Furla ditches fur and launches sneakers after stellar 2017
If any brand looked sweet in the Milan season it was Furla, the Tuscan label that has ditched fur, launched its first sneaker and this week posted stellar financial figures.
Presented in a swish display in Brera, the new footwear had posh technological finish and just the right amount of artisanal flair that one associates with Furla. And though it’s historically a leather brand, Furla’s newest collection dropped all real fur from its collections.
“I like the idea of using elements of active sport because that’s one element in our life where we really think of ourselves,” explained Fabio Fusi, the brand’s finely mannered creative director.
Furla’s new footwear are in synch with the current sporting zeitgeist where the stars of mega football teams like Barcelona, Real Madrid and Liverpool wear sock-sneakers that are lace free and hyper linear. Though Fusi takes them somewhere else with punchy primary and chewing gum colors, and by adding chunky ergonomic heels, and its brand name on an upper ankle stripe.
“To see this striscia (sporty stripe) makes me feel well. Because the greatest luxury is time devoted to ourselves,” says Fusi, who practices running and tennis, as he splits his time between Palazzo Furla in Milan and factories in Chianti.
“I live there and I am a real Tuscan,” adds Fusi. Unlike Furla which was founded in Bologna in 1927 by Aldo Furlanetto, whose descendants still own the company. Ninety years later, Furla has grown to employ 1,600 people, 90% of them women, from over 100 countries. It’s a very Italian global success story.
Fusi’s designs are clearly working. On Thursday, Furla announced a sturdy 20% growth in 2017 turnover to €499 million. Like a number of successful Italian luxury clans, the family created its own Fondazione Furla, based in Bologna. Its Furla Art Award is a novel idea where acclaimed creators such as Joseph Kosuth, Kiki Smith, Marina Abramovic and Vanessa Beecroft are patron artists heading judging panels to discover and promote young Italian artists.
Back in Milan, Fusi also showed a snazzy new Polar bag with zippered top handles; and the Furla Bomber, a hefty tote with a mega large flap done with a techy finish.
“Materials are importantissima. The collection must be street but always elegant and precious – that’s part of our story,” says Fusi of the blend of almost sartorial wools and coated nylons that feel like soft PVC. All finished with upbeat colors or sporty graphics and florals.
“We remain grounded to leather, it’s an essential part of our DNA, but we stopped using real fur this season,” explains Fusi, a graduate of the famed Academia delle Arti in Florence.
“I could have been a fine artist, but took the direction of fashion, which is easy in Florence. Anyway, Furla is nearer to design than fashion,” concludes Fusi, who celebrated his seven anniversary at Furla this year. No sign, judging from the smart presentation and sturdy financials of any seven-year itch.
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