MILAN — Diane von Furstenberg’s petite valise, or little suitcase, is getting a bit fuller.
The New York-based designer has signed a licensing deal with Italian silk giant Mantero for the production and distribution of a beach line and foulard collection.
“Even if I don’t like the word, the best way to describe the mood of the collection is a little jet set,” von Furstenberg said on Monday, speaking perfect Italian. “There will be color and prints. I really think the foulard has become boring and I want to relaunch it and make it glamorous.”
The foulard collection, which will pull from historic von Furstenberg prints, including the Andy Warhol portraits, is set to bow in November. The beach line, meanwhile, will hit retail in January. Both collections will be distributed in top specialty stores in 50 countries throughout the world. Mantero chief Mortiz Mantero said he expected the collections to generate $10 million in sales in the next five years.
For Mantero, a historic Como-based silk producer, von Furstenberg’s beachwear license marks its second foray into finished products. It also produces an innerwear and beach collection under license for Gianfranco Ferré. “Obviously, our strength is silk accessories, but we’re certainly getting closer to more finished products,” said Moritz Mantero, chief executive officer of the family-run mill. “It’s not our intention to produce ready-to-wear, but we won’t exclude any project that can reinforce the company.”
Approached by Mantero, von Furstenberg said the license agreement was a kind of “honorary degree” in silk production. “I started out in Como 30 years ago, producing dresses that I sold in the U.S.,” von Furstenberg said. “I learned everything about prints then, and now, to have this with Mantero is a bit like graduating. It’s a huge acknowledgment.”
Before arriving in Como and then Milan, von Furstenberg stopped off in Paris to check on the construction of her first store there. Located just off the Rue Saint-Honoré, von Furstenberg said it’s set to open in early September. She was off to Rome and then back to France for the Cannes Film Festival.