Dondup S/S 2018

MILAN — A new strategy has been set in motion at Dondup.

The core denim collection will be expanded through a collaboration with Adriano Goldschmied starting from the fall 2018 season. In women’s wear, starting with the resort 2018 collection, the company will work with Mirko Fontana and Diego Marquez, the designers behind the Au Jour Le Jour brand, while the men’s collection will be designed by Ivan Tafuro.

“There’s a good chemistry with each of these designers, and this is fundamental for me,” said president Matteo Marzotto. While emphasizing the importance of building a total look collection, Marzotto’s goal is to further strengthen the brand’s denim category with Goldschmied, who is “revisiting washes and fits. There is no doubt he is an icon in the denim industry.”

“He is inventing new fabrics for us,” underscored chief executive officer Marco Casoni.

“I have a special bond with Dondup,” said Goldschmied, adding that the project was “close to [his] heart.”

During the Nineties, “also together with the Fossombrone company that created Dondup, [he] contributed to the creation of the luxury denim culture that is now one of the pillars of contemporary fashion,” Goldschmied added. “Right from the start, Dondup has always demonstrated a strong sensitivity toward innovation and design in the fabrics and the washes, elements that have always been a passion of mine and a principal objective of my career.”

Fontana and Marquez “bring strong creativity to the brand without revolutionizing it but rather integrating it with their style,” Marzotto said.

Casoni said the new model allows the company to be more flexible.

Arcadia Srl, Dondup’s parent company, in 2016 registered sales of 54 million euros.  Marzotto said he expected revenues to reach 60 million euros in 2017. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization are expected to represent 26 percent of sales in 2017, up from 20 percent in 2016, boosted by the new organization and distribution model set in place by the entrepreneur and Casoni. The company has established two showrooms, in Milan and Rome, from which it directly handles sales.

The company has been expanding its sales outside of Italy by 10 percentage points. Exports now represent 30 percent of revenues.

“Dondup has enormous potential to grow internationally,” Casoni said. “After reformulating the business model, we are now working on the brand’s creativity.”

The company presented its spring 2018 men’s collection at the brand’s flagship in Milan on Monday, showing a cohesive lineup. Checked and striped jackets over cotton and linen pleated pants flanked the new field jacket in a camouflage pattern in pastel tones of azure, green and yellow. A pink and red sweater pointed to the expansion of the brand into knitwear.

As reported, Dondup cofounder and creative designer Manuela Mariotti exited the brand in March after 18 years at the helm.

The company that Mariotti founded with Massimo Berloni is controlled by L Catterton with a 91 percent stake and, in September, former Valentino chairman Matteo Marzotto invested in Dondup, becoming its president. Stakes in Dondup were first acquired by the European arm of L Capital in 2009 and then by L Capital Asia in 2015 (L Capital is now part of L Catterton).

In September, Casoni, placing the brand in the contemporary premium sector, said the company aims to reach sales of around 90 million euros in 2020.

Dondup is based in Fossombrone, in Italy’s Marche region, and relies on a supply chain spanning from washes to finishings.

The collection is available at around 600 multibrand stores.

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