MILAN — Italian eyewear manufacturer De Rigo is pressing on with the launch of a new house brand for which it tapped two supermodel ambassadors, all in the midst of the pandemic.
After inking licensing agreements with Philipp Plein, Gap Inc. and Brazilian men’s brand Aramis earlier this year, the company unveiled on Tuesday Yalea, its latest house brand positioned in the affordable luxury segment.
Supermodels Cindy Crawford and Bianca Balti front the campaign’s imagery in candid shots lensed inside a Los Angeles studio.
“They embody inner beauty…they represent Yalea’s key values, they are both beautiful and built their career on that, but there’s also much more to each of them,” Barbara De Rigo, the eyewear specialist’s marketing director, offered during a physical press conference.
“We lacked a dedicated women’s brand within our house brand’s portfolio, we sensed there are a lot of opportunities for nondesigner brands in the women’s eyewear market, which is opening up to this segment,” she explained. Police, Sting and Lozza are the company’s other house brands.
“Over the past year we tried to map out new projects because the adrenaline coming from it is the essence of our future,” said Maurizio Dessolis, De Rigo’s executive vice chairman, a frank and forward-looking executive, who managed to lead the company through the pandemic.
“The launch of a house brand requires a lot of energies and investments and the contribution of the entire company and in such a delicate moment it was hard,” confessed De Rigo. She noted, for example, that the company’s representatives were unable to attend the shooting of the ad campaign imagery.
Building the brand on the notion of timelessness and away from seasonal or fashion-driven trends, De Rigo said the company’s aim was to develop frames that can fit different face types and exalt femininity and individuality rather than covering it.
Each of the 37 styles — 13 sunglasses and 24 optical frames, some of them also coming in petite sizing — is inspired by female role models that are viewed as aspirational. They include Carme Ruscalleda, the Spanish chef who scooped up seven Michelin stars — the first female cook to achieve such a result; Leymah Roberta Gbowee, a Liberian peace activist and recipient of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize; as well as Cristina Junqueira, the Brazilian cofounder and also vice president of branding and business development at Nubank, which helps underprivileged women access to credit lines.
Yalea’s frames boast traditional shapes, with democratic and flattering fits, only at times peppered with pops of nude pink and coral red, the brand’s colors. Dessolis said the products have a “Mediterranean feel” which is expected to engage customers in Europe and the Americas, where the products will be distributed starting in October before a global rollout.
In 2020 De Rigo posted sales of 350 million euros, down 23 percent compared to 2019, supported by sales in North America and Europe of both licensed and house brands during the summer period. De Rigo serves as a licensing partner for a number of international fashion brands including Blumarine, Carolina Herrera, Furla, Fila and Nina Ricci, among others.