colangelo.
The newly formed company is called Curiel Ltd. The goal is to meld legacy and immediacy by enhancing the family tradition, expertise and archives counterpointed by a more contemporary and on-trend offering hinged on eveningwear.
“Our focus are small companies which we bring to China, where the luxury goods customer appreciates and understands the Italian know-how, experience, culture, design, from the top-quality fabrics to the labor-intensive finished garment,” said Zhao Yizheng, general manager of RedStone Haute Couture. “For us investing in a brand is a bit like raising a child, we do it with love and passion, not only for the numbers.”
Yizheng first met Raffaella and Gigliola Curiel in December through a mutual friend and was immediately smitten by the brand’s longstanding history.
“Raffaella showed me her first sketches of when she was seven years and I was shocked because this is one of the few fourth-generation brands that still has a designer who is alive and active. I immediately started thinking of how I wanted to develop it,” Yizheng said.
For her part, Raffaella Curiel noted that she would have never partnered with just anybody. “Mr. Yizheng has the sensitivity, capacity and know-how to appreciate the outstanding history that has been successfully going on for over four generations and bring it into the future,” noted the designer.
Starting in September, the offering will be divided between Raffaella Curiel’s Haute Couture line and her daughter Gigliola’s younger couture concept. The more accessible and dress-centric ready-to-wear portion that offers a dawn-into-dark selection of styles, from cocktail to evening to bridal, instead will be pivotal in driving growth and international exposure. Retail prices for the latter will range from $560 to $1,676.
“We also plan on building a strong e-commerce presence and to launch a children’s wear line and a fragrance, both developed in-house to guarantee the highest standards of quality and control,” said Yizheng, who that he is in talks for a landmark Palazzo in Milan’s Golden triangle that will house Curiel’s headquarters, complete with a store, showroom, offices and even a restaurant. He also noted that a newly formed international team is at work to research insight on the house and organize its archives and historical documents, also in light of an exhibition planned during Milan fashion week in September.
Besides Milan, Curiel showroom openings are planned for Shanghai, New York, Beijing, Los Angeles, London and Paris.
Curiel’s story began in Mittle-European Trieste under the spell of the Habsburgs when, toward the end of the 19th century, Ortensia Curiel ran a high-profile dressmaking shop. In post-war Milan Ortensia’s granddaughter Gigliola Curiel opened an atelier that in the Fifties and Sixties lured the city’s aristocracy and upper class. In 1961, Curiel’s daughter Raffaella made her foray in the company. In 1965, she presented her first collection at Bergdorf Goodman and in 1970 opened her first boutique in Milan for both rtw and haute couture. Throughout her career, she has received a number of honors including The Knighthood of Gran Croce of the Italian Republic and the Ambrogino d’Oro of the Province of Milan.
The Italian-made Giada label has 53 boutiques in China and a flagship in Via Montenapoleone, which will be enlarged from the current 4,328 square feet to 7,600 square feet by mid-2017. Other flagships in the pipeline include New York’s Madison Avenue, Sloane Street in London and Avenue Montaigne in Paris in 2016 and 2017, respectively.