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MILAN — Ermenegildo Zegna has unveiled the first fruits of its collaboration with Marcolin.

This story first appeared in the December 11, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

In February, the two companies signed a 10-year licensing agreement for the production and distribution of eyewear collections under the Italian luxury men’s wear moniker. A licensing deal was also signed for the group’s Agnona women’s wear brand. The latter will be introduced in 2016.

Making their debut in Zegna’s Milanese flagship this week before rolling out to the label’s other stores, select department stores and opticians in January, the first collections produced by Marcolin are offered under both the Ermenegildo Zegna and Ermenegildo Zegna Couture names.

Retailing from 160 euros, or $198 at current exchange rate, to 270 euros, or $335, the Ermenegildo Zegna line consists of 18 optical frames and 15 sunglasses in classic shapes with a contemporary twist. These include acetate styles with arms of acetate with deerskin or wood. There are frames where the acetate is treated to resemble horn, and others where titanium is used for a retro look. Several of Ermenegildo Zegna’s signature motifs, including pinstripes and chevron patterns, are also subtly reproduced on some of the eyewear pieces.

Designed by creative director Stefano Pilati, the Ermenegildo Zegna Couture range of eyewear is positioned in the upper segment of the luxury market, retailing from 300 euros, or $372, to 900 euros, or $1,115. This more-fashionable offering includes nine pairs of sunglasses and six optical frames, all with the brand’s logo, which consists of three Xs embroidered on a small wood plaque on the arms. Among the highlights are hand-finished wood sunglasses with natural horn arms and a flip-up style combing optical and sun lenses, as well as retro thick acetate sun frames with a unisex curved silhouette.

Both the Ermenegildo Zegna and Ermenegildo Zegna Couture sunglasses come with high-end Zeiss lenses.

“I think that the U.S. [and] the Middle East will be the best-performing markets,” said the group’s chief executive officer, Gildo Zegna, who expects the sales of the eyewear collections to follow the same economic trends of the company’s fashion lines. Currently, the group generates 50 percent of its revenues in Asia, while the U.S. and Europe account for 20 and 30 percent of its total business, respectively. “Europe’s performance will depend on the flow of tourists coming from emerging markets,” added Zegna, who also said the company’s aim is to double the revenues of its eyewear business within five years.

According to Marcolin ceo Giovanni Zoppas, the distribution of the Ermenegildo Zegna eyewear collections will be boosted by joint ventures with local partners that the Italian eyewear specialist is currently developing across the globe. Marcolin, which last November signed a partnership in China with the Ginko Group, is going to close similar deals in Russia and the Middle East this year and, in 2016, in Turkey.

In addition, starting in May, the Zegna lines, along with other premium collections of Marcolin’s portfolio, will be produced in its new manufacturing facility, which the eyewear company acquired in October. In order to expand its in-house production capacity, Marcolin is hiring more than 50 new employees.

Marcolin, which last December finalized the acquisition of U.S.-based Viva International Group, produces and distributes the eyewear collections of a wide range of fashion labels, including Tom Ford, Balenciaga, Montblanc, Roberto Cavalli, Tod’s, Swarovski, Dsquared2, Diesel, Just Cavalli, as well as Gant, Timberland, Cover Girl, Skechers and Guess.

In 2013, Marcolin and Viva International posted combined revenues of 345 million euros, or $458 million at average exchange.

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