Ennio Fontana outlines relaunch plans at Roberto Cavalli
Having been acquired by Emirati businessman Hussain Sajwani's Damac Properties in November 2019, Roberto Cavalli is preparing for a relaunch led by its new general manager Ennio Fontana. The executive, who took over from Gian Giacomo Ferraris in October, has clear ideas about the company's future, a vision that covers all sectors: collections, licenses, wholesale and retail.
"Roberto Cavalli has suffered over the last few years and is still suffering today. There's so much to rebuild. But it's a brand with enormous potential, both because it is recognised and valued around the world, and because it embodies a lifestyle and has a wide-ranging offering. Of course, womenswear has always played a leading role for us and represents 85% of our business. We want to maintain and expand this precious womenswear clientele, who wear our label for its sexy sophistication. But we also want to expand into a new segment for a more casual woman, who wears sweatshirts, sportswear and sneakers," explained Fontana to FashionNetwork.com.
"Then there's a whole other world: menswear. We want to develop its potential and make it a bit more streetwear, with collections that will attract a younger customer. We also have another challenge: establishing ourselves on the footwear market, both for men and women, and making the segment account for 20% of our business. We would like to grow our leather goods segment as well, in terms of our collections, but also in terms of image and quality. We will work to reinforce our creative team under the direction of Fausto Puglisi, who is more than qualified to lead style at Roberto Cavalli," he added. Roberto Cavalli's men's footwear license was previously held by Rodolfo Zengarini but has recently been brought in house.
Part of the brand's activities are carried out by licensees. OTB-owned Staff International, for example, will be responsible for the Just Cavalli line until 2026, with the house's eyewear, homeware and perfume collections also continuing to be produced under license. "I'm currently thinking of a very nice project for bringing our main licensing partners into the boutique at Via Montenapoleone," said Fontana. "With 1,500 square metres spread over five floors, it's a location which is perfectly adapted to the creation of a Cavalli World, where our main line can be brought together with the Just Cavalli line and our menswear, kids, fragrance, accessories, watch and décor offerings. The homeware sector in particular is doing very well. Jumbo Group is an ideal partner, and I would like to dedicate an entire floor of the boutique to the home segment. To top it all off, I'm also thinking of a Cavalli Café, which will offer catering, but also an exclusive space for engaging encounters, to our customers."
The executive's numerous projects also include distribution, where his objective is to grow on all fronts, including wholesale, omnichannel, retail and e-commerce. On the wholesale front, Fontana wants to have 200 to 300 clients in two to three years' time.
Opening of store on Paris' Rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré imminent
As for retail, Roberto Cavalli currently has 20 company-owned points of sale around the world. In the mid to long term, Fontana is planning European store openings in Germany, Austria and Russia. Across the pond, he also has his sights set on the U.S., where Cavalli was an important brand in the past, with openings planned for Miami, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. "We should be able to open our store on Paris' Rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré soon. I'm saying this conditionally, because obviously it depends on the evolution of the coronavirus situation. If I had to think of other locations in Italy, Naples, alongside Rome and Milan, would be an interesting and fitting place for our product," concluded Fontana.
The company's revenues have been slipping for a number of years and totalled 140 million euros in 2017. Fontana hopes to bring this figure up to 170 million euros within the next five years.
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