MILAN — Will a new creative director at Philosophy be able to turn around the Italian brand?
This story first appeared in the October 9, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
In its latest attempt to revitalize the label, parent company Aeffe SpA has named Lorenzo Serafini creative director of Philosophy. Aeffe president Massimo Ferretti claimed Serafini will inject “new life” into the brand. Serafini was most recently lead women’s-wear designer at Dolce & Gabbana, following an experience in the same role at Roberto Cavalli. His first collection will bow for pre-fall 2015, and his runway debut will take place in February in Milan. Previously, the label had been showing for several years in New York.
Serafini’s predecessor, Natalie Ratabesi, was tapped in October 2012, but she left her post last June. When Ratabesi joined the brand, it marked the first time Alberta Ferretti had delegated the entire direction of Philosophy to another designer, meaning to develop the label in an independent way and so differentiate it from the signature collection. The Philosophy line was launched in 1984.
The strategy has seemed to work, in a sense. In May, during a conference call with analysts to discuss the group’s financial results from the first three months of the year, managing director and chief financial officer Marcello Tassinari spoke of Philosophy’s poor performance but touted the growth of the Alberta Ferretti collection and Moschino following the arrival of its new creative director, Jeremy Scott. At the time, Tassinari noted that Philosophy’s performance “was negative compared with the other brands.”
Still, overall, Aeffe has seen some struggles in recent years, although in the six months ended June 30, the Italian fashion group posted a net profit of 150,000 euros, or $205,500, compared with a loss of 3.7 million euros, or $4.84 million, in the same period last year. Sales were 121.1 million euros, or $166 million, down 1.5 percent compared with the same period the previous year.
The ready-to-wear division showed a 3 percent drop, to 94.8 million euros, or $130 million, in sales, while sales of the footwear and leather goods division increased by 12 percent, to 37.7 million euros, or $51.6 million.
Aeffe controls the Alberta Ferretti, Moschino and Pollini brands and produces and distributes collections for labels including Emanuel Ungaro, designed by Fausto Puglisi, and Cédric Charlier.