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24 Mar

Made in Italy, Politics Discussed at Future for Fashion Conference

FLORENCE — Politics and the connection between the style industry and the Italian government took center stage on the Future for Fashion conference on Friday.

Held at Palazzo Pitti’s Sala Bianca, the two-day event was closed by the Minister of Enterprises and Made in Italy Adolfo Urso on the identical day Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella was expected in Florence on the Chamber of Commerce conference.

Leonardo Ferragamo, chairman of the Ferragamo company, spoke of the necessity to intensify the conversation with political institutions, and beyond local confines.

While references to Florence and its history peppered the conference, Ferragamo urged executives to “look to the long run and be in sync with the times,” approaching the topic of heritage that’s widely embraced by Italian fashion brands. “We are able to’t survive heritage. There may be extraordinary value in that, but it will possibly be a double-edged sword. We must take the values from heritage but not follow by example, otherwise the brand becomes obsolete,” he contended.

Ferragamo’s namesake company has been going through an intensive change, spearheaded by chief executive officer Marco Gobbetti and artistic director Maximilian Davis, who was appointed to the role last 12 months.

“There’s been a major evolution and the pandemic made us understand the actual potential to set the premise for a solid future,” continued Ferragamo, adding that this has been one of the crucial “intense periods of exertions.”

He admitted that “changes are sometimes hard and play with our emotions. We debated for years whether to alter the emblem but there may be a fil rouge with the past,” Ferragamo said of the choice under Gobbetti to drop his father’s name, Salvatore, from the emblem and adopt a latest font. “You possibly can imagine how this touched us, but then we saw that [Salvatore] used to sign his designs only together with his last name,” the chief continued. “Also, the brand new logo is inspired by the font created by Lucio Venna [in the 1930s]. And the brand new, bolder red for the packaging is similar of the shoes with Swarovskis created for Marilyn Monroe in 1950, so there may be a thread.”

Incidentally, he noted that the corporate in 2023 will mark 100 years since Ferragamo’s first store in Hollywood.

Carlo Capasa, chairman of Italy’s Camera della Moda, was asked to comment on the brand new government headed by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, installed last October. “Last week, I met a parliamentary commission and I saw an increased interest to know the country’s fashion industry,” Capasa said.

Nonetheless, as has happened with previous governments, he was “surprised by the lack of understanding of our sector. This can be a serious business. We are sometimes seen as a frivolous industry in comparison with the French government’s perception of the French fashion industry.”

On the subject of fashion shows, which after the COVID-19 pandemic returned IRL in full force, Capasa defined the style weeks “the Olympics of fashion,” which “stimulate creativity and represent the dream.” While the dates are sometimes debated, he said they “are compromise. Someone thinks the ladies’s shows should move to June and November, but those dates can be too removed from the market,” contended Capasa.

While a possible stock market listing was a key topic a day earlier, independence was touted by Alfonso Dolce, CEO of Dolce & Gabbana. “It’s our vocation,” he said. “This doesn’t mean not opening the corporate to 3rd parties, it’s an open community, but we value the independence of people.”

He admitted developing the corporate independently “may be very onerous, also from a human viewpoint.” He offered a concrete example of independence, which was the alternative of freezing the D&G line in 2011, which contributed to the business with sales of 600 million euros and earnings before interest taxes depreciation and amortization margins of 29 percent. “We could never have done that if we had not been independent,” he said.

Dolce & Gabbana has been developing its own beauty business, investing within the capital of manufacturer Intercos, and in a house line.

After the pandemic, “cooperation and co-creation are increasingly fundamental and there was a shift, with a realization within the industry that there’s a need for more collaboration and more unity,” in line with Stefania Lazzaroni, director of Altagamma.

Asked about her expectations from the federal government, she said she would hope for “stability and clarity,” and, in sync with Capasa, Lazzaroni feels the industry “must be higher understood as a business model.”

Roberta Benaglia, CEO and major shareholder of personal equity fund Style Capital SGR, agreed, noting an increased drive “to hitch forces, accelerated by COVID-19.” 

With investments in MSGM, Re/Done and Zimmermann, in addition to LuisaViaRoma, asked what sparks her interest in a brand, Benaglia said “it ought to be recognizable, with a powerful identity, a product that has value for money, and the potential to expand into latest categories and latest geographies.” It must also have the ability to be developed “with a balanced distribution by channels,” she added.

Concluding the morning event, Urso echoed Brunello Cucinelli’s remarks a day earlier, saying that to ensure a future for the pipeline with a generational handover of artisans, “a cultural revolution is crucial. Tailors have turn out to be designers, cooks are actually called chefs, and the identical should occur for the artisans in order that the manual work might be transformed into an expert excellence. Made in Italy is just not a location for production, but is art, style and artistic excellence.”

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