Newly re-named Twinset appoints two creative directors, launches menswear
Twinset is turning over a new leaf. After the departure of its founder and Creative Director Simona Barbieri, the Italian ready-to-wear label is undergoing a complete overhaul. Barbieri, who founded the company in Carpi, central Italy, with her husband, entrepreneur Tiziano Sgarbi in 1990, left Twinset last April, selling her own 10% stake in the company to Carlyle. The US investment fund had already acquired 72% of the label in 2013, and its share then rose to 90% in 2015.
Carlyle now owns 100% of the womenswear label, which it regards as a "key investment in the European fashion and apparel sector," and has therefore complete freedom to engineer and accelerate Twinset's expansion on the accessible luxury market.
The label recently issued a press release announcing two major innovations. It was previously known as Twin-Set Simona Barbieri, and now it has changed its name, becoming simply Twinset, while its main line is labelled Twinset Milano. In the wake of this, the company also appointed two creative co-directors, Lara Davies and Bill Shapiro.
Lara Davies has a 15-year-plus experience in the fashion world. She notably worked as designer for Philosophie, Chloé and Alberta Ferretti, while Bill Shapiro was in charge of style at Moschino's menswear line for many years. Alberta Ferretti and Moschino both belong to the Aeffe fashion group. Alessandro Varisco, who took the helm at Twinset in 2015, after working as a senior manager at Moschino for ten years, also comes from Aeffe.
The arrival of Bill Shapiro, a menswear specialist, is by no means surprising. Twinset is in fact about to launch its very first men's collection, as revealed on the label's Instagram account and on its website, though there is as yet no official communication about the new project.
It is a small collection, introduced under the label's young brand, My Twin. The collection will be available for the Autumn/Winter 2017-18 season, and it is designed for contemporary urban consumers. As Alessadro Varisco stated in an interview a few months ago, Twinset is keen to test the initial market reaction to the new line.
The label generated a revenue of €243.4 million in 2016. With the arrival of the new design duo, in place from summer 2017, it hopes to add new energy to the business. Twinset reckons its sales ought to have grown in July and August, after losing 1.1% in the first six months of 2017.
Progress was made in particular through e-tail and the label's monobrand stores. Between July 2016 and August 2017, Twinset opened twelve new stores, ten of them in Italy, one in France and one in Spain, while three stores have closed down. The label also indicated it has rationalised its wholesale distribution network in Italy, to make it more consistent. The wholesale business in Italy slumped as a result in the period, though this was compensated by growth on international markets.
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